Unstoppable Cheruiyot runs sub 31 in Puerto Rican 10k

Feb 28, 2012
  • Photo:File

Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot and Sammy Kitwara ran smart races to claim their third crown at the 15th World’s Best 10km, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Sunday in the Puerto Rican capital.

Recovered from a bout of flu that locked her out of the Kenyan Cross country trials a fortnight ago and the double World champion and 2011 Laureus Sportswoman of the Year Vivian Cheruiyot who missed the race last year ran 30:47, a personal best.

This is the fourth fastest winning time ever and the fastest at the 15th World’s Best 10K since 2004, to regain the crown she won in 2009 and 2010. With three titles, the 28-year-old now trails Kenyan-born Dutch six-time winner Lorna Kiplagat as the second most decorated woman in the 15-year history of the race.

Facing a strong head wind in the first third of the race, Kitwara the defending champion crossed the finish line in 28:02, the slowest winning time since 2008, but enough to make history as he became the first man to win three titles on the fast Puerto Rican course.

Women’s race

Kenyan Emily Chibet and 2011 World 10,000m bronze medallist Linet Masai were the early leaders, but Joyce Chepkirui and Cheruiyot were close on their heels. After the Kenyan quartet of Cheruiyot, Chepkirui, Masai and Chibet led through the first three kilometres (9:21), Cheruiyot moved to a solo lead and began to run close to World record pace with a 2:57-minute split in the fifth kilometre to hit the half way mark in 15:15.

She followed up with sub three-minute kilometres, but her World record ambitions were dashed in the ninth kilometre (covered in 3:11) and settled for victory still in a personal best of 30:47.

“I am very pleased with my performance. I ran a smart race and reacted well to every situation,” commented a happy Cheruiyot. National Cross Country champion Chepkirui (31:09) and Masai (31:15) completed a Kenyan sweep.The first non-Kenyan home was Olympic 10,000m medallist Shalane Flanagan (32:20), in sixth position

Men’s race

Kenyan Junior and race debutant Paul Lonyangata move to the front and sped up to 11:22 at the fourth kilometre and 14:02 at the halfway mark, thanks in part of the tail wind. He was closely followed by five men.

At a slight descent around the sixth kilometre, Kitwara sped up and progressively began to separate himself from the chase pack. By the eighth kilometre, covered in 22:24, he had built an eight-second lead over countryman and former World record holder Mikah Kogo.

With two wins and a second place in 2010, Kitwara kept a solid pace and was not challenged to cruise to an easy win in 28:02.

“My goal today was the win, without focusing on a specific time. I noticed the group began to slow down and I knew it was the right time to break away. I sped up until I managed to lead alone,” said Kitwara.

Making their debut on Puerto Rican soil, Kenyan Vicent Chepkok (28:11) and Eritrea’s World Half Marathon record holder and 2004 Olympic medallist Zersenay Tadese (28:13) joined him on the podium.

Another debutant here, Ethiopia's 2011 world cross country champion and 2011 World 10,000m medallist Imane Merga failed to impress and had to settle for a distant seventh in 28:40.

The course records, set by Kenyan Moses Masai (27:19 in 2010) and British Paula Radcliffe (30:21 in 2003), remained intact. Radcliffe’s time still stands as a World record. Both winners collected $15,000 for their effort. Cheruiyot pocketed an extra $10,000 for dipping under the 31-minute barrier.

Leading Results:


1. Vivian Cheruiyot, KEN         30:47

2. Joyce Chepkirui, KEN         31:09

3. Linet Masai, KEN             31:15

4. Emily Chibet, KEN             32:03

 5. Winnie Jepkemoi, KEN         32:19 

6. Shalane Flanagan, USA         32:20

 7. Pauline Korikwiang, KEN       32:35

8. Sule Utura Gebo, ETH         32:50

9. Tetiana Shmyrko, UKR         33:25

10. Elizaveta Grechishikova, RU  33:36



1. Sammy Kitwara, KEN         28:02 

2. Vicent Chepkok, KEN         28:11

3. Zersenay Tadese, ERI       28:13

4. Mikah Kogo, KEN             28:17

5. Wilson Kiprop, KEN         28:17

6. Lucas Rotich, KEN           28:32

7. Imane Merga, ETH           28:40

8. Paul Lonyangata, KEN       28:42

9. Paul Tanui Kipngeich, KEN  28:47 

10. Mark Kiptoo, KEN           28:58



Compiled from Iaaf