Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ndirangu surges past Kiprono to win Bloomsday men’s title

y his own admission, Simon Ndirangu’s first experience at the Lilac Bloomsday didn’t go as planned.

“I was here in 2007, but I didn’t do very good,” the 25-year-old Kenyan said of his eighth-place finish.

Ndirangu made the most of his second chance Sunday, out-kicking countryman Allan Kiprono over the final 250 meters to win one of the closest men’s races in Bloomsday’s 35-year history by 1 second. Ndirangu covered the 12 kilometers in 33 minutes, 58 seconds, roughly 61 seconds faster than his 2007 time. He collected a $7,000 winner’s check.

Kiprono, 21, was a couple of strides behind at 33:59. Ndirangu’s time was the fifth fastest and Kiprono’s the sixth in Bloomsday history. Belete Assefa finished third in 34:09.

A lead pack of 11 at Mile 2 dwindled to four at the top of Doomsday Hill. At that point, Kiprono, who beat Ndirangu while finishing second at the Crescent City 10K in New Orleans last weekend, led by a few meters.

At the 6-mile mark, Ndirangu took the lead with Kiprono just off his left shoulder and Assefa, who won the Crescent City and was bidding to become Bloomsday’s first Ethiopian men’s winner, was perhaps 3 meters behind.