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NEW YORK (08-Jun) — Like the conductor of a world class symphony, Senbere Teferi of Ethiopia controlled today’s 52nd edition of the Mastercard New York Mini 10K simply by swinging her arms.  The 29 year-old Olympian, who represents adidas, pushed to the lead early, stayed at the front through all of Central Park’s ups and downs, then flattened the competition by running a 4:32 sixth mile to put the race away.  With the finish line bathed in sunshine, she clocked 30:47 to win her third consecutive Mini title and vowed to come back to try to win again next year.

“God willing, I would love to come back,” the smiling Teferi told Race Results Weekly through a translator.  “It’s a great race, the organizers are great, and the fans are great.  So, I would love to always be able to come back.”

Two Kenyan women, Sharon Lokedi (Under Armour) and Sheila Chepkirui (adidas), kept today’s race honest.  Both women ran close behind Teferi through the halfway point (15:38), and were right on her heels through the four-mile mark (20:01).  Lokedi, the 2022 TCS New York City Marathon champion, was determined to keep up the pressure on her Ethiopian rival.

“I knew this was like 2022 back again,” said Lokedi, referring to the 50th edition of this race where she finished second to Teferi.  “I felt so strong, but I just didn’t have the speed in me.  So, I just wanted to fight as much as I can and stay there as long as I could.”

As the race crossed over from the east to the west side of the Central Park during the fifth mile, Teferi picked up her pace slightly.  That was enough for Chepkirui to fall back and she had to settle for third in 31:09.  Lokedi held on as long as she could, but with the clock showing 26 minutes and 27 seconds Teferi put in a powerful surge.  In just a few strides, Lokedi was dropped.

“We went up that hill and all of a sudden she took off, and I just couldn’t cover it,” lamented Lokedi, who finished second in 31:04.

Teferi wasn’t looking at her watch.  Running on feel and using her experience with the course, she knew Lokedi was a strong athlete and only a truly savage move would assure victory.

“I could sense from the way she was breathing that she was falling back,” Teferi said of Lokedi.  “At that point I just kicked.”

A little farther back, American Amanda Vestri (ZAP Endurance) was having the race of her life.  The 24 year-old, who ran a personal best 31:10.53 for 10,000m exactly three weeks ago in London, used the trio of Africans to gauge her pace right from the start.  Through 5 km she was only two seconds behind them, and about four seconds back at 4 miles.  She faced a critical decision.

“Not like I was getting nervous, but there are a lot of Americans still here right now,” Vestri said, describing the situation before halfway when Jessica McClain (Brooks), Dakotah Lindwurm (Puma/Minnesota Distance Elite), and Emily Durgin (adidas) were still near the front.  She continued: “My goal was to be top American in the race, so there was a moment in time when it was either stay back with the chunk of the Americans or go ahead with the faster women at the front.”

Vestri ended up running the second half alone, but she was ready for that.  She finished fourth in a personal best 31:17, comfortably ahead of McClain in fifth (31:22) and Durgin in sixth (31:49).  Vestri clocked the fourth-fastest Mini ever by an American, although times are not completely comparable because the race has used several courses,

“It was like at 16 minutes when I was like, geez Amanda, you either have to pay the price and go with them and suffer a little bit… or stay back, stay comfortable and see what happens, I guess,” Vestri continued.  “Honestly, I’d rather rely on me suffering than me kicking at the end of the race.  So, I decided to suffer.”

While Teferi earned the largest check ($10,000 for the win), Vestri also had a good day for her bank account.  She earned $2,500 for fourth place plus another $5,000 for being the top American.

For the two Americans who will run the 2024 Olympic Marathon who raced here today, Lindwurm and Emily Sisson (New Balance), their results were solid.  Lindwurm, who was running just her first Mini, finished eighth in 31:58, a personal best.  Sisson, who was running her third Mini, finished ninth in 32:08.  Lindwurm loved her race experience.

“Oh my gosh, it was like nothing else,” said Lindwurm.  “It was a fun race.  I PR’d in the 5K (15:45) in the middle of a 10K.  I’ll be back for sure; this was electric.”

While official results were not available as of this writing, the race likely had a record number of finishers.  The previous record was 8,885 from 2019, but with over 12,500 entries this year the record was likely broken.

PHOTO: Senbere Teferi of Ethiopia wins her third consecutive Mastercard Mini 10K in 30:47; the tapeholder is 2024 USA Olympic Trials Women’s Marathon champion Fiona O’Keeffe (Photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)