The UAE Healthy Kidney 10K, which will start at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow on West Drive near West 62nd Street, will feature all three members of the men’s 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon team, a 2012 Australian Olympian at 10,000 meters, an assault on the U.S. 10K master’s record, and the professional debut of Iona’s Leonard Korir just hours before he attends his college graduation.
It is also expected to include at least four athletes with impressive credentials who signed up and paid their entry fees, just like the thousands of other runners who will almost certainly finish well behind them.
Challenging Americans Meb Keflezighi, Ryan Hall, and Abdi Abdirahman; Australian Ben. St. Lawrence; master’s ace Kevin Castille; and Korir will be Mengsti Tabor Nebsi ,Tesfaye Girma, Henry Rutto, and Gilbert Okari.
Nebsi, an Ethiopian who lives in New York City, ran a personal best of 1:01:31 in the 2012 NYC Half on March 18 to finish 11th, and he recorded another personal best two weeks later in winning the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K in Richmond, VA, in 28:33. Girma, an Ethiopian who lives in the Bronx, was sixth in the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K last year in 28:24 and fourth in the 2011 NYC Half in 1:00:35. Both were personal bests.
Rutto, a Kenyan who lives in Jackson Heights, NY, destroyed the field last weekend at the Broad Street Run 10M in Philadelphia; his winning time of 47:06 was 1:38 faster than the runner-up.
Okari was a superstar on the U.S roads a few years back: The Kenyan is a three-time winner of the Beach to Beacon 10K (2003–2005) and the Falmouth Road Race (2004–2006), and he also won the Peachtree Road Race 10K in 2005 and the Lilac Bloomsday Run 12K in 2006. Okari’s 10K personal best is 27:28, set in 2003; in his most recent 10K, he finished fourth in the Crescent City Classic on April 4, running 28:50.
All will be chasing a first-place prize of $25,000, the largest for any 10K in the world.
Withdrawals from the professional field include Jon Rankin due to illness, and Philip Langat and Harbert Okuti due to visa issues.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg