Mamitu Daska Cruises to Victory at 2013 Oakley New York Mini 10-K, Desiree Davila Returns to Racing

By Chris Lotsbom
June 8, 2013
(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

NEW YORK (08-Jun) — With clouds giving way to sunshine and early morning rain having moved out of the city, Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska charged her way to victory here at the 42nd Oakley New York Mini 10-K. Breaking the tape in 31:47, Daska became the first Ethiopian champion in event history, and collected the winner’s check of $10,000.

“When you work very hard and get the fruits of your labor, it feels very good. I am very happy to have done that,” said Daska moments after the win, still clutching the green, yellow, and red flag of Ethiopia. “This is my first time running this race, and I am very happy to have won it on my first try.”

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Taking off from the majestic start in Columbus Circle with about 5600 women behind her, Daska immediately asserted herself at the front of the elite field. Less than seven blocks into the race, the 29-year-old swiftly gapped all others, leaving two-time Mini champion Linet Masai back with the chasers.

Recognizing that the early move –in just the first kilometer– could be the most decisive of the race, the Kenyan Masai gradually reeled in Daska as the athletes made their way up Central Park West. Through the mile in 5:08, the leading pair had a twelve second lead on Burundi’s Diane Nukuri-Johnson and Britain’s Gemma Steel, both of whom were pulling the chase pack along.

Daska and Masai, wearing matching pink Nike tops, would run together through five kilometers, passed in 15:54. Up and down the hills of Central Park went the East African pair, exchanging the lead periodically.

Passing five kilometers, it seemed as if the duo were destined to remain together through the second half of the race. Both appeared strong, arms pumping and no signs of fatigue visible.

Mamitu Daska Wins the Oakly New York Mini 10k

Mamitu Daska Wins the Oakly New York Mini 10k

That’s when things changed dramatically. Approximately 17 minutes into the race, Daska’s Nike racing flats clipped the heals of Masai. Still on her feet, the taller Masai immediately turned and wagged her index finger back and forth as if to say “don’t do that again.”

Daska, irritated by the gesture, soon surged and dropped the 2009 IAAF World 10,000m Champion. Though it was her pre-race plan to increase her speed at halfway, Daska said the incident provoked her to create a gap.

“I think I accidentally touched her. It wasn’t something that I did on purpose but she was annoyed by it and told me off. That bothered me a little bit because it wasn’t something I did on purpose so I just decided to take off,” said an apologetic Daska through a translator.

From then on, Daska extended her lead with every stride taken. At four miles it was roughly ten seconds; by five miles (8 kilometers), Masai was out of sight.

With less than a mile remaining, Daska glanced back ever so briefly to see if Masai was returning. She was not. Despite running all alone with the win presumably in her pocket, Daska continued to push the pace through the final hills and up to the finish. Her final (uphill) 400m was run in 65.1 seconds, according to race officials

“I am happy for my country and it is great to raise my country’s flag,” said Daska, whose finishing time of 31:47 was a new personal best.

A whopping 59.47 seconds behind came Masai in 32:46. After opening the race with a 15:54 five kilometer split, Masai wound up running 16:53 for the second half.

“Today was not good,” said Masai, extremely quiet and visibly dejected. “I didn’t run the hills like the other time,” she said, talking about her wins in 2010 and 2011. In those races, Masai broke from the field over the undulating hills.

Gemma Steel, Mamitu Daska, Linet Masai

Gemma Steel, Mamitu Daska, Linet Masai

Rounding out the top three in 32:59 was Great Britain’s Steel.

“I just felt really comfortable from the word ‘go,’ really,” said Steel, enthused about her debut performance in the United States. “I knew when it came to the hills it would be a crunch but I did it well and pulled it off. It was my day today.”

Suver Top American Ahead of Davila
The battle for top American honors turned out to be a great race, as Mattie Suver, Stephanie Rothstein Bruce, and Desiree Davila ran together until the final mile. The trio would finish fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively, all within eleven seconds of one another.

“Stephanie, Desi, Brianne [Nelson, who finished eighth], and I –maybe a couple of others– were all in a good group,” said Suver, who competed for Team USA at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships. “They pushed me along the whole way and it’s pretty exciting to do that.”

Crossing in 33:11 just three seconds ahead of Rothstein Bruce, Suver earned a total of $7,500. The 25-year-old said a portion of the money would go towards refurnishing the kitchen in her new, Colorado Springs home, on which she and husband Curtis just closed last week.

Davila Please in First Race Back
The Oakley New York Mini 10-K was Olympian Davila’s first completed race in nearly a year, having been hampered by a femoral stress fracture that forced her to not finish the London Olympic Marathon. Davila was pleased with her race execution and finishing time of 33:22.

“I am pretty happy with it. Honestly just getting out here and getting a result and knowing where I am at was great,” said Davila. “I think where I am at is a good spot. I know there’s a lot of things to work on, but it’s a good place to be starting at. We have a whole season to build.”

Results (More here)

Last Name First Name Sex/
Bib Team City State Country Net
1 Daska Mamitu F29 34 NIKE West Chester PA Ethiopia 0:31:47 0:15:53 05:07 0:31:47
2 Masai Linet F23 2 NIKE Kenya 0:32:46 0:15:53 05:17 0:32:46
3 Steel Gemma F27 9 ASIC Leicester United Kingdom 0:32:59 0:16:19 05:19 0:32:59
4 Suver Mattie F25 11 BRCA Colorado Springs CO United States 0:33:11 0:16:30 05:21 0:33:11
5 Rothstein Bruce Stephanie F29 8 ADID Flagstaff AZ United States 0:33:14 0:16:30 05:22 0:33:14
6 Davila Desiree F29 5 HBDP Rochester Hills MI United States 0:33:22 0:16:30 05:23 0:33:22
7 Nukuri-Johnson Diane F28 4 ASIC Iowa City IA Burundi 0:33:36 0:16:19 05:25 0:33:36
8 Nelson Brianne F32 12 BRCA Golden CO United States 0:33:37 0:16:29 05:25 0:33:32
9 Clitheroe Helen F39 7 PREH Preston United Kingdom 0:33:53 0:16:30 05:28 0:32:59
10 Costello Liz F25 19 NYAC Hoboken NJ United States 0:33:53 0:16:31 05:28 0:33:53
11 Albertson-Junkans Ladia F27 18 TMIN Minneapolis MN United States 0:34:00 0:16:52 05:29 0:34:00
12 Thomas Wendy F34 17 BRCA Windsor CO United States 0:34:02 0:16:35 05:29 0:33:48
13 Merachi Askale F26 30 WSX Jackson Heights NY United States 0:34:16 0:16:44 05:32 0:34:16
14 Beyene Guangul Hirut F21 28 WSX New York NY Ethiopia 0:34:18 0:16:44 05:32 0:34:18
15 McGregor Katie F35 14 REEB Savage MN United States 0:34:26 0:16:52 05:33 0:34:06
16 Barry Patricia F24 33 HHRT New York NY Ireland 0:34:26 0:17:08 05:33 0:34:26
17 Lefrak Caroline F29 21 NYAC New York NY United States 0:34:32 0:17:08 05:34 0:34:32
18 Fraser Natasha F31 10 ASIC Coquitlam BC Canada 0:34:44 0:16:43 05:36 0:34:42
19 Cappello Heather F33 22 BAA Arlington MA United States 0:35:00 0:17:13 05:39 0:34:51
20 Tufa Demisse Tigist F26 24 WSX Bronx NY United States 0:35:10 0:17:03 05:40 0:35:10

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