Bobby Curtis ran a 29:09 road PB today at New York's Healthy Kidney 10K, finishing 13 places and 1:21 faster than his 2010 performance in the race. He was the first non-African finisher and defeated both Ben St Lawrence (the Australian national record holder and Curtis's training partner) and Abdi Abdirahman, a potential rival for a spot on the USA world and olympic team at 10,000 meters. Indicative of Curtis's enhanced fitness is the fact that in last year's race Curtis was 22nd in 30:30. Here is how Race Results Weekly's David Monti described the race:
2011 Healthy Kidney 10k: Aggressive Start Helps Leonard Komon Net $45,000 Payday
By David Monti
May 14, 2011
(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
NEW YORK (14-May) -- On his first trip to New York City, world 10-K record holder Leonard Patrick Komon came ready to race.
Spurred on by a $25,000 first place prize and the promise of a $20,000 course record bonus, the 23 year-old Kenyan burst from the starting line of the 7th annual UAE Healthy Kidney 10-K here this morning. Pushed by compatriots Micah Kogo, the previous world 10-K record holder, and Joseph Ebuya, the 2010 world cross country champion, Komon ripped through the first mile in four minutes and 17 seconds, on pace for a 27-flat finish time on the IAAF-certified and hilly Central Park course.
"When we arrived in New York, we walked through the course, and I saw that it wasn't too easy with all the hills," Komon said after the race. "It was in my mind to run a fast first 5-K."
Through the second mile Komon, who also holds the world 15-K record, kept up a torrid pace. The trio hit the two-mile mark in 8:38 (4:21) before ascending the biggest hill on the course in the north end of the Park. On that climb, Kogo and Ebuya began to lose contact, then Komon opened up a 50-meter lead on the descent. Clipping through 5-K in 13:26, Komon punched his fist in the air signifying that he was feeling strong. He had a 12-second lead on Kogo.
"I was expecting more of a challenge from my colleagues," Komon lamented. "But generally, Joseph Ebuya and Micah Kogo are big challenges for me. I had to start pushing from the start so I'd have the chance to run (fast)."
In the uphill fourth mile Komon slowed to 4:42, but got down to a 4:31 for the downhill fifth mile, putting him at the 8 km/5 mile checkpoint in a blazing 22:08. Kogo, who only arrived here yesterday afternoon due to a later-than-planned visit to the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi to receive his visa, was now running with Ebuya about 20 seconds behind.
"It was tough; I feel a little tired," Kogo explained. "From the start my body didn't respond like Leonard's did. I arrived yesterday, and maybe I'm tired from the flight."
In the final 800 meters --which gains about six meters in elevation-- Komon sprinted furiously to reach the finish tape in 27:35, seven seconds under Gebre Gebremariam's course record from one year ago. The performance earned him a $45,000 payday, the largest of any 10-k in the world.
"The last mile I was not pushing," said Komon, who has seven brothers and one sister. "I felt very tired."
Behind him, Kogo won the sprint for second against Ebuya, by one second in 27:55. Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa and Kenya's Simon Ndirangu battled for the fourth spot, and officials declared Desisa fourth, although both men were given the same time: 28:19. The top American was Bobby Curtis, the former NCAA champion who finished ninth in 29:09.
Immediately after the race, officials of the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, the sponsors of the race who provided the $60,000 prize money purse, announced that the Sheik Zayad course record bonus would be raised to $30,000 next year. Komon loved the idea, but said that running near his world record time of 26:44 would be too hard.
"It's a hard course, too hard for under 27:00," he said.
Healthy Kidney 10k
1. KOMON, LEONARD PATRICK M23 NIKE Kenya 27:35
2. KOGO, MICAH M24 REEB Kenya 27:55
3. EBUYA, JOSEPH M23 NIKE Kenya 27:56
4. NDIRANGU, SIMON M26 NIKE Kenya 28:18
5. DESISA, LELISA M21 NIKE Ethiopia 28:19
6. GIRMA, TESFAYE M28 Ethiopia 28:24
7. SISAY, EZKYAS M22 Ethiopia 28:46
8. WORKU, MERDESSA M22 Ethiopia 29:06
9. CURTIS, BOBBY M26 REEB USA 29:09
10. DENIBOBA, DERESE M28 Ethiopia 29:09
11. FORREST, SHAWN M27 NIKE USA 29:10
12. ST. LAWRENECE, BEN M29 Australia 29:16
13. OKUTI, HARBERT M25 Uganda 29:41
14. ABDIRAHMAN, ABDI M34 NIKE USA 29:44
15. TOLLA, GIRMA M35 Ethiopia 29:45
16. ENDALE, ABIYOT M25 Ethiopia 30:19
17. CACCIA ,GIAN-PAUL M25 USA 31:21
18. SPOONER, CHRISTOPHER M25 USA 31:34
19. YOUSEF, EHYAA M31 32:05
20. REAL, JORGE ELIECER M40 32:23