Wangai Wins Again at Broad Street
BY JERRY NOLAN
PHILADELPHIA, PA--If I told you that Simon Wangai, a Kenyan, ran one of the fastest ten-mile races in U.S. history, and didn't even break the course record, would you believe me? That's what Wangai, age 24, of Royersford, PA, did, however, in the 24th annual Blue Cross Broad Street Run, held on May 4. He finished ahead of 9,048 runners (a record) in the ten-mile run down Broad Street with a time of 45:19. He did set a course record in the 2002 race when his time was 45:16. That time was the best ten-mile time ever recorded in the U.S.A. He might have run under 45:19 had he not misjudged the finish line and slowed down. In addition, he was not pushed at all during the race. Finishing in second and third place, respectively, were Henry Kipchirchir, age 19, of West Chester, PA (48:02), and Rich Byrne, age 38, from Franklin Lakes, NJ (48:28). Wangai's time of 45:16 in the 2002 race cannot qualify as an American record because of the downhill nature of the course.
Kate Fonshell, age 33, of Bryn Mawr, PA, took top honors among the women with her 56:41 race. Fonshell is a former Villanova runner. Following Fonshell was Kim Harrity, age 29, from Haverford, PA (57:57), and Carly Graytock, age 24, of Somerville, MA (58:43).
Masters winners were Fred Klevan, age 41, of Merion Station, PA (51:58), and Doreen McCourbrie, age 41, from Malvern, PA (1:01:29). She was also the first woman Masters in the 2002 race.
Tony Nogueira, age 35, of Glen Ridge, NJ, won the wheelchair race in 34:43. Jessica Galli, age 19, from Hillsborough, NJ, was the first woman chair to finish with her time of 42:12. Galli holds the women's wheelchair record of 39:59 which she set in 2001. Team competition in this race was extensive. Corporation and club groups produced twelve different team award categories. Several dozen clubs and businesses and several hundred runners participated in the team competition.
Awards were generous and comprehensive, going five deep in five-year age groups. Cash awards went to the first five finishers overall--male and female. Wangai and Fonshell each received $1,000 for their winning efforts. Cash prizes also went five deep in the Masters and wheelchair divisions. Matt DiPretone, age 25, and Abby Dean, age 31, won the Richard Lagocki Memorial Award as the fastest Philadelphians.
This race, which is the second largest 10-mile run in the country, is a point-to-point run down Broad Street finishing in the old Navy Yard. On the way to the finish line runners pass the mothballed Navy ships on the right and the old Marine barracks and parade ground on the left. Other weekend activities included an expo, pasta dinner, Senior Walk, and kids' run. The race was the fourth in the 2003 twelve event Mid-Atlantic Association of USATF Grand Prix Circuit. Race proceeds benefited the American Cancer Society.