World Champions Cheruiyot and Masai in mood for London 5k title

Submitted by ATAF Editor on 2 September 2009 - 1:27pm

Newly crowned world 10,000m champion Linet Masai, and 5000m world champion Vivian Cheruiyot, head a high-quality elite field for the adidas Women's 5k Challenge in Hyde Park, London, on Sunday 6th September.

Masai broke a decade-long Ethiopian stranglehold over the 10km track event when she defeated Meselech Melkamu and Meseret Defar with a thrilling finish in Berlin two weeks ago. Now she hopes to replace Defar as the Women's 5k Challenge champion and become the first Kenyan to win this 17,000-strong central London road race since Tegla Loroupe in 2000.

Masai, who finished second behind Defar last year in 15:31, is not only chasing victory but has Paula Radcliffe's six-year-old course record of 14:51 in her sights.

"I enjoyed this race last year when I finished just 30 seconds behind Meseret," said the London-based 19-year-old who holds the world junior 10,000m record. "This year I aim to cross the line first and believe I am in shape to chase Paula's record."

"We are delighted to have two World Champions heading the field at the adidas Women's 5k Challenge this year," said David Bedford, race director of the Virgin London Marathon who organise the event. "Linet and Vivian won thrilling races in Berlin, but they will have a tough race in London as the quality of the elite race is higher than ever."

Both champions competed yesterday at Gateshead over 3000m where Cheruiyot ran a seasons best finishing first in 8:33.66 with Masai in third place with 8:43.14.

It won't all be down to Africans, however, as New Zealand's Kim Smith returns to the British capital looking to repeat her triumph at this May's Bupa London 10,000.

Smith, who finished eighth in the Berlin 10,000m final in a season's best, was third in the London 5k in 2005, and fifth three years ago,

The field also includes Russia's Inga Abitova, the European 10,000m champion who was seventh two years ago; Grace Momanyi running a personal best in Berlin to finish fourth in the 10,000m; Dulce Felix of Portugal, also a Berlin 10,000m finalist; Lara Tamsett of Australia who was third in the Carlsbad 5000 in April, and Nicole Aish, a former 1500m track specialist from USA, before moving on to road racing.

The 19-year-old Ethiopian, Aberu Kebede, could also be a threat. A 30:48.26 10,000m runner on the track, Kebede will make her debut over the distance on Sunday.

A third World Champion, Jessica Ennis, fresh from her gold medal victory at the heptathlon in Berlin will be present as official starter, setting off the elite field at 11.00am.

Behind this impressive field, some 17,000 club runners, fun runners, joggers and celebrities will pound the circular route around central London's famous park in search of pride, personal bests and charitable donations.

The full elite field plus personal bests for 5000m track

Vivian Cheruiyot KEN 14.22
Linet Masai KEN 14.34
Kim Smith NZL 14.45
Grace Momanyi KEN 14.50
Dulce Felix POR 15.08
Inga Abitova RUS 15.15
Nicole Aish USA 15.20
Lara Tamsett AUS 15:51
Aberu Kebede Shewaye ETH debut