A core group of American women will line up for the Oakley New York Mini 10K, going head-to-head with some of the world’s best international competitors on Saturday, June 8. The Americans will be led by 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon team member Desiree Davila and eight-time NCAA champion Neely Spence-Gracey, while the international field includes 2010 and 2011 Mini champion Linet Masai of Kenya, three-time Olympian Kim Smith of New Zealand, 2013 NYC Half runner-up Diane Nukuri-Johnson of Burundi, and 2011 ING New York City Marathon runner-up Buzunesh Deba of Ethiopia, it was announced today by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.
“We are lucky to have such a fantastic field of powerful and inspiring women from the U.S. and around the world in the race this year,” said Wittenberg. “The Mini has always represented the strides our female athletes have made—not only in running, but in every sport—and the challenges they have overcome to be who they are today. These women share individual stories of triumph and personal achievement that make them easily relatable to the ‘everyday’ runner. It’s special to be able to cross paths in such a unique way.”
Davila, 29, of Rochester Hills, MI, became a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic marathon team by finishing second in the U.S. Trials with a time of 2:25:55. At the 2011 Boston Marathon, she battled for the lead through the final miles, finishing only two seconds behind the winner; her time of 2:22:38 is the fastest ever run by an American woman at the Boston Marathon. In a frustrating sequence of events, Davila was forced to drop out of the 2012 Olympic Marathon after only about two miles, and she pulled out of from the 2013 Boston Marathon prior to racing due to injury. This will be her first competition since the Olympic Marathon.
“I’m excited that over the past few months my focus has shifted from getting 100% healthy—to getting fit,” said Davila. “I’m looking forward to testing that fitness at the Oakley New York Mini 10K. NYRR is famous for putting together incredibly strong fields. A race of this caliber is on par with jumping in the deep end, but I’m looking forward to the challenge, and hope to walk away with a solid starting point, and some competitive fire for the 2013 season.”
Spence-Gracey, 22, of Lake Orion, MI, was an eight-time NCAA Division II national champion at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. She was coached under the experienced and familiar eye of her father, Steve Spence, the 1991 World Championships marathon bronze medalist. Spence-Gracey was the top American at the 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, placing 13th in 25:08.
Masai, 23, won the 2009 IAAF World Championship at 10,000 meters in Berlin after finishing fourth in that event in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games; she took the 10,000-meter bronze medal at the 2011 Worlds in Daegu, South Korea. Masai won the Mini in both 2010 and 2011, her only previous appearances at the event. Her 2010 time of 30:48 is the fourth-fastest in the event’s history.
Smith, 31, a native of New Zealand who now resides in Providence, RI, is a three-time Olympian who is familiar with the streets and sights of New York City. She recently shattered the 26-year-old event record at the Brooklyn Half, finishing in 1:11:24. Smith was the runner-up at the NYC Half 2012, running 1:08:43. She holds 12 New Zealand records at distances from the mile to the marathon.
Nukuri-Johnson, 28, a native of Burundi who currently resides in Canada, holds Burundian national records at 5K, 10K, the half-marathon, and the marathon. She ran the 2012 London Olympic marathon in a personal-best time of 2:30:13; at the 2013 NYC Half, she ran another personal best (1:09:12) to take second place, just three seconds behind the winner.
Buzunesh Deba, 25, a native of Ethiopia who resides in the Bronx, NY, was the 2011 ING New York City Marathon runner-up in a personal-best time of 2:23:19. In 2011, she won the Los Angeles Marathon and the Rock ’n’ Roll San Diego Marathon, at the latter of which she broke the course record.
Other top contenders in the field:
· Stephanie Rothstein Bruce, 29, was the top American in the 2012 New York Mini 10K (33:04) and the NYC Half 2013 (1:10:53)
· Brianne Nelson, 32, placed 11th at the 2013 USA Cross Country Championships and fourth at the USA 15K Championships
· Mattie Suver, 25, was the runner-up at the 2013 USA 25K Championships and was a 2013 World Cross Country Championships qualifier
· Helen Clitheroe, 39, of Great Britain, was the 2011 European Indoor Championships gold medalist at 3000 meters
For its 41st running, the New York Mini 10K has a new title sponsor, Oakley, who will also be the official eyewear sponsor and apparel provider for the event. The new partnership aims to further empower women to live active and healthy lifestyles through Oakley’s “Made for More” marketing campaign.
This year, about 5,000 women are expected to participate in the race, which takes place in Central Park. The winner will be awarded a $10,000 prize. The Oakley New York Mini 10K will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 8, on Central Park West at West 61st Street. For more race details, please visit http://www.nyrr.org/races-and-events/2013/oakley-new-york-mini-10k.