Rojas’ Strong Finish Wins CU Cherry Blossom 10 Miler;  Kimutai Wins Men’s Race; Simbassa is USA Champ

By Clay Shaw

WASHINGTON, DC, SEPTEMBER 12, 2021—Nell Rojas of Boulder, CO used strength, smarts, and power to distance herself from the others in the final turns and ups in the final 500 yards, to win in 52:13.  USA track standout Jenny Simpson, also from Boulder, had a great road race debut to finish second in 52:16.  Antonina Kwambai of Iten, Kenya was third in 52:23.  Kenyan citizen Caroline Rotich of Santa Fe, NM was fourth in 52:25.  Annie Frisbie of Minneapolis, MN was fifth in 52:26.  The top five were together for over 9.5 miles; it was really an epic race to watch and photograph. The Credit Union Cherry Blossom is usually, of course, in the Spring.  Credit goes to the staff, sponsors, and volunteers who made a 2021 race take place in a safe way in the Nation’s Capital. 

Edwin Kimutai of Iten, Kenya was grief stricken after losing his wife one month prior to the race.  Kimutai withdrew from the race, then decided to race with a heavy heart.  Kimutai won in 45:45, a 4:35 per mile pace, winning $5000.

Abbabiya Simbassa of Flagstaff, AZ also broke the banner as USA 10 Mile champ, in 46:28.  Augustus Maiyo of Colorado Springs was third in 46:23.  Reed Fischer of Boulder was fourth in 46:59.  Frank Lara of Westminster, CO was fifth in 47:30.

Despite a cut in the number of entrants, the race had a strong national and regional turnout of talent. Twenty-eight women broke the hour mark, and 28 men were under 51 minutes. 

Top Women

  1. 52:13 Nell Rojas, 33, Boulder, CO
  2. 52:16 Jenny Simpson, 35, Boulder, CO
  3. 52:23 Antonina Kwambai, 29, Iten, KENYA
  4. 52:25 Caroline Rotich, 37, Santa Fe, NM (KENYA)
  5. 52:26 Annie Frisbie, 24, Minneapolis, MN
  6. 52:43 Sara Hall, 38, Flagstaff, AZ
  7. 52:51 Carrie Verdon, 27, Boulder, CO
  8. 53:23 Diane Nukuri, 36, Flagstaff, AZ
  9. 53:40 Iveen Chepkemoi, 24, KENYA
  10. 54:23 Amy Davis, 24, Rochester Hills, MI
  11. 54:34 Purity Cheromei, 29, KENYA
  12. 54:37 Susanna Sullivan, 31, Reston, VA
  13. 54:38 Bria Wetsch, 33, Broomfield, CO
  14. 54:41 Madeline Alm, 28, Louisville, CO
  15. 55:02 Natosha Rogers, 30, Littleton, CO
  16. 55:46 Paige Stoner, 25, Charlottesville, VA
  17. 55:51 Jennifer Bergman, 29, Erie, CO
  18. 56:12 Abbie McNulty, 25, Charlottesville, VA
  19. 56:25 Molly Culver, 31, Richmond, VA
  20. 57:10 Cleo Whiting, 27, Washington, DC

Top Men

  1. 45:45 Edwin Kimutai, 28, Iten, KENYA
  2. 46:18 Abbabiya Simbassa, 28, Flagstaff, AZ
  3. 46:23 Augustus Maiyo, 38, Colorado Springs, CO
  4. 46:59 Reed Fischer, 26, Boulder, CO
  5. 47:13 Frank Lara, 25, Westminster, CO
  6. 47:30 Dominic Korir, 28, KENYA
  7. 47:35 Shadrack Biwott, 35, Folsom, CA
  8. 47:36 Joel Reichow, 28, White Bear Lake, MN
  9. 47:39 Elkanah Kibet, 38, Colorado Springs, CO
  10. 47:42 Chris Derrick, 30, Boulder, CO
  11. 47:43 John Raneri, 29, Flagstaff, AZ
  12. 47:45 Emmanuel Roudolff-Levisse, 26, FRANCE
  13. 47:47 Noah Droddy, 30, Boulder, CO
  14. 48:07 Tom Anderson, 31, Seattle, WA
  15. 48:13 Elijah Mwangangi Saolo, 25, KENYA
  16. 48:14 Brendan Gregg, 32, Davis, CA
  17. 48:22 Jeff Thies, 26, Boulder, CO
  18. 48:33 Clint McKelvey, 29, Arlington, VA
  19. 49:00 Matt Llano, 33, Flagstaff, AZ
  20. 49:20 Kiya Dandena, 32, Flagstaff, AZ
The Credit Union Cherry Blossom elite women start.
Jenny Simpson #46 in her first road race, goes out strong in a large group of elite women.
Strong women, a big lead pack heads across the Potomac River towards Virginia, with the Lincoln Memorial in the background.
Carrie Verdon #44, Sara Hall #54, Annie Frisbie #30, Purity Chepkemoi #728, Antonina Kwambai #22, Diane Nukuri #14, and Jenny Simpson #46 run on US 50, back to DC.
Carrie Verdon, Sara Hall, Annie Frisbie, Purity Chepkemoi, Antonina Kwamnai, Diane Nukuri, Susanna Sullivan, and Jenny Simpson are visible. Ryan Hall with scooter, checks out the action.
Non-contact sport? Sara Hall #54 almost took a tumble, but righted herself.
Game time in final mile. Antonina Kwambai #22, Nell Rojas #42, Annie Frisbie #30, Jenny Simpson, and Caroline Rotich #18 all gearing up for the race to place.
Nell Rojas gears up for final sprint to victory.
Pack of six at mile 9. Kwambai, Frisbie, Rojas, Hall, Rotich, and Simpson, all have eyes on the top prize.
Nell Rojas of Boulder surges to victory in 52:13. Olympian Jenny Simpson #46 places second in 52:16, in her first long road race.
Proud father Ric Rojas, with daughter Nell Rojas, and Jenny Simpson. Ric won the very first Bolder Boulder 10K in 1979.
Nell Rojas, the 2021 winner, in a selfie with 10-Mile World Record holder Keira D’Amato.
Boriana Bakaltcheva of Vienna, VA runs a 1:02:32.
Jennifer Bergman of Erie, Colorado was 17th in 55:51.
Credit Union Miracle Day oversized check with Credit Union representatives.
Noah Droddy has a moment with two special people before the CUCB 10 Miler.
Early action in the men’s race features John Ranieri #41, Edwin Kimutai, Frank Lara #49, Dominic Korir #25, and Elkanah Kibet #39.
Lead men begin to thin out as they leave Virginia.
Edwin Kimutai of Kenya cruises along. He does get a look from Erica Waterman of Golden, Colorado.
Edwin Kimutai of Iten, Kenya, racing with a heavy heart, wins the 2021 Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in 45:45.
Abbabiya Simbassa of Flagstaff, AZ was second overall, but first USA, and wins the USATF 10-Mile Championships in 46:18.
Elkhanah Kibet of Colorado Springs, CO was 9th in 47:39.
Ryan Fan of Baltimore, MD runs 56:17.
Frank Lara of Westminster, Colorado was fifth overall in 47:13.

Categories: Race Coverage

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