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American wins Falmouth Road Race for the first time in 31 years

Korir tasted his first victory on Cape Cod today after making the podium (but not winning) four years in a row

With no one in sight behind him at the finish line, Olympian Leonard Korir of Colorado Springs nonetheless fought hard to bring home the win today at a very muggy Falmouth Road Race in 32:11, after finishing on the podium (but never first) four years in a row. Korir is the first American to win this race since Mark Curp’s victory back in 1988. Four-time winner Stephen Sambu was second, in 32:29, and 5K joint world record-holder Edward Cheserek on Sambu’s heels in third, in 32:30. Korir took home a sweet USD $18,000 for his efforts ($10,000 for the win, $3,000 for being the first American, and $5,000 for the gender bonus).

The 2018 NCAA 10,000m champion Sharon Lokedi, who came to the University of Kansas from her native Kenya and now trains in Flagstaff with partner Cheserek, won the women’s race for the second year in a row, in 36:29, getting the better of the US’s Sara Hall by five seconds (36:34). Margaret Wangari of Kenya went out fast, but slowed considerably in the humidity, ending up in third place, in 36:43. Hall plans to race both the Berlin and New York City marathons this fall, which are only five weeks apart. Des Linden, who also has said she will race New York this year, finished ninth.

2018 Boston Marathon winner Tatyana McFadden and 2018 New York Marathon, 2019 Boston Marathon and London Marathon winner Daniel Romanchuk both broke the course records in their respective wheelchair divisions, McFadden in 26:15 and Romanchuk in 21:58. McFadden was fifth overall. The wheelchair division is celebrating its 45th year this year.

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Cheserek, who was racing Falmouth for the first time, was nursing a slightly injured hamstring and fell off the pace early in the race, but managed to claw his way back and might even have stolen second, but ran out of road before that could happen. Cheserek matched Julien Wanders’s world record of 13:29 in the 5K at the Carlsbad 5000 this spring. Since graduating from the University of Oregon in 2017, Cheserek hasn’t been able to obtain a green card. He competed for the Oregon on a student visa and got a P1 visa in January of 2018, which allowed him to continue training in Flagstaff, Arizona for one year. His application to extend that visa is still under review.

Scott Fauble was a late scratch from the race.

The Falmouth course runs from Woods Hole, Mass., in the southwestern corner of Cape Cod, to Falmouth.

The gender bonus is an attempt to equalize the sexes at the finish line, something the Ottawa 10K also does. The elite women get a head start on the men (calculated based on the amount of time by which the male winner typically outruns the female winner), and the overall winner, male or female, gets the $5,000 bonus.

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