Elite Kenyan to compete in Bay to Breakers 

Running royalty has been added to this year’s Bay to Breakers.

Catherine Ndereba — known in racing circles as "Catherine the Great" — has signed on to compete in San Francisco’s unique 12-kilometer event, to be held May 20 at 8 a.m. The 34-year-old Kenyan is the only four-time women’s winner in the history of the Boston Marathon and was the silver medalist in the marathon at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

"This race has been going on for 96 years and I’m very confident that she’s the best athlete — male or female — we’ve ever had at the event," said Josh Muxen, the elite athlete coordinator for the ING Bay to Breakers. "We’re really excited."

Muxen said the fun feel of the race and a potentially large purse combine to make the event attractive to many of the world’s top runners. The women start the race 4 minutes, 40 seconds ahead of the men and the first runner to cross the finish line pockets $25,000. In addition, both the men’s and women’s champions take home $7,000, the first from each group up the Hayes Street hill earns $5,000 and anyone who sets a course record is rewarded with $3,000. The course record is 33 minutes, 42 seconds, set by Kenya’s Ismael Kirui in 1993. The women’s record of 38 minutes, 22 seconds was set in 2005 by Morocco’s Asmae Leghzaoui.

Ndereba could be the odds-on favorite to take home the big prize. She set the women’s marathon world record in 2001, when she won the Chicago Marathon in a time of 2 hours, 18 minutes, 47 seconds. That remains the second fastest marathon time ever run by a woman.

Muxen also confirmed that Kenyan Gilbert Okari, last year’s overall champion, will be back to defend his title. Defending women’s winner Tetyana Hladyr of the Ukraine will be unable to participate due to other commitments.


WHEN: May 20, 8 a.m.

COURSE: 12 kilometers, starting at the Embarcadero and finishing in Golden Gate Park near Ocean Beach

DEFENDING CHAMPS: Men — Gilbert Okari;Women — Tetyana Hladyr

REGISTRATION: www.ingbaytobreakers.com; Last day to register online is May 17


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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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