SPOKANE, Wash. -- Allan Kiprono, who was outsprinted by Simon Ndirangu in last year's Lilac Bloomsday Run, broke into the win column this time around, claiming his first-ever Bloomsday title Sunday.
The 22 year old lived up to his #1 seeding, after a record finish at the Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run, obliterating the course record in Washington DC. Though no records fell on the Bloomsday course, Kiprono was without equal.
Fellow countryman Robert Letting pushed the tempo in the early stages. The 28 year-old Kenyan was coming off high-altitude training near Mexico City, and let loose on the course.
But as a pack of nine cleared mile four near Spokane Falls Community College, Kiprono made his move. The steep climb up Doomsday Hill whittled that pack down to five. By the end of the ascent, it was a two-man race between Kiprono and Letting.
By mile six, all Kiprono could do was look over his shoulder, a sea of concrete between him and the rest of the field. That separation only grew as Kiprono headed down Broadway and the race's 10K mark.
When the dust settled, all Kiprono was a first-time Bloomsday Elite Men's Champion.
"I was not expecting to win," Kiprono said after the race. "Last year, I lost at the finish line. I said this year, I have to win this race."
The run even drew admiration from fellow competitors, including former University of Oregon distance runner Shadrack Biwott, who was participating in his first-ever Bloomsday.
"Coming up Doomsday Hill, they were right in front of us," said Biwott. "But at the end of the hill, he just took off. That was it. Nobody was able to go with him. The guy is fit. He was just tearing it up. I'm not shocked. He ran away from everyone."
Final Results (Country, Time, Prize Money)
1. Allan Kiprono, Kenya (34:29) $7,000 2. Robert Letting, Kenya (34:47) $4,500 3. MacDonard Ondara, Kenya (34:48) $3,000 4. John Korir, Kenya (34:57) $2,500 5. Lani Kiplagat, Kenya (34:58) $1,800 6. Josphat Boit, Kenya (35:00) $1,350 7. Tesfaye Sendeku, Ethiopia (35:03) $1,000 8. Linus Chumba, Kenya (35:08) $900 9. Emmanuel Bor, Kenya (35:41) $700 10. Carlos Trujillo, United States (35:42) $5,600*
What a great day it was for the 36th annual running of Bloomsday Sunday in downtown Spokane. >>
What a great day it was for the 36th annual running of Bloomsday Sunday in downtown Spokane. With an event of this size there are a lot of questions that follow, but because it is so big it takes some time get those answers.>>