- The Washington Times - Monday, April 24, 2006

Joshua Kemei and Florence Jepkosgei won the Pike’s Peek 10K yesterday, the second consecutive year Kenyans have swept the Maryland race.

Kemei won the men’s race in 28:48, 13 seconds off the event record. Jepkosgei’s 32:59 was 14 seconds shy of the women’s record.

Both 22-year-olds earned $600 for their wins.

Kemei ran the first mile in 4:26 and the second in 4:33 to grab an eight-second lead over countryman George Kirwa Misoi. By the third mile, Kemei had a 16-second lead.

“This is my best 10K this year,” said Kemei, who trains in West Chester, Pa. “When I crossed the third mile, I knew I would win.”

Misoi finished 23 seconds behind Kemei in second.

Jacob Frey, 24, of Oakton passed Gurmessa Kumsa in mid-race to finish third in 29:38. Kumsa, a 27-year-old Ethiopian who has won almost every race he has entered since coming to Oxon Hill to train two months ago, was fourth in 29:46.

Kumsa finished ahead of Kemei three weeks ago at the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K in Richmond, finishing fourth in 29:52 to Kemei’s fifth-place 29:57.

Jepkosgei, who trains in Chapel Hill, N.C., ran hard from the start, with countrywoman Eunice Chepkirui as her only competition. The two young runners have raced each other numerous times, with Jepkosgei always getting the better of Chepkirui.

Jepkosgei put a five-meter gap on Chepkirui at 3 miles and lengthened it to 10 meters as they passed the DoubleTree Hotel at 4 miles. At the 5-mile mark, Jepkosgei took a big look back, holding a five-second edge. She padded that lead in the last mile.

“My strategy was to come here and win,” Jepkosgei said through an interpreter, adding she was not concerned with Chepkirui. “I knew her. We have been racing together in all these races. I usually beat her.”

Last month, she beat Chepkirui at a five-miler in Boston by 14 seconds and in an 8K in Virginia Beach a week later by 24 seconds. Jepkosgei said Pike’s Peek was her seventh race in two months since coming to the United State on her first racing tour.

Yesterday’s time, although on a downhill course, was her best 10K by far. She ran 35:02 at the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, S.C., three weeks ago.

About 1,260 men and 1,107 women completed the race in the largest field since 2001.

GW Parkway races

Jynocel Basweti of Kenya and Mary Kate Bailey of Arlington both scored dominating victories yesterday in the George Washington Parkway 10-Mile Race in Alexandria, breaking event records.

Basweti shrugged off three other competitors by the second mile and finished in 48:57, eclipsing Benson Ogato’s 2002 record by eight seconds. Bailey led from the start and won in 56:28, slashing 1:24 off the women’s record set last year by Larisa Michailova.

Both winners earned $500.

At just 19, Basweti already has run a blazing 62:37 in a half marathon (last October in Nairobi, Kenya). After coming to the U.S., he finished second at the Colonial Half Marathon in Williamsburg in 67:04 two months ago.

The 31-year-old Bailey keeps improving. Two years ago, she finished second here in 61:31.

In the accompanying 5K, Chris Banks of Alexandria won in 15:40, edging Ray Pugsley of Potomac Falls, Va., by six seconds to win $150. On the women’s side, Jackie (Concaugh) Gruendel of Burke won her fourth consecutive race here in 18:12.

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