Thursday, November 8, 2012

Reid, Koons in Elite Field for Rothman Institute 8K

Sheila Reid will make her Nike pro debut a week from Saturday at the Rothman Institute 8K. Her scheduled debut as a Nike-sponsored runner (The Dash to the Finish Line 5K in New York City, as part of the NYC marathon weekend) was cancelled duo to the recent storm. Reid will be joined by a former Villanova teammate and All-American Frances Koons. Koons won this race in 2009. Here is the press release for the event. As noted below, Villanova's own Marcus O'Sullivan still holds the Rothman Institute 8K course record -- an uber-quick 23:03 that has stood for 15 years.

Athletics: Rothman Institute 8K Elite Field Announced

PHILADELPHIA - The 2012 Rothman Institute 8K announces an impressive field of elite runners this year led by Philadelphia-area standouts Samuel Ndereba, Sheila Reid, Frances Koons, Samantha McNally, Cecily Tynan, Chris Heisey, John Itati and Matt Sadercock.

The Rothman Institute 8K (4.97 miles) -- held on Saturday, November 17 on Philadelphia Marathon Race Weekend -- is a great way to take part in Race Weekend. Runners will start on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, near the Philadelphia Museum of Art -- looking out upon City Hall -- before taking a turn on the scenic banks of the Schuylkill River and Kelly Drive.

Female Runners to Watch

The fastest entrant in the field is Sheila Reid, a 2012 Olympian (5,000 Meters, Canada) and an NCAA All-American from Villanova. Frances Koons, the 2009 Rothman Institute 8K champion and an NCAA All-American from Villanova, is trying to reclaim the title.

A few women will be doubling, running both the 8K and the Philadelphia Half Marathon on Sunday including Hirsute Madero (Flagstaff, AZ) -- the 2010 8K runner-up and the 2010 Philadelphia Half Marathon winner -- and Kenya's Helen Jemutai, who won the Tufts 10K in Chicago in October.

Other notables are: Samantha McNally (Doylestown, PA), who qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials while running in the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon; Amy Van Alstine (Midland Park, NJ) who boasts a 15:43 5K PR; American University standout Erin Koch (Chevy Chase, MD); and Marissa Ryan who enters with a 33:36 10K PR.

The 2011 Masters Champion and local favorite, Cecily Tynan (Media, PA), will be back to defend her title in the Masters Division.

Male Runners to Watch

Kenya's Samuel Ndereba (Philadelphia, PA), the 2011 Rothman 8K winner, is back to defend his title. Ndereba also will be competing in the Philadelphia Half Marathon, and should be a contender in that race as well; he is just coming off of a victory at the Des Moines Half Marathon on Sunday, October 21.

Looking to stand in the way of a repeat victory for Ndereba are some speedy international runners including 2011's second-place finisher Ethiopian John Itati (Royersford, PA); Kenya's Emmanuel Bor, a University of Alabama graduate with a 23:18 8K PR (Bor will also be running the Half Marathon on Sunday), and Harbert Okuti (New Paltz, NY) is Uganda's 5K record-holder.

Scott Smith (Flagstaff, AZ), with a 28:33 10K PR, is the top American prospect in the men's field. Other Americans to keep an eye on include Chris Pannone (Gardiner, NY) with a 2:18 Boston Marathon time this year; University of Pennsylvania alumni Phillip Kawkwell; Jonny Wilson (Flagstaff, AZ) and Temple Podiatry student Chris Heisey (Philadelphia, PA).

Going for a three-peat in the Masters Division is two-time winner Matt Sandercock (Exton, PA), the 2010 and 2011 masters Rothman 8K winner.

Registration for the Rothman Institute 8K is available at, costs $45 and closes on November 11, 2012.

Rothman Institute 8K Records
Men: Marcus O'Sullivan, Time: 23:03 (1997)
Women: Svetlana Zakharova, Time: 25:37 (2001)

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