Providence Journal sports writer Carolyn Thornton blogs the Rhode Island running scene.
Former Providence College All-American Kim Smith beat her own first-place finish time from 2010, winning the women's division of the 18th annual ING Hartford Half Marathon, Saturday at Hartford, Conn. in a course-record time of 1:11:18. Mathew Kiplagat of Irvington, N.Y. won the men's race in 1:06:23.
Solomon Too and Folisho Tuko, both Ethiopian runners who train together in a Westchester, N.Y., finished 1-2 in the accompanying ING Hartford Marathon. Too clocked a winning time of 2:21:03, followed by Tuko 30 seconds later. Making her marathon debut, Erica Jesseman, of Scarborough, Maine, won the women's race in 2:45:00.
Stephen Pretak of New London, Conn. (15:35) and Cayla Hatton, of Farmington, Conn. (17:08) took top honors in the 5K.
The nearly 5,000 runners registered for Sunday's 2011 Amica Marathon and UnitedHealthcare Half Marathon in Newport will not only be benefiting themselves. They'll also be supporting the Providence Ronald McDonald House and the March of Dimes, with proceeds from the event going to both causes.
Both races will start at 8 a.m., beginning and ending at Easton's Beach.
As a warm-up for Sunday's races, a 5K race will be held on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. at Brenton Point in Newport.
Runners can register at the Health and Wellness Expo at the Newport Yachting Center, Friday from 1-7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Race-day registration will be held Sunday at Easton's Beach from 6:30-7:45 a.m.
For more information on any of the events, visit http://www.amicamarathon.com.
Another new feature has been added for the second annual Monster Mini 5K Dash and Monster Kids 1K, slated for Oct. 30 in Downtown Providence.
Each runner who participates in the youth 1K race - as well as any youngster aged 14 and under who runs in the 5K - will receive a "Monster Candy Bar." One of those bars will hold a "Golden Ticket," and the child who gets the lucky bar will receive a a free tour and party with 20 of his or her friends at the Monster Mini Golf's Monster Making Factory in Providence.
"Christina Vitagliano of Monster Mini Golf - and my partner on this event - will make sure the kids have the experience of a lifetime," says race director Charlie Breagy. "The building is a really spooky place, and there will be lots of monsters."
An interesting note from USA Track & Field about this weekend's race:
In preparation for Sunday's USA 10 Mile Championships equalizer challenge, Twin Cities In Motion Executive Director Virginia Brophy Achman announced Friday that the U.S. women's field will start seven minutes before the men's field.
Based on past Medtronic TC 10 Mile course results, as well as the outcomes from a number of Championship races and ten-mile records, the "Equalizer" allows elite women to start ahead of elite men, resulting in a new and innovative competition format, and a dramatic "battle of the sexes" race to the finish. The first person, man or woman, across the line will win a $10,000 bonus.
"It adds some excitement to the race," said four-time USA 10 mile champion Abdi Abdirahman. "Seven minutes is a lot of time so I don't know if I'm going to try to chase the women from the start but if I seem them at the end, my eyes will get big and then it's on."
The USA 10 Mile Championships will be webcast live beginning at 7 a.m. CDT at www.USARunningCircuit.com
Germany's Matthias Dunse was the top male and Lisbeth Kenyon of Barrington was the top female at the 2011 Amica 19.7 Newport Sprint Triathlon, held Sept. 24 in Newport.
The eighth stop in the 2011 Amica 19.7 Triathlon Series, which culminates in Phoenix, Ariz. in Nov., the Amica 19.7 Newport consisted of a half-mile swim at Third Beach, a 16.1-mile bike through Middletown and Portsmouth and a 5K that ended at Sachuest (Second) Beach in Middletown.
The 29-year-old Dunse clocked a winning time of 1:09:28, while Kenyon, who placed fifth overall, won the women's race in 1:16:08.
"I am happy to win it this year," said Dunse, the runner-up in 2010 to Luc Morin. "I like the sprint distance a lot. I came to the U.S. in August, competed in three sprints and have won them all."
Ranked first in the U.S. among 40-44-year-old women, Kenyon also won the Rev3 Connecticut and the Patriot Triathlon in Massachusetts this summer, and plans to compete in the 2011 Ford Ironman World Championships in two weeks in Kona, Hawaii.
"There is nothing like competing at home," she said. "I got to sleep in my own bed (and) drive only a half hour to the race. Of course, it's great to win. This was a great race and a beautiful course."
In one of the most exciting finishes in the 22-year history of the race, Dartmouth grad Ben True took the lead over the final meters en route to winning the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K in 13 minutes, 44 seconds. Sam Chelanga edged Aaron Braun by a fraction of a second to take second in 13:45.
Meanwhile, Julie Culley of Johnson City, Tenn. took an early lead and was never challenged, winning the women's title with a time of 15:42. Kim Conley, of Sacramento, Calif. was second in 15:49, followed by Emily Brown of Minnetonka, Minn. in 15:58.
Because the Providence race was once again designated as the USA 5K National Championship for both men and women, True and Culley's victories earned each of them a national title, as well.
Providence will be abuzz on Sunday when the 22nd annual CVS Caremark Downtown 5K gets underway. In addition to the 5K, which will once again serve as the Men's and Women's U.S. 5K Championship, festivities will include 21 children's race for youngsters from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade and the Tufts Health Plan High School Inspirational 3K.
Notable runners in this year's CVS Caremark Downtown 5K include defending champion Robert Cheseret of Kenya, two-time U.S. Olympian and two-time Downtown 5K winner Anthony "Fam" Famiglietti, Ben True, the top American at this year's AJC Peachtree 10K, and 14-time All-American Sam Chelanga. On the women's side, 2006 Downtown 5K winner Sarah Hall will attempt to regain her title.
Race organizers provide some last-minute details:
Parking: Saturday and Sunday, free parking is available at the Rhode Island State House parking lots. On Sunday, these spaces get filled quickly - usually before 9:30 a.m. - so plan to arrive early. Other parking options include the Providence Place Mall garage and the Rhode Island Convention Center garage - both for a fee.
Awards: All finishers of the youth races will receive medals and the top five finishers in each youth race will receive a trophy. Awards for the youth races will be presented immediately after each race at the finishing line area. For the 5K race, medals for the top three men and top three women runners will be presented immediately after the race on the stage along Francis Street. The full awards ceremony for the 5K will take place at 1 p.m. on the stage located on the State House lawn and will include USATF medals for the top 10 American men and the top 10 American women.
Race Results: Race results will be posted to the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K website by 4 p.m. Sunday. Go to www.cvsdowntown5k.com to access this information. The results will also be posted on WPRI-TV's website at www.wpri.com.
30-Minute Highlight Show: WPRI-TV Channel 12 will run a 30-minute highlight show of the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K on Sept. 19, at 7 p.m.
For More Information: Go to www.cvsdowntown5k.com or call the race hot line at (401) 751-7287.