Elkanah Kibet made it back-to-back victories in the TD Bank Reedy River Run on Saturday morning, shaving 14 seconds from his time a year ago in the popular 10K race in downtown Greenville.
Dylan Hassett, a newcomer to Greenville who trains with the ASICS Greenville Track Club-ELITE developmental program, won the women's 10K under perfect conditions including clear blue skies and mild temperatures.
A sergeant in the U.S. Army based at Fort Bragg, N.C., Kibet said it was his first race since competing in the USA Olympic Trials Marathon in February.
He completed the sometimes hilly 6.2-mile course in 29:57, taking the lead within the opening mile, running at a 4:49 clip and ending with a comfortable 16-second cushion at the finish line near the entrance to Falls Park on Main Street.
Raymond McCormack of Orlando, Fla., was second (30:13), and Mark Leininger, a New Jersey native now living in Greenville and training with the ASICS GTC Elite squad, was third (30:20).
Kibet, 32, who was born in Kenya and is a U.S. citizen, is a financial management technician at Fort Bragg. He also is part of the Army's World Class Athletic Program. He said he is headed to Colorado to get in some training as part of WCAP.
The former Auburn University runner finished 19th in the Olympic marathon trials in Los Angeles, despite a relatively short career as a marathoner. Kibet competed in his first marathon shortly after he won the 2015 Reedy River Run.
While he was disappointed about not making the American team in the marathon, he wants to try make Team USA in another event. He has dreams of running in the 10K at the Olympics in Rio. Those trials are set for this summer in Eugene, Ore., Kibet said.
Saturday's race featured a number of veterans of the Olympic marathon trials with women's Reedy River Run champion Hassett among them.
Hassett, 22, ran at the College of William & Mary for four years. Originally from Alpharetta, Ga., she moved here this past September to train with GTC. Her winning time in the Reedy River Run was 35:00, almost a half-minute ahead of her nearest competitor.
"I wanted to run the first half conservatively,'' Hassett said. "I knew the second half was the hillier half, and I wanted to have some energy left to hang on.''
She said she passed second-place finisher Andrea Rediger (35:28) of Minneapolis, Minn., around Mile 4. Kimberly Ruck of Greer was third (35:48).
The TD Bank Reedy River Run presented by The Greenville News marked its 39th year with thousands of runners competing in 10K, 5K or Youth Run events. The morning of races was capped by a music and food festival in Falls Park.
Article and Photos courtesy of presenting sponsor The Greenville News
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