Meb Among Notables in Bellin Run Elite Field
May 29, 2014
It’s going to be a star-studded elite field at this year’s Bellin Run on Saturday, June 14. Last year’s top two finishers in both the men’s and women’s fields will be back and, if history is any indication, it will be a battle to see who will be the first to cross the finish line.
Returning will be Kenyans Lani Rutto Kiplagat and Allan Kiprono, who finished one - two in the men’s division last year. Kiplagat grabbed the top spot in the 2013 race with a time of 29:12. Kiplagat, the runner up in the 2012 and 2011 races, edged out two-time defending Bellin Run champion Kiprono, who finished second in 2013 with a time of 29:34.
In the elite women’s field, Kenyans Risper Gesabwa and Millicent Kuria will be returning, after finishing in first and second place, respectively, last year. For Gesawba, her 2013 win was her second consecutive title in the women’s division. Her time was 32:58. Kuria, who was the women’s race winner in 2008 and second place finisher in 2009, finished second with a time of 33:23.
A newcomer to the Bellin Run is a name that is recognizable in the running community. Joining this year’s elite field is 2014 Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi, the first American male to win that race in 31 years. Keflezighi also won the 2009 New York City Marathon, which was the first time an American won that race since 1982. He is also an Olympian, having won the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials, earning a silver medal in the marathon in 2004 and finishing fourth in the marathon in 2012.
Keflezighi was born in Eritrea. His family moved to California in 1987, where he graduated from UCLA and become a U.S. citizen in 1998.
The 2014 Bellin Run elite field will also include a number of other notable athletes, many of whom have stood on the winner’s podium in years past, including:
Uta Pippig of Colorado: Female champion, 1995.
Pippig is a former Olympian who became a world-renown runner as she won three consecutive Boston Marathons and also won the New York City Marathon.
Joan Samuelson of Maine: Female champion, 1992, 1991, 1988, 1986.
Samuelson is a former U.S. Olympian who won the women’s marathon gold in 1984. Samuelson has also enjoyed success at non-marathon distances as well, winning the prestigious Falmouth Road Race (7.1 miles) a total of six times, breaking the course record on four of those occasions.
Bill Rodgers of Massachusetts: Male champion, 1978
Rodgers is perhaps best known for his four victories in the Boston Marathon, including three straight victories at Boston (1978-1980) and winning the New York City Marathon.
Rounding out the Elite Field will be:
Philemon Cheboi of Kenya
Cheboi is an up-and-coming runner who trains with Kiplagat and Kiprono and posted a 28:19 at last year’s Asics 10K in Berlin, Germany.
Benson Cheruiyot of Kenya
Cheruiyot is a Sauk Prairie, Wisconsin resident who has posted several sub-30:00 10K times and won the Green Bay Cellcom half marathon in 2013.
Agnes Cheserek of Kenya
Cheserek finished 4th in the Boomsday 2014 12K race held on May 4 in Spokane, Washington. Her time was 40:22.
Kellyn Johnson of Arizona
Johnson is a Wisconsin native who now calls Arizona home. On May 10 of this year, she won the Fifth Third’s 25K River Bank Run in Grand Rapids, Mich. with a time of 1:25:25; out-distancing her nearest competitor by nearly two minutes.
Mike Morgan of Nebraska
Morgan is a member of Rochester Hills, Michigan’s famed Hanson’s Running Club. In 2013, he set a record time in winning the men’s division of the 2013 Walt Disney World Half Marathon, at 1:05:26.