Sunday: Stephen Sambu And Buze Diriba Lead Fields For This Weekend’s UAE Healthy Kidney 10K

Ethiopian Buze Diriba returns fresh off United Airlines NYC Half victory while American Laura Thweatt looks to regain form after year-long injury. Third event in 2018 NYRR Pro Racing Series to be broadcast live on USATF.TV

Press Release
April 24, 2018

New York – A world class professional athlete field at the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K in Central Park on Sunday, April 29, will be headlined by Ethiopia’s Buze Diriba, the 2018 United Airlines NYC Half Champion, and USA’s Laura Thweatt, the top American woman at the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon and 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon.

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In total, 13 athletes representing five countries will chase the $10,000 first-place prizes, leading 8,000 runners through Central Park on race day. The professional races will be broadcast live by USA Track & Field on USATF.TV beginning at 8:50 a.m.

“We are thrilled to have a world-class group of professional distance runners join us in Central Park this year, with Buze returning after winning here just over a month ago and Laura racing for her first time in New York City after coming back from a year-long of injury rehab,” said Peter Ciaccia, president of events for New York Road Runners and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon. “NYRR has a successful long-standing partnership with the UAE to put on this race since 2005, and we are excited to team up with them again to bring in this strong group of professional athletes who viewers around the world will be able to watch on USATF.TV.”

Diriba, 24, of Ethiopia is coming off a sprint-finish victory at the United Airlines NYC Half in March, two months after lowering her half-marathon personal best to 1:06:50and finishing fourth at the Houston Half Marathon. Earlier in her career, she took first place over 5000 meters at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships, and the following year finished fifth in the same event in her debut at the senior IAAF World Championships. She was fifth in her first UAE Healthy Kidney 10K appearance in 2016.

Thweatt, 29, of Boulder, CO, is returning to the roads this spring after an injury kept her out of last summer’s IAAF World Championships and away from racing for 11 months. She was the top American woman at both the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon and 2017 London Marathon, finishing seventh and sixth, respectively, at those events. In her last race with New York Road Runners, she was sixth at the 2016 UAE Healthy Kidney 10K.

“I am unbelievably excited to be racing the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K,” Thweatt said. “Even though I am not 100 percent back into full-time training just yet, I am getting closer and this race allows me to test where I am fitness wise and also mentally after such a long lay off. I aim to be as competitive as I can, but with only the Shamrock Shuffle 8K under my belt in the last 12 months, I am unsure exactly what that translates to. But I am excited to be back out there again mixing with some of the world’s best finally.”

The professional men’s field at the 2018 UAE Healthy Kidney 10K will be highlighted by Kenya’s Stephen Sambu, who won the race in 2014, last year’s third-place finisher Teshome Mekonen of Ethiopia, Rio 2016 Olympian Ross Millington of Great Britain and Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Edwin Soi of Kenya.

“I am always motivated to run in New York City,” Sambu said. “When invited, I jumped at the opportunity. More important is this event showcases awareness for kidney disease. I support the mission of New York Road Runners and the UAE to promote and educate. It will be my fourth UAE Healthy Kidney 10K and I am excited.”

Here are the complete professional athlete fields:

Top Professional Men

Name 10K Road Personal Best
Mathew Kimeli, KEN 27:11
Rhonex Kipruo, KEN 27:13
Stephen Sambu, KEN 27:25
Edwin Soi, KEN 27:46
Teshome Mekonen, ETH 27:50
Ross Millington, GBR 28:46
Harbert Okuti, UGA 29:42

Top Professional Women

Name 10K Road Personal Best
Buze Diriba, ETH 31:37
Monicah Ngige, KEN 31:55
Aselefech Mergia, ETH 32:00
Lindsey Scherf, USA 32:33
Laura Thweatt, USA 32:37
Askale Merachi, ETH 33:08

The UAE Healthy Kidney 10K will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, April 29 on East Drive near 69th Street and will loop through Central Park before finishing at the 72nd Street Transverse.

In addition to the men’s and women’s $10,000 first-place prizes, runners will vie for a $30,000 Zayed Bonus awarded by the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in honor of former UAE president Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan. The bonus prize will be given to any man who breaks 27:35 (Leonard Patrick Komon, 2011 UAE Healthy Kidney 10K) and/or any woman who breaks 30:44 (Lornah Kiplagat, 2002 NYRR New York Mini 10K).

The UAE Healthy Kidney 10K is one of seven races – from the mile to the marathon – organized by New York Road Runners, which features invited professional athlete fields and makes up the NYRR Pro Racing Series. The NYRR Pro Racing Series also includes the NYRR Wanamaker Mile, United Airlines NYC Half, NYRR New York Mini 10K, New Balance 5th Avenue Mile, USATF 5K Championships, and the TCS New York City Marathon.

The United Arab Emirates is the primary sponsor of the race, which benefits the National Kidney Foundation, Inc., in appreciation of American doctors and U.S. excellence in the kidney transplant arena. UAE’s founder and first president, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, benefited from U.S. expertise, knowledge, and research when he received a kidney transplant in 2000. Among his many honors and accomplishments, he was most proud of being a kidney transplant survivor.

Every year, the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K raises awareness of kidney disease and organ donation, and promotes kidney health by supporting the National Kidney Foundation and its lifesaving programs. Runners can register for the race with NFK’s Team Kidney and raise additional funds in support of the organization’s mission.

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