Kenyan men take top 3 times in EQT 10-miler; Kenyan women top 2
A pair of Kenyans won the inaugural EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler race Sunday morning, with Elijah Muturi Karanja fending off three competitors down the stretch to win the men's title and Sarah Kiptoo capturing the women's crown by nearly a minute.
Karanja, 32, finished in a personal-best 46 minutes, 50 seconds followed by fellow Kenyans Nelson Oyugi, 21, who clocked a 46:59, and Julius Kogo, 28, who crossed in 47:03. The top American man, Fernando Cabada, 31, of Boulder, Colo., finished fifth in 47:32, followed by Jonathan Grey, 25, of Minneapolis, who finished sixth in 47:38.
Kiptoo, 24, who has been living and training in Santa Fe, N.M., finished with a time of 53:56. She was followed by Sophy Jepchirchir, 19, also of Kenya, who finished in 54:54, and Karolina Jarzynska, 32, of Poland, at 55:14. Lindsey Scherf, 27 and a Harvard graduate, was fourth and the top American woman with a time of 55:55.
Kiptoo started fast and was by herself for most of the race.
“I prefer that because most of the races when I run alone, I do good,” said Kiptoo, who in June broke the course record at Grandma's Marathon in Minnesota by 33 seconds, finishing in 2:26:32. “The course was rolling up and down, but it was good. It was not steep, just up and down, and I enjoyed it. It was cold, but you have to run if it's cold or not.”
The 10 Miler is the latest on the slate of races produced by Pittsburgh Three Rivers Marathon Inc., including the marathon, half-marathon and 5K in May and the Liberty Mile in August. The total prize purse was $10,500.
The course started in front of Highmark Stadium at Station Square and followed the Pittsburgh Marathon's half-marathon route backward to the Downtown finish line in front of the EQT building on Liberty Avenue.
It was 37 degrees at the start of the race.
“The course was very good,” said Karanja, who was visiting Pittsburgh for the first time. “Cold but very good weather for running. Very cheerful people saying, ‘Go! Go! Go!' and that gave me morale to run better.”
The top three men also were in the top three last weekend at the Tulsa Run 15K, which Kogo won, followed by Karanja and Oyugi. Karanja also set a personal record in that race, finishing in 43:41. His previous best at the 10-mile distance was 48:12.
The trio — plus fourth-place finisher Reuben Limaa, 27, a Kenyan living in Nyack, Wyo. — stayed together in the lead pack until the eight-mile mark, when they started jockeying for position. They still were together at 22nd Street and Liberty Avenue heading into Downtown from the Strip District when Karanja and then Oyugi separated themselves.
“The guys were very strong, and they had beaten me earlier at some races,” Karanja said. “I was not sure I could win this race, but after nine miles I said let me try, and I did it.”
Oyugi won the Wharf to Wharf 6-Mile in Capitola, Calif., his first U.S. race, in July with a time of 27:12. He also won his second race in the United States at the AFC Half Mile in San Diego and broke the course record with a time of 1:01:59.
“I knew it was going to be the three of us,” said Oyugi, who was looking over his shoulder with a mile to go. “I felt good. (In the last mile) I knew I could not get to (Karanja), so I was checking for the one following me. (Karanja) was too far.”
Despite the cold temperatures, UPMC spokesman Chuck Finder said the medical team that serves the marathon each year treated only 10 runners, nine of whom were seen at the finish line medical area. No runners were transported to local hospitals.