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Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Norristown Sweep!

It was a great day today for the Kenyans who train in Norristown, PA under the management of Lisa Buster of Promotion in Motion Ltd International as they swept the top three places in the women's race and the 2nd place in the men's race at the ING Philadelphia Distance Run. Catherine won the race for her 7th time (the first since 2002) with a time of 1:09:43 and she was in great form. Close behind her was Irene Limika in 2nd place right on Catherine's heels at 1:09:46. Coming in thrid was Nerriah Asiba at 1:10:26 who also ran strong. (Both Irene and Nerriah had personal bests) On the men's side, American Ryan Hall took 1st place (1:01:52) with Catherine's brother, Samuel Ndereba right behind placing 2nd (1:01:56). Lisa had 5 runners entered in the race today and 4 of them were on the podium; Caroline Chepkorir was 11th on the women's side.
The weather could not have been ordered to be more perfect; it started off a bit cool but the sun was warm and there was no wind. It was an amazing day to be outside and this race throughout Philadelphia is a gorgeous course. It starts on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway near the Philadelphia Art Museum (where Rocky ran up the steps). They even had a Rocky impersonator out today who was a lot of fun! The course then winds around some city streets before returning to the Parkway and heading down the West River Drive which runs along the Schuylkill River, then across a bridge and back down Kelly drive on the other side of the river and ends up back in front of the art museum again. I rode in the back of the ladies press truck again this year (which consisted of a pick up truck with 4 pop up camping-type chairs in the bed); it was fun and I was able to get some footage of Catherine and the others. It was a bit of a challenge however because there were two men who were running with the lead pack of women and they kept blocking my shots! I was very happy when the women finally moved past them! For most of the second half of the race it was Irene and Catherine jockeying for first. The press truck took off at about mile 10 so we could make it to the finish line before the runners so I did not get to see how the end played out until the finish but since the times were so close I can picture how it went. Catherine is just too hard to beat in a kick at the end and she finally made her move, although I'm not sure at what point that actually was! It was very exciting to watch though!

The awards ceremony was nice and the trophies this year were especially nice with the Liberty Bell prominent
Each of the winners received a beautiful lei made from fresh flowers and as is usual for Catherine, before she boarded the bus back to the hotel she walked over to a little girl sitting on the curb watching the race with her family, bent down and placed the flowers around the little girl's neck. It always warms my heart how much she is drawn towards children!

L to R: Catherine Ndereba, Ryan Hall & Samuel Ndereba

Catherine Ndereba (r) and manager Lisa Buster (l)

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