RRW: Keira D’Amato Wins Delightful Run For Women 5k In Albany, NY

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ALBANY — As expected, former USA marathon record holder Keira D’Amato won today’s 46th Delightful Run for Women 5-K in 15:41, but not without a fight.  The 39 year-old from Midlothian, Virginia led from gun to tape, but the entire way she was shadowed by three athletes from the Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project –Amy Davis-Green, Jessie Cardin, and Anne-Marie Blaney– who kept it close.  D’Amato tried to stay cool and stick with her plan, but there was an unexpected wrinkle.

“The plan was to go out and run every mile faster,” D’Amato told Race Results Weekly.  “Somewhere in the first mile I tweaked something, kind of in my upper (left) quad.  I was like, OK, I’m going to have to just chill and conserve so I can kick.  I wasn’t planning on kicking so hard, but these women were on my heels pushing me.”

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Keira D’Amato wins the 2024 Delightful Run for Women 5-K in Albany, N.Y. in 15:41 (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

D’Amato split the first mile just past the entrance to Washington Park in Downtown Albany (which is mostly uphill) in 5:15.  The Davis-Green/Cardin/Blaney group was three seconds behind.  They were running close together, supporting each other.

“I think for Anne-Marie, Jess and I it was all just to work together,” Davis-Green said.  “Keira, just going out in the front knowing how great of a runner she is, I think we were like, as long as we don’t lose contact with her we’re going to be able to run really fast.”

The race’s second mile is a bit of a roller coaster, going down, up, and down again with several turns.  D’Amato didn’t have time to notice the park’s lovely evergreens and tranquil lake as she covered the second mile in 5:09.  Her three-second gap on the Hansons-Brooks team stayed the same, but she was concerned about her leg, despite the extra steps she took to get ready for such a short, fast race.

“I did a longer warm-up, I did much longer strides and sprints and I got myself ready to run fast right from the gun,” D’Amato said.  “My body doesn’t move that quick anymore without getting warmed up, so I definitely have to respect that.”

As athletes exited the park, and turned right for the long –and ultimately downhill– straightaway to the finish on Washington Avenue, Blaney had drifted back into fourth place leaving Davis-Green and Cardin to chase D’Amato.  Davis-Green dug deep and got within one second of D’Amato at the three-mile mark (15:16).  She thought, maybe I can catch her?

“I was trying,” said Davis-Green whose mother, Nan Doak-Davis, was the USATF 5000m champion in 1987 and 10,000m champion in 1989.  “I’ve been trying to work on my closing speed.  It was so fun having somebody to chase down, and just practice that.”

In the end, D’Amato put four seconds on Davis-Green, who had to settle for second in 15:45, eight seconds faster than her mother ran here in 1989 when she finished third.  Cardin, a marathoner like D’Amato, got third in 15:51, and Blaney –who was third here last year– finished fourth in 15:57.  D’Amato earned $3,000 in prize money today, and $2,500 went to Davis-Green, $2,000 to Cardin and $1,500 to Blaney.  Overall, the race will pay out $24,050 in prize money to both individuals and teams.

Before the race D’Amato said how much she had always wanted to run this race, formerly called the Freihofer’s Run For Women, but could never fit it into her schedule.  She said she was delighted to join the other 2091 women who had started here today on a picture-perfect, sunny morning.

“I finished strong; it was a fun race,” D’Amato said.  “I loved being in a run for women.  It’s so important for our sport to continue empowering, to give women the opportunity to participate in stuff like this.  When we came in and registered they gave us a loaf of bread and some cookies from Sara Lee and the Delightful brand, and I was sold on the race ever since.”

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