There is sure to be some fast running at the World's Best 10-K in San Juan, P.R., on Sunday, March 1, as organizers have signed both three-time IAAF world road running champion Lornah Kiplagat and Olympic bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan to this year's race.
Kiplagat and Flanagan are both represented by their husbands, Pieter Langerhorst and Steve Edwards, respectively, and each man has confirmed their wife's participation in the race. Held on an out-and-back course on the Teodoro Mosco Bridge, the race is the home of the women's world record of 30:21 (30:20.7) set by Paula Radcliffe in 2003.
Dutchwoman Kiplagat, 34, has won the race six times including the last five times in a row. Her best time there was 30:41 (30:40.6), recorded in 2004. She has a road running 10 km personal best of 30:32 set at the slightly aided (but nearly always hot and humid) Peachtree Road Race in 2002. On the track, she holds the Dutch 10,000m record of 30:12.53.
For the American Flanagan, 27, it will be her first-ever 10 km road race, and could provide an excellent opportunity for her to break Lynn Jennings's nearly 19 year-old U.S. 10-K road record of 31:06 set at the old Red Lobster 10-K in Orlando, Fla., on March 3, 1990. Flanagan is already the U.S. 10,000m record holder, a mark she lowered twice last year, including her superb 30:22.22 in the Beijing Olympic final where she finished third. Flanagan also holds the American record for 5000m: 14:44.80.
Under race director Rafael Acosta, the World's Best 10-K has remained one of the richest road races in North America since the first edition in 1998. Male and female race winners earn USD 20,000 in prize money, and all men sub-28:00 and women sub-31:00 receive a USD 10,000 bonus. Moreover, there is a USD 100,000 bonus for a new world record.
Before racing in Puerto Rico, Flanagan, who is training now in Mexico, will run a 5000m indoor race at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games on Feb. 7. It is widely expected that she will go after Marla Runyan's U.S. indoor record of 15:07.33 set at the Armory track in New York City in 2001.