A field of over 53,000 signed up for this year's Bloomsday, and thecrowd was greeted with clear skies, a temperature at the start in thelow 40s, and virtually no wind. The elite women started the12-kilometer (7.46-mile) race first, and it wasn't long before Daskabegan making it clear that on this day she would take no prisoners.After the first half-mile she moved to the front, with Genoveva Kigengamely staying with her. By the first mile those two broke away, andKigen made a strong move on the downhill that followed.
As the duo reached the bottom and began the climb up Hangman Hill tothe 2-mile mark, they had a 20-meter lead on the rest of the field,with Janet Cherobon-Bawcom of Rome, Georgia, moving into the thirdspot. Daska use the next hill, Cemetery, to make a clean break of it,and by three miles she was 50 meters in the lead. She passed threemiles in 15:04, the fastest time ever run on the course by a solidseven seconds. Her time at four miles (20:16) was still five secondsahead of record pace, and it was the last time she had a challengerclose. Daska eased up somewhat after that, but her final time of 38:26was 57 seconds ahead of Cherobon-Bawcom, who passed Kigen after the topof Doomsday and built on that lead to the finish. Four other Americansfinished in the top 10.
"At one point I was closing on her," said Cherobon-Bawcom, "But I thinkI misjudged how long the hill was. It worked out well anyway. She had agreat race and I had a great race too."
In the men's competition, Kiprono seemed willing to cruise back in apack led mostly by Robert Letting through the early miles, and thegroup still included nine at the base of Doomsday. But then Kipronodecided to take control, and he surged up the hill showing littlestrain.
By the top Kiprono had a 10 meter lead on Letting, and as the courseflattened out again he turned on the jets, glancing back occasionallyas his lead grew to 150 meters by the six-mile mark. He held that leadto the finish, clocking 34:29 and beating Letting by 18 seconds, withMacDonard Ondara a step behind Letting. Three-time Bloomsday championJohn Korir took fourth, as Kenyans claimed eight of the top ten spots.Top American Carlos Trujillo of Middleton, Idaho, finished in tenth.The victory by Kiprono was his first at Bloomsday, and made up for aclose runnerup finish to Simon Ndirangu a year ago.
"My focus was only to win," said Kiprono. "Last year I missed it. Isaid this year I have to win this race."
Victors Kiprono and Daska each earned $7,000 for their wins, part of apurse of nearly $100,000 in all divisions of the race. Along with theprize money, both earned the right to compete for the PRRO CircuitBonus of $10,000 at the Peachtree Road Race on July 4th. JanetCherobon-Bawcom and Carlos Trujillo each took home Bloomsday's top U.S.citizen prize of $5,000, plus open prize money. Kevin Castille ofNicholasville, Kentucky, and Dorota Gruca of Poland each earned the topmasters prize of $1,500.
In the men's wheelchair race, 52-year-old Californian Scott Parson tooka commanding lead on the first downhill after mile one, and was onlybriefly challenged by Aaron Pike of the University of Illinois. Scottended up winning by over a minute in a time of 29:58.
"It looked like everyone was hitting their brakes on that first hill,"said Parson, "and I just let it go."
University of Illinois phenom Amanda McGrory grabbed a commanding leadfrom the start of the women's race, and notched her sixth consecutiveBloomsday women's title with a time of 34:15, over two minutes ahead ofrunnerup Susannah Scaroni. The Masters winner was Bradley Ray, whileSantiago Sanz earned his eighth T2 Quad title, and Scott Stokes was theT1 Quad victor.
Along with top competition in all Bloomsday divisions, 47,882 finishersenjoyed performances from nearly 30 bands, vocalists and performingtroupes along the course, eventually reaching the finish and claimingthis year’s finisher T-shirt. Next year’s Lilac Bloomsday Run, the37th, will be on Sunday, May 5th, 2013