Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Masai Wins Mini 10K, While Radcliffe Enjoys Fun Run


Linet Masai and Paula Radcliffe had two very different goals as they attacked the hills of Central Park on Saturday morning during the 39th New York Mini 10K.

Masai, a 20-year-old from Kenya and the world 10,000-meter champion on the track, was looking to add to her still-thin résumé.

Radcliffe, a three-time New York City Marathon champion and five months pregnant at 36, was just looking to have some fun.

Masai stormed to an easy victory in the Mini 10K, finishing in 30 minutes 48 seconds — 25 seconds ahead of Emily Chebet, the world cross-country champion, also from Kenya. Masai pulled away in the fourth mile of the 6.2-mile race. Worknesh Kidane of Ethiopia was third in 31:18.

“I was trying to push,” said Masai, who won $10,000.

Well behind the top finishers, Radcliffe was waving to the cheering crowd and encouraging runners around her in the all-women race. She was smiling more than she usually does approaching the finish line in Central Park.

In the final 25 yards, Radcliffe picked up her 3-year-old daughter, Isla, and ran beside Kara Goucher, a marathoner who is also pregnant. Goucher is due on the same day in September as Radcliffe, her training partner this past spring. Goucher could run only those final yards because she pulled out of the run with a back injury.

Radcliffe finished the “fun run” in 44:36.

“It felt really good,” Radcliffe told Kathrine Switzer on the New York Road Runners live Webcast. “I was taking in the atmosphere, helping people up the hills.”

Radcliffe is the world-record holder in the marathon, and has scaled back her training, just as she did when she was pregnant with Isla.

“Your priorities change, you’re not trying to run fast, you’re trying to enjoy it,” she said.