For Immediate Release

3 March 2011

CONTACTS: (Please do not publish these numbers. THE NUMBER FOR PUBLICATION IS THE RACE HOTLINE AT 301-320-3350):

Frank McNally
Media Coordinator
703-801-2566 (cell)

Phil Stewart
Event Director


Defending Champions to Return to Credit Union Blossom Ten Mile

Kaiser Permanente Becomes Presenting Sponsor of the
5K Run-Walk

WASHINGTON – Three-time defending champion Lineth Chepkurui will attempt to become the most dominant female performer of all time as she looks to capture her fourth straight title at the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile to be held in Washington, DC on April 3. Last year, the Kenyan runner matched Julie Shea’s three consecutive titles set in 1975-1977 as she trounced the field with a time of 51:51, the third fastest women’s winning time ever run at the event. Chepkurui keeps getting faster with every win – having clocked 54:21 in 2008, 53:32 in 2009 and the sterling 51:51 last year. With a win, she would match Bill Rodgers’ feat of four consecutive titles.

On the men’s side, Kenyan Stephen Tum etched his name into the winner’s circle by the narrowest of margins – his razor thin victory in the men’s race had to be reviewed by a panel of judges before he was declared the winner. Tum’s electrifying duel with Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa produced the second fastest men’s time ever of 45:43, just five seconds off Kenyan Ismael Kirui’s longstanding event record of 45:38 set back in 1995. Desisa will be returning as well to attempt to turn the table on last year’s result.

Organizers are expecting additional commitments from many of the world’s finest road racers in the next several weeks for what is the Washington, DC area’s only world-class running event. This year’s event offers over $42,000 in prize money, the largest purse in the event’s history. The top 2 men finishing under 46:00 and top 2 women finishing under 52:00 will receive an additional $750 time bonus. In addition, the event will support American runners by offering bonuses of $1,000, $500 and $250 to the top three American men and women who place among the top 15 finishers overall as well as making a $10,000 donation to the Road Runners Club of America’s "Road Scholars" program, which provides much-needed support for up-and-coming American distance running talent. Showing its commitment to keeping the sport drug free, the event pays for drug testing of the elite athletes under the auspices of the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

Behind the elite athletes will come a colorful spectacle of 15,000 additional starters in what is known as "The Runner’s Rite of Spring®" in the Nation’s Capital. The race starts and finishes on the Washington Monument Grounds and passes by the fabled Japanese cherry trees surrounding the Tidal Basin and in East Potomac Park.

Kaiser Permanente of the Middle Atlantic Region has joined the event as the presenting sponsor of the 5K Run-Walk and as a supporting sponsor of the entire event. "Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States is proud to sponsor the 2011 Cherry Blossom 5K Run-Walk," . We are invested in the total health of our communities, and serving as a partner in this year’s 5K Run-Walk is a natural fit for us. We are committed to promoting physical exercise and active living to help our communities live well, be well, and thrive." said Marilyn Kawamura, president, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States.

Kaiser Permanente believes that when you stay active and exercise, you burn more calories, even when you’re at rest. Being physically fit helps you engage in more physical activity, and improves your heart, lungs, bones, and joints. We believe exercising lowers your risk for heart attack, diabetes, and high blood pressure. It is also well-known that physically active people sleep better and handle stress better.

The sponsoring Credit Unions hope to reach $5 million dollars raised for the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) since becoming the title sponsor in 2002. CMN is a national consortium of 170 children’s hospitals across the U.S. Funds raised in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area go to the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. Funds raised from outside the Metropolitan area go to CMN affiliates in the home states of the participating Credit Unions.

Entries to the race closed out in December, when over 28,000 people applied in a lottery for the 15,000 race day slots. With a large number of runners and spectators expected, Metro will begin its Sunday operations two hours early—at 5 a.m. on race day. The Smithsonian Metro stop (Orange and Blue lines) is conveniently located only ¼ mile from the start and finish lines.

The course crosses Memorial Bridge in the first two miles, continues on an out-and-back stretch on Rock Creek Parkway to just past the Kennedy Center, loops the Tidal Basin and circles Hains Point between miles 6 and 9. The entire course is within 2.2 miles of the start-finish line, making it a particularly spectator-friendly layout. In addition to the 10-mile run, there will be a 5K Run-Walk (also closed) and a 1K Kids Run. Spectators are invited to see all the action starting with the elite women’s start at 7:30 A.M. and the 10-mile mass wave start at 7:40 A.M.

Other sponsors include the New Balance, the official footwear and apparel sponsor and sponsor of the Virtual Training Program; Gatorade, the official sports beverage; Navy Federal Credit Union, sponsor of the water bottles; Enviroride, the official green transportation provider; and Potomac River Running, the official retail partner.

The event is part of the Professional Road Running Organization Circuit and the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is Washington, DC’s and the nation’s greatest springtime celebration. The 2011 Festival, March 26 – April 10, includes three spectacular weekends and daily events featuring diverse and creative programming promoting traditional and contemporary arts and culture, natural beauty, and community spirit. The 2011 Festival commemorates the 99th anniversary of the gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the United States and Japan.

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