Spokane, Washington—A sprint finish is what spectators hope for and race directors dream about, and this year’s women’s field for the 40th edition of the Lilac Bloomsday Run is looking like that’s exactly what might happen. Returning women’s champion Cynthia Limo, described by elite athlete coordinator Jon Neill as “the most dominant female distance runner in the world right now,” is back to defend her title from 2015. Limo is coming off a 2nd place finish at the 2016 IAAF Half Marathon Championships, where she ran 1:06:04–the 2nd fastest half marathon in the world this year and the 4th fastest in history.
Limo will be challenged over the 12-kilometer course by training partner Monicah Ngige, who is clearly in top shape, having just finished 10th at the Kenyan Cross Country Nationals and 5th at the World’s Best 10K in Puerto Rico (31:58), and Risa Takenaka, the first Japanese runner to race Bloomsday in 14 years. Americans Mattie Suver and Blake Russell will be the leaders in the battle for the American prize money.