NEW YORK (11-May) -- Peres Jepchirchir, the only athlete in history to win the Boston, New York City and Olympic Marathons during a career, will run the Mastercard® New York Mini 10-K for the first time on Saturday, June 11, New York Road Runners announced today. The competition --the first-ever road race in the world for women, founded in 1972-- will celebrate it's 50th edition and 50th anniversary this year.
PHOTO: Peres Jepchirchir just after winning the 2021 TCS New York City Marathon (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)
"I have heard about the Mini and how it is a wonderful celebration of women and running," said Jepchirchir, 28, who will return to New York as both the reigning Boston and TCS New York City Marathon champion. "It is very important to me that I use my success to inspire young women and girls coming after me. It is very special to be able to return to New York City after my marathon victories in New York and Boston to be a part of the 50th anniversary of this race."
Jepchirchir hopes to add her name to one of the most impressive winner's lists in all of road running. Previous Mini champions include athletics legends like Norway's Grete Waitz (who won five times), Kenya's Tegla Loroupe (five wins) and Mary Keitany (three wins), the Netherlands's Lornah Kiplagat (four wins), and Britain's Paula Radcliffe and Liz McColgan.
Jepchirchir will face a very tough competitor in Ethiopia's Senbere Teferi, 27, the reigning United Airlines NYC Half champion and the World Athletics record holder for 5-K on the roads in an all-women's race (14:29). Teferi has already tasted victory in a New York 10-K, winning the now-discontinued UAE Healthy Kidney 10-K in 2019 in a course record 30:59.
"My first race in the United States was in New York City in 2019, and I broke the event record at the Healthy Kidney 10-K in Central Park," Teferi said. "Then, earlier this spring, I broke the event record at the United Airlines NYC Half, again crossing the finish line in Central Park. I cannot promise another record on June 11, but I am happy to return to Central Park for my first Mini 10-K, and look forward to be joined by thousands of my sisters-in-running."
Two-time Mini champion Sara Hall will lead the home country charge. Hall, 39, from Flagstaff, Ariz., won in 2019 when the race hosted the USATF Championships, then won again in 2021. In both races she prevailed in exciting sprint finishes, and in the 2021 event she ran 31:33, the fastest-ever Mini time by an American. She also ran the race in 2014 when she finished ninth.
"My three races at the Mini have all aligned with big important milestones in the history of the event: The first time hosting the USA Championships in 2019, the first big NYRR race coming out of the pandemic in 2021, and now the 50th anniversary in 2022," Hall said. "I'm very aware that many of the opportunities I've had as an athlete are because of the groundbreaking work of the women who came before me, and of my duty to inspire the young women who will follow me, including my daughters. I will do everything I can to honor all of them with another top finish on June 11."
The first edition of the Mini in 1972 had only 72 finishers, a far cry from the 8,886 women who finished in 2019, the last time the race was held at full capacity before the pandemic. In that first year the event was part race, part protest to call attention to the fact that women were capable of running at an elite level for long distances. For most of the 20th century, women were excluded from distance running events. The 10,000m for women was only added to the Olympic program in 1988 and the marathon wasn't included until 1984. Now in the United States women make up about half of road race finishers, much higher than in the rest of the world.
Jacki Dixon was the first Mini champion and won the race (which was six miles then) eight days before her 18th birthday. Now as Jacki Marsh, she is the mayor of Loveland, Colo., and she will attend this year's race along with one of the Mini's co-founders, Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as an official entrant. Switzer, 75, plans to run the race.
The Mini offers a $45,000 prize money purse with $10,000 going to the winner of the open division and $2,500 to the winner of the wheelchair division. The race still has entries available here: NYRR.org.