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Posted: June 12, 2021:  

(RRW) Athletics: Elite Road Running Returns To New York Saturday at Mini 10-K

From David Monti, @d9monti
© 2021 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved.

NEW YORK (11-Jun) -- Elite road running returns to New York City after a 19-month hiatus on Saturday with the 49th running of the Mastercard New York Mini 10-K in Central Park, the world's oldest and most prestigious road race for women, founded in 1972. A field of about 3,000 runners will follow professional athletes in both the wheelchair and runner divisions on a new, counterclockwise course from the Loeb Boathouse to the 72nd Street Transverse on the park's west side. Mastercard is the title sponsor for the first time.

PHOTO: Sara Hall wins the 2019 New York Mini 10-K and the USATF 10-K road running title (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

"We are thrilled to be bringing back the Mastercard New York Mini 10-K and our professional athletes for a race that has inspired and empowered women in the running community and beyond for nearly 50 years," said Kerin Hempel the interim CEO of New York Road Runners, the race founders and organizers. "NYRR will ensure a smooth and safe experience for all involved in the event through the health and safety guidelines we have developed with the City of New York and medical experts."

Indeed, a new course was required because of rules set by the city during the pandemic. Traditionally, the start has been on Central Park West just north of Columbus Circle, and the athletes would run north on Central Park West then clockwise around the park after entering at 90th Street. That's not possible this year.

"To adhere to city guidelines of not permitting street events due to COVID-19 at the time of approval for the Mastercard New York Mini 10K, the course for this year's race was modified to stay within the confines of Central Park," said Trina Singian, NYRR's public relations chief.

There are 33 athletes in the professional field representing six nations, including five wheelchair racers. The top two entrants in the runners' division, Sara Hall of Flagstaff, Ariz., and Molly Huddle of Providence, R.I., are both former Mini champions. Hall won the 2019 edition, the last time the race was contested when the race was designated as the USATF Championships. Huddle won in 2014. Susannah Scaroni leads the wheelchair division where she is the two-time defending champion and event record holder (22:22). In all, the field has seven Olympians and two Paralympians, including Molly Seidel of Flagstaff, Ariz., who will run the Olympic Marathon in Sapporo in August. She'll be making her Mini debut.

"Although it's my first time running the Mini, I'm well-aware of the race's significance as the first-ever road race just for women," Seidel said through a statement. "I'm excited that this is another step forward in returning to mass-participation and elite running, especially in a place as important to road racing as New York City. Personally, this race is a great opportunity to come down from the mountains of Flagstaff, Ariz., and test my legs as I prepare for the Olympic Games marathon in August."

There is one other Mini champion in the field, two-time world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat. Kiplagat, 41, who won the race back in 2012, was also the 2010 New York City Marathon champion. She's a Mini veteran.

"I am excited to return to the Mini 10-K for the fifth time," Kiplagat said through a statement. "It is a special feeling to stand on that starting line and feel the support of not only the women running with you, but all of the women who came before you. It is a very special race and Iím happy to be going back to New York City."

Two-time Olympic marathoner Des Linden, who was announced for the race last month, has scratched, organizers confirmed.

Prize money is down from the 2019 edition when a special $75,000 purse was created for the USA Championships ($20,000 for the winner). Instead, the winning runner tomorrow will receive $7,500 ($5,500 for second, $3,000 for third, $,1500 for fourth, and $1,000 for fifth. The top-3 wheelchair racers will receive $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000, respectively.

IMAGE: The final elite field for the 2021 Mastercard New York Mini 10-K (courtesy of New York Road Runners)

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