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It had been a very dry October, and not a drop of rain had fallen on Tulsa, at least not until October 30th .
That, of course, was the day of the 22nd edition of the Tulsa Run. Probably the greatest competitive field ever assembled for this race and any other, toed the line on that soggiest of mornings as the heavens opened up on our guests from afar. All of the course records were safe today.
The large pack of international and American runners carefully made their way to Riverside Drive as the rain continued to pour. Temperatures in the low 50's kept the conditions a bit cool , and as the pack of 30 gave way to 20 and then 12 by the 10K mark, it was still the largest group of contenders so far into a Tulsa Run.
As the pack of nine rounded the turn onto Boulder and into the hills at the 13K mark, it was left to the Kenyan triumvirate of Sammy Ng’eno, a 3:58 miler; Dominic Kirui; and David Makori, coming off the SouthTrust 10-miler victory two weeks earlier in Florida. After a few lead changes, Makori finally pulled ahead with a three second victory (43:40) over Kirui (43:43), and Ng’eno (43:47).
In the women’s race tiny Lidiya Grigoryeva of Russia (51:06) easily handled Kenyan Jane Omoro (51:31), and Ethiopia’s Asha Gigi (51:34).
In the Master’s competition, Kenyan sensation Simon Karori extended his winning skein to six in major races this season. He outdueled Georgian John Tuttle by three seconds 46:43 to 46:46, making it the fourth time he had beaten Tuttle this year. A trio from Texas stormed the women’s field, with Carmen Troncoso finishing seventh overall in 53:42, followed by Patty Valadka (56:36), and Claudia Kasen (56:51).
OSU graduate student John Wild again graced the Top Oklahoman’s spot (46:15), to go with his victories in ’96 and’97. Fellow grad student Patrick Kiptum was second in 48:08. Broken Arrow’s Brenda Stukey came away with her own Top Oklahoman honor easily outdistancing Julie Thomas 57:20 to 1:00:05.
The Wheelchair race was again handily won by Texan Jan Mattern in 38:00. Jennifer Hackney repeated as the ladies champion in 2:34:32.
Steve Cooper from Austin, TX was the Racewalking champion for this year, clocking 1:35:25 in besting James Cox (1:38:58), and Jim Kennedy (1:40:40). Janet Slover of Tishomingo (1:41:04) won the women’s division as runnersup Norma Weiser (1:42:01) and Donna Krutka (1:44:35) were second and third.
Another Kenyan duo, this time in the form of Simon Rono and Catherine Ndereba, provided the mass of 8,500 runners and several thousand spectators with two sparkling performances as they respectively won their open divisions in 43:24 and 48:55. Both received $5,000 for their victories.
With temperatures hovering near the 60-degree mark at the start, on a humid, overcast morning, the field moved quickly down Boulder Avenue as the lead pack, consisting of nearly 25 runners, stayed at that size for much of the first 3 kilometers. With this diverse group of Kenyans, South Africans, Britons, New Zealanders, and Americans moving briskly at a 4:31 mile pace, the pack soon dwindled to 16 by the 5 kilometer mark, reached in 14:04.
The women’s field, while not as competitive on a large scale as the men’s, had several strong contenders for the top spot, each fully expecting to come close to or lowering Anne Hannam’s 10 year old course record of 48:14. Ndereba, whose sleek, graceful style carried her to the winner’s circle many times already this season, moved along patiently and purposefully clicking off 5:15 miles while her training partner Teresa Wanjiku, also of Kenya, stayed on her shoulder for most of the race.
With the men’s pack reaching the halfway point in 21:33, the world and course records seemed safe for another year. By this time, the pack had shook loose another couple of Kenyans, although not just any Kenyans, but namely Cosmas Ndeti, a 3-time Boston Marathon champion, and Douglas Wakiihuri, the Olympic marathon silver medalist from 1988.
At 10 kilometers, reached in 28:40, the men’s race had been pared down to 8 Kenyans, and 2 South Africans, Godfrey Kiprotich, Hezron Otwori, Daniel Kihara, Mbarak Hussein, James Bungei, Thomas Osano, Julius Randich, Abner Chipu, Makhosonke Fika, and Rono. This was the largest pack, at this point of the race, in some time. As they swiftly moved off of Riverside Drive onto the Boulder Hills at the 13 kilometer mark, they were 8 with some showing signs of stress from the surges thrown in on the hills.
By this time it was clear that the race would eventually come down to 4 or 5 contenders at the end as the pack of 5 who came around the final bend onto Boston Avenue, gave the waiting crowd all they could hope for.
Throwing in a final all-out surge with 6 blocks to go, Simon Rono and Abner Chipu thundered down Boston with Kihara, Kiprotich, and Fika in close pursuit, the final outcome uncertain until Rono kicked in another gear Chipu (43:27) didn’t have to pull ahead and win by 3 seconds. The top 8 were all under 44:00.
Ndereba and Wanjiku (49:02) stayed together through the whole race, with Nderaba eventually pulling away with a kilometer to go to take the win. Kenyan Jane Omoro was third in 50:06 as 5 Kenyans took the top 5 spots, with 7 finishing in the top 8. The Ukraine’s Tatyana Pozdnyakova finished a strong 6th with a time of 51:31, also garnering her the top Masters finish.
In the men’s Masters field, Georgian John Tuttle, a U.S. Olympian in 1984, easily outdistanced runner-up and former champion Craig Young (47:26) with an impressive 45:43 clocking, clearly one of the best Masters times ever recorded. Other results included Norman’s Craig Kirkwood and Becky Redding as winners of the top Oklahoman awards in 45:53 and 56:38 respectively. Wheelchair champions were Jan Mattern in 38:08, and Jennifer Hackney in 2:07:24. They each were awarded $1,000 for their efforts.
Overcast skies welcomed almost 8,000 runners of all ages and abilities as approximately 3,720 toed the starting line for the 20th annual edition of the this storied 15k race. A stellar cast of elite athletes, brought in to try to answer the challenge of a $20,000 world record bonus in addtion to the $5,000 first place award, topped the bill as a rolling sea of road racing’s best swept ateadily down Boulder Avenue at a 2:55 per kilometer pace helped slightly by the downward nature of the course which will soon empty out onto Riverside Drive. After the lead pack of 20 reached the 2k mark in 5:48, the pace then feathered out to a 2:51 per kilo average.
Kenyans Thomas Osano, Joseph Kariuki, and veteran Godfrey Kiprotich took turns at the front as the pack moved in perpetual motion down the river occasionally jettisoning the slowing, tiring ones along the way. After the turnaround at 7500 meters, Kiprotich, Kariuki, Osano, Angola’s Aurelio Miti, and Kenyan Peter Githuka made a slight break from the others. Githuka and Kiprotich then dropped to a 2:46 pace during the 10th and 11th kilometers which set the tone for the final segment of the race. With the cacophony of spectators cheering them up the Boulder hills, Githuka led Kiprotich over the final 2000 meters to eke out a four second win in 43:15 to Godfrey’s 43:20. Osano (43:44), Kariuki (43:59), and Miti (44:26) rounded out the top five places.
With defending champ Delillah Asiago returning for a trifecta win, and fronting the Kenyan triumvirate of Hellen Kipkoskei-Kimaiyo, Grace Chebet, and Margaret Kagiri, the women’s race was billed as a battle of the Rift Valley, but Asiago, running her last race of her U.S. season before returning to Kenya, led all the way with no challenge crossing the line in 49:22, 70 seconds earlier than second placer Kagiri’s 50:32. Kimaiyo (50:38) was all alone in third as the Russian duo of Albina Galliamova (51:16) and ’92 Olympic marathon champ Valentina Yegorova (51:45) eased in at fourth and fifth.
The Indy Life Masters Circuit’s inaugural year concluded with the Tulsa Run being the championship event, in addtion to sharing championship honors with the USATF Masters 15K. Craig Young of Colorado returned as defending T.R. champ and while taking the overall title, was second to Independence, KS native Fay Bradley in the age-graded category. Bradley, who’s actual time was 53:29, earned $1,000 for his efforts. Young’s overall time was 47:29 to Charlie Gray’s 49:12. Tulsan Doug Clark was third in 49:15, with top marathoner Doug Kurtis of Northville, MI (49:23) and Indianapolis’ Gary Romesser (49:38) in fourth and fifth. Jane Welzel of Fort Collins, CO (55:02) bested a quality masters field in Topeka, KS’s Marla Rhoden (58:14), Kim Campo of San Diego, CA (58:27), Ponca City’s Sandie Brandenberger (59:16), and Joyce Deason of Shreveport, LA (59:26). Joan Ottaway of Sonora, CA captured the $1,000 age-graded prize money. Her actual time was 59:43.
Top Oklahoman honors went to Jon Wild (44:52) who was sixth overall, and Shannon Compton (56:36) finishing 12th overall. Mustafa Badid and Jan Mattern renewed their annual rivalry in the wheelchair division with Badid once again outsprinting Mattern, this time by two seconds in earning the $1,000 prize money.
The Kenyans were back, and just as strong a contingent as the year before as the 19th Tulsa Run unfolded under gray skies with temps nearing the 60 degree mark. The list of invited athletes read like a who’s who of world class track, cross-country, and road runners as arguably the most powerful road race field of the 1996 U.S. road season was assembled and poised at the starting line on Boulder Avenue.
As the crack of the gun pierced the silence, the Kenyans, Britons, Irish, Moroccans, Ethiopians, and Americans sprinted out hard with a common goal of chasing Paul Tergat’s world 15k best of 42:13. This was the year to do it, and if not for a gusting south wind for the race’s first half, it could have been so. Even still, as the large pack moved speedily down Riverside Drive with Kenyans Godfrey Kiprotich and Lazarus Nyakeraka pushing the pace and maintaining a steady lead on the record, one knew that eventually they would tire, even with the wind at their backs for the last half. After the turnaround, Kenyan Joseph Kamau took charge and eventually made a clean break from the others. He kept looking around to see who was staying and who was not. By the time he reached the 10km mark in 28:20, he was no longer under world record pace, but still ahead of the course record and all alone. He ran the last four miles by himself, chasing the pace truck all the way to the finish with the throng of spectators cheering him on to a possible record. Driving for the tape he made one last surge to safely arrive under Stephen Nyamu’s 1994 course record of 42:52 by 2 seconds. Morrocan newcomer Khalid Khannouchi who had been stuck in no-man’s land for the last 3 miles closed fast on Kamau as he finished in 43:01, a precursor to his remarkable 1997 season as one of the most prolific road racing seasons ever. Welshman Jon Brown ran a spectacular race himself as he crossed the line in third with a 43:09, journeyman Kenyan Godfrey Kiprotich not too far behind in 43:24, with still another Kenyan Peter Githuka finishing fifth in 43:30. Englishman Jon Wild, an OSU All-American, was a few ticks back in 43:37, with five other Kenyans just behind him, making a total of eight out of the top 12 for the east African nation.
Kenyan Delillah Asiago, the ’94 champ, ran a conservative race and appeared in control for much of her race, with the exception of the final mile when she was almost run down by Lioudmila Alexeeff of Toronto. Asiago’s winning time of 51:08 was one og the slowest in recent years, but Alexeeff’s 51:11 was a personal best. Texan Katrina Price (51:25), Lyudmila Ilina (51:58) of the Ukraine, and Polish native Malgorazata Sobanska (52:55) finished 3rd through 5th.
Craig Young (47:14) of Colorado Springs, and Californian Kathy Ward (58:05) were the overall masters winners. Once again Mustafa Badid outdueled Jan Mattern, but this year it was wheel to wheel with Badid nosing out Mattern by a second in 34:43. Ann Walters captured the women’s division in 41:22. Stillwater’s Jon Wild (43:37 and sixth overall) and OKC’s Shannon Compton (56:33 and seventh overall) were the top Oklahomans. Approximately 8,000 finished both runs, as Tulsa now prepares to celebrate it’s 20th running of this storied race in 1997.
A perfect race day temperature of 50 degrees and a brisk north wind greeted approximately 7,000 participants for the 18th annual Tulsa Run as the field was laden with international stars once again.
A pack of about 12 consisting mostly of Kenyans, ex-Arkansas All-Americans, and a lone South African emerged from the downtown area as the race poured out on sunny Riverside Drive for the long flat, fast portion of the race. By the turnaround the pack was down to six or seven with the Kenyans establishing the usual quick, surging pace. Heading off of the parkway onto the Boulder hills at 13km , the pack was down to Kenyans Joseph Kamau and Peter Githuka, and South African Johannes Mabitle. As they turned onto Boston , Mabitle shifted into first gear and sped away breaking the tape in 43:16 to Githuka’s 43:21. Kamau was a few seconds back in 43:27 as fellow Kenyans Hezron Otwori (43:32) and Zack Kunyiha (43:36) rounded out the top five.
Belgian unknown Lieve Slegers bested the toughest women’s field ever as she won easily by two minutes in 48:28, the second fastest time ever. Georgian Lynn Doering outkicked the Ukraine’s Tatyana Podznyakova 50:37 to 50:46 for second as defending champion Delillah Asiago struggled a bit after a long tiring season with a 51:21, just a few seconds in front of fifth placer Lisa Rainsberger of Hutchinson, KS.
Greeley, CO. native Doug Bell (47:52), and Jane Hutchison (57:05) of Webb City, MO were crowned masters champions. Jan Mattern found the going a bit more competitive this year as Algerian native Mustafa Badid of Austin, TX took the wheelchair victory in 36:35 to Mattern’s 36:44. Ruth Nunez captured the women’s crown in 44:01. Wynston Alberts of Stillwater (45:07) and Julie Thomas (59:10) of Tulsa were the top Oklahomans.
The east African nation of Kenya is without a doubt the most storied birthplace of distance runners on the planet. From the Great Rift Valley most of them come, with names like Keino, Jipcho, Rono, and Ngugi.
From those legendary beginnings came most of the cast of the 17th Tulsa Run record setting field. Stephen Nyamu led a four-man assault on the course record as he removed 17 seconds from John Halvorsen’s 43:09 set back in 1989.
A field of approximately 8,000 (including the fun run) enjoyed temps in the 50’s and overcast skies as they swelled the streets of downtown Tulsa on the traditional last Saturday of October. Nyamu’s 42:52 was followed closely by fellow Kenyans Mbarek Hussein (42:55) and Godfrey Kiprotich (42:58), with ’92 champ Todd Williams running the race of his young career in 43:03. Ecuador’s Rolando Vera (43:22) was fifth. Rounding out the top eight were Kenyans Eliud Kibet, Stanley Kimutai, and Jonah Koech.
Tiny Kenyan Delillah Asiago made it a sweep for the African nation as she was well in control for most of the race in outdistancing ’93 winner Lynn Jennings 48:59 to 49:58. Laura Mykytok (50:25) from Hershey, Pa. garnered some third place money as Texan Jody Hawkins (50:30), and Inge Schuurmans (51:59) from Boulder, Co. were fourth and fifth.
Albertan native John Bermingham (47:14), and Houston’s Kathy Barton (57:12) were the masters champions. Jan Mattern made it three in a row in the wheelchair division (36:15), as there were no women’s entries. ORU-alum Don Belcourt (45:44) and Norman’s Andrea Bowman (53:19) were the top Oklahomans.
Winter came early to northeast Oklahoma once again as 3,800 hearty souls braved the blustery 20 degree weather for the 15k portion of the 16th Tulsa Run. Returning champion and crowd favorite Todd Williams was once again in a stellar field made up of the cream of the crop of the world’s best distance runners.
A large pack of ten to twelve ran together for most of the race before Williams, Ecuador’s Rolando Vera, Floridian Keith Brantly, Tulsan Mike Bilyeu, and a few others broke away after the 10k mark. With Williams pushing the pace up the Boulder hills, only Mark Coogan, Brantly, Vera, and Namibian Luketz Swartbooi remained. As they turned up Boston Avenue, it was Williams, Swartbooi, Vera, as the others dropped back a bit. Once again the 24-year old Williams had the momentum, but the unknown man from southeast Africa had just a little more as he swept by the Tennessean to win in 44:38 to Williams’ 44:43.
Vera was a few seconds back in 44:45, with Brantly (44:48), and Coogan (44:50) fourth and fifth. Mike Bilyeu finished a respectable seventh (45:02) as the highest finishing Tulsan in several years.
In the women’s race, All-American and World Cross-Country champion Lynn Jennings from Newmarket, N.H. had a bit of a challenge from New Mexican Carmen De Oliviera (50:08), and New Jersey’s Anne Marie Letko (50:13), as she put the finishing touches on a beautifully executed 49:48 performance. Polish native Olga Appell, living in Albuquerque, was fourth in 50:52, with South African Colleen DeReuck (51:42) in the fifth spot.
Tulsa Run veteran Paul Cummings (46:10) and Webb City, Mo’s Jane Hutchison (57:07) claimed the overall masters titles. In the wheelchair competition, returning champ Jan Mattern had a struggle with the cold in hammering out another title in 42:15, while Tulsa’s Kathy Coorpender returned to the winners’ circle with a 1:10:27. Tulsan Wesley Brown (47:05), and Stillwater’s Michelle Lewis (55:32) were the top Oklahomans.
Halloween dawned early with cool temps, overcast skies, and a light breeze as the Tulsa Run entered it’s fifteenth year. Approximately 4,000 runners nestled in along the slightly rolling hills that are Boulder Avenue as it meanders it’s way down to the majestic Arkansas River. Shannon Butler, Brad Barquist, Steve Kogo, ’91 winner Frank O’Mara, and ’91 runner-up Todd Williams made up the lead pack as it moved steadily out onto Riverside Drive, Williams once again breaking way for those trailing just behind.
By the time they reached 41st Street they were three, Butler and Kogo in front, with Williams slightly aback and riding their shoulders, ever the look of quiet confidence. As the three headed back north up Riverside, turning up Boulder at the 13k mark, Williams said "see-ya" to the other two, switched gears, and flew over the final hills, down 10th, and over to Boston for the final sprint to the finish. There was no one there to rob him of a victory this time as he came within a few seconds of the course record in 43:17. Kogo, holding off Butler, came through in 43:27 to Butler’s 43:29. Former Razorback Joe Falcon grabbed the fourth place spot with a 44:20, just ahead of Mark Coogan’s 44:29 for fifth.
Judi St. Hilaire of Fall River, Massachusetts, ran uncontested to the finish in the women’s division in 49:10, with 2nd place Gwyn Coogan almost a minute back in 50:03. OU All-American Monique Ecker ended up in third (50:51), while Californian Kathy Bowman (51:33) edged out Olympian Janis Klecker (51:44) for fifth.
Gary Romesser (46:51) of Indianapolis, and Jane Hutchison (58:08) were crowned masters champions. Texans Jan Mattern (33:44), and Patty Durkin (59:58) claimed the wheelchair titles as Mattern smashed the course record with an incredible solo ride. Jenks’ Ron Parks (46:47), and Monique Ecker were the top Oklahomans.
"It was so cold that year that"…….well ,it was cold. The first time the race was held on anything other than the last Saturday in October, a cold front blew in, a blue norther if you will. It seemed like the middle of January, but alas it was only the 2nd of November. University of Tennessee All-American and Michigan native Todd Williams, dressed only in his light nylon Adidas singlet and shorts and sporting an orange Tennessee stocking cap, emerged from a small pack after doing most of the leg work, fending off the brutal north winds, and began his final assault down Boston Avenue. This surely was his race to win, but unbeknownst to him, University of Arkansas alum and All-American Frank O’Mara, using his milers speed, overhauled the fading Williams in the final meters to eke out a three-second victory over the man from the volunteer state. O’Mara’s 43:44 clocking under 10 degree wind chill conditions was an amazing feat, as was Williams 43:47. Former Hog great Paul Donovan was not far behind in 43:55, with Kenyan Steve Kogo (44:16), and Harry Green (44:48) from Austin, Tx. giving chase, and with Reuben Reina (45:03) rounding out sixth place, the ex-Razorbacks had three in the top six.
Albuquerque’s Jill Hunter was crowned the women’s champion as she braved the elements for an amazing 49:09 clocking and a decisive victory over runnerup and returning champion Lesley Lehane (51:23). Diane Bussa rounded out the top three in 51:52.
In the Masters competition, Greeley, Colorado’s Doug Bell felt right at home as he clocked a 46:47 for the top honors, besting Gary Romesser of Indianapolis (47:02). Webb City, Mo’s Jane Hutchison captured her third Master’s crown in 56:48, outdueling Nancy Mieszczak of Buffalo, NY (57:09). John Anderson was the overall Wheelchair champ in 41:58. Top Oklahoman honors went to OU grad student Noel Berkeley in 45:15, with Jenk’s Ronnie Parks second in 47:19. OKC’s Jacque Struckhoff just narrowly won over Tulsa’s Susie Evans 55:33 to 55:36.
On a beautiful fall morning with temperatures in the low 50’s, a lone Mexican, who had arrived uninvited on an airplane just the evening before, made a decisive move on the Boulder hills with 2 km to go and drove all the way to the finish surprising race organizers as he breezed effortlessly through the tape. Leonardo Reyes’ 43:57 was good for a six second win and $5,000, as the fast closing trio of South African-born Mark Plaatjes (44:03) from Boulder, Co., Reyes’ training partner Graciano Gonzalez (44:04), and fellow Mexican Martin Mondragon (44:05) stayed within striking range. ’88 champ Jon Sinclair was another ten seconds back in 44:15.
Brookline, Massachusetts’ Lesley Lehane broke away from Chicagoan Patty Murray in the final mile as she posted an easy 16-second win in 50:07, also pocketing $5,000 for her efforts. Janis Klecker (51:17) of Minnetonka, Mn., Lisa Presedo (52:27) of Baton Rouge, La., and Cindi Girard (52:58) of Red Bank, N.J. captured the next three spots.
Frequent winner Jane Hutchison (56:08), and Carlos Martinez (48:07) of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, were the masters winners, as Jenks native Ron Parks (46:09), and OKC’s Jacque Struckhoff (56:14) were the top Oklahomans. Craig Blanchette of Eugene, Or. once again captured the wheelchair title in 36:24, a new record. Fourteen year-old Kelly Knight (1:09:33) of Midwest City, Ok. outdistanced defending champion Kathy Coorpender for the female title. A little over 9,000 runners participated in the 13th annual event.