Rising star Lineth Chepkurui would have won Sunday’s ING Bay to Breakers no matter what — the 22-year-old phenom is just that good.
But the Kenyan did something even she didn’t expect in the footrace spanning along a wind-whipped, fog-swept San Francisco course spanning from downtown to Ocean Beach — shatter a world record.
Despite the typical urban wind tunnels that hold runners back just before the difficult Hayes Street Hill, Chepkurui bested the women’s world 12-kilometer record she set this year at Bloomsday in Spokane, Wash., finishing the 99th ING Bay to Breakers in 38 minutes, 7 seconds — far ahead of the pack.
Fellow Kenyan Emily Chebet, finished second in 38:42.
Chepkurui, who also won Bay to Breakers in 2008 and finished second last year, described her record-breaking effort in three words: “I’m so happy.”
She added that while the Hayes Street Hill — the highest point in the race, climbing 215 feet — was difficult, she was able to pass Chebet with the help of a lot of supportive — and plenty of zany — spectators.
“I had the morale from the cheering people all along the course,” Chepkurui said. “I did not feel that I was alone. I thank the residents of this area. Very friendly.”
Chepkurui won $25,000 for first place. Chebet won $5,000 for being the first up Hayes Street Hill.
Oakland resident Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, 36, was the first American to finish among the elite women. Her time was 41:40. She said her legs have not quite recovered yet from the Rotterdam Marathon last month, where she finished second in 2:26. The effort made the 2008 Olympian the fourth-fastest American woman of all time in the marathon.
“It was pretty rough today for me,” said Lewy-Boulet, adding that her goal this year is to break a 2:26 marathon. Lineth is just an amazing competitor.”
Runner, country/city, time
1. Lineth Chepkurui, Kenya, 38:07
2. Emily Chebet, Kenya, 38:41
3. Mamitu Daska, Ethiopia, 39:34
4. Jelliah Tinega, Kenya, 40:14
5. Caroline Rotich, Kenya, 40:37
6. Jane Kibii, Kenya, 41:05
7. Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, Oakland, 41:39
8. Kate O’Neill, Palo Alto, 41:52
9. Annie Bersagel, Stanford, 41:57
10. Clara Horowitz-Peterson, San Anselmo, 42:16