Hillary Bor Will Face a Host of Talented International Runners; Sarah Chelangat Looks to Repeat as Female Champion

April 3, 2024, Washington, DC: Organizers of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile (CUCB) announced today news about this year’s invited elite field. Today’s announcement features notable American runners competing against fierce International competitors and past champions that will toe the respective men’s and women’s starting lines on Sunday, April 7. (The elite women will start first at 7:18 am, followed by the men and the masses at 7:30 am.)

The Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile will serve as the U.S. National 10 Mile Championships for the second year in a row, drawing top American talent such as Hillary Bor, who set the men’s American 10 Mile record at last year’s race in 46:11 while finishing in second place. Bor is primed and seems ready to break his record and 46 minutes, a feat he felt close to accomplishing last year if not for the merciless headwinds in miles 8 and 9.

Bor is joined by Americans Teshome Mekonen and Biya Simbassa, who placed third in 2023, as well as a trio of Kenyans who are set to challenge the Americans: Wesley Kiptoo, Shadrack Kimining and Raymond Magut. Kiptoo enters the race with the most impressive resume this year, placing second in Houston’s Aramco Half Marathon in January with a time of 1:00:43. In 2023, Kiptoo won the Falmouth Road Race 7 Mile in a course record 31:08, won the Pittsburgh Half Marathon for the second straight year in 1:01:21 where he holds the event record, and ran 2:10:28 in his debut marathon in Chicago. Kimining is one of only 16 runners who have run under 45:50 in the 50-year history of the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile, when he placed third in 2022 with a time of 45:48. Last October, Kimining took second in the Cardiff (Wales) Half Marathon in 1:00:48, and seventh in the Antrim Coast (UK) Half Marathon in 1:01:20 in August. The third Kenyan, Magut, set a torrid course record of 45:14 in Philadelphia’s Broad Street Run 10 Mile in May of 2023, and has a half marathon best of 1:00:16 at the Berlin Half Marathon in 2021.

Already this year, in addition to placing second in the U.S. 15K Championships, Bor placed fourth in the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon with a Personal Best of 1:01:47. Bor might get some help this year in his sub-46 quest from a fellow American, such as Mekonen and Simbassa. Mekonen outkicked Bor in the U.S. 15K Championships on March 2 in Jacksonville’s Gate River Run, winning by three seconds, 42:51 to 42:54. Mekonen’s best result in 2023 was in the Bolder Boulder 10K, placing 3rd in 29:23 at altitude while beating Kenyan Wesley Kiptoo by eight seconds. Simbassa was U.S. 10 Mile champion at the Credit Union Cherry Blossom in 2021, and his 46:18 remains the fourth-fastest time ever for an American man in the race. Simbassa trailed Bor by 35 seconds in the 15K Championships, 43:29 to 42:54, and in January placed fourth in the Houston Half Marathon in 1:00:45.

Last year’s female CUCB champion Sarah Chelangat from Uganda looks to defend her title. Chelangat has already run 10Ks in 30:24 and 30:26 this year in Spain and in 2023 ran half marathons in 1:07:59 in Copenhagen and 1:08:04 in Hong Kong. Chelangat’s top international competition will come from Ethiopian Tegest Ayalew, who finished third in Spain’s Santa Pola Half Marathon in 1:09:17 this year and who last year ran half marathons in 1:08:06 in Warsaw, Poland and 1:09:43 in Gqeberha, South Africa. Another Ugandan, Esther Chebet, could challenge up front, having run 31:40 in France’s Route de Lille 10K this year. Kenyans Kasanesh Baze, with a 1:08:40 half marathon in Ghent, Belgium last year, and Sarah Naibei, winner of Philadelphia’s Broad Street Run 10 Mile in 2022 with a time of 52:04, may also place high.

With top American Keira D’Amato a late scratch due to lost training time, Rachel Smith is one of the favorites to win the U.S. National 10 Mile Championships for the females. Smith comes in as a track standout with a 4:02.26 best at 1500m, 4:20.91 at 1 mile, 8:46.44 at 3000m, 14:52.04 at 5000m and 31:04.02 at 10,000m. She clocked a 48:26 in the 15K Championships on March 2. Smith is currently rebuilding her career after giving birth a year ago, finishing second in the 2023 U.S. 5K Championships in New York in 15:26, winning $8,000.

“The U.S. Olympic Trials set the stage for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom to welcome top American runners ready to compete for the USATF 10 Mile Championships,” expressed Event Director Phil Stewart. “Combine that dynamic with times being run by the International field and the stage is set for an exciting and close competition.”

This year, international elite runners will be competing for $32,000 in prize money. The prize purse for Americans totals $42,600, and American runners placing in the top-10 overall are eligible to receive both open and American-only prize money. In addition, there is a separate $3,000 prize purse for Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) RunPro Campers, who may also collect top-10 open and/or top-10 American payouts. The 10 Mile will also serve as a stop on the 2023-2024 Professional Road Running Organization (PRRO) Circuit.

There are also time incentives of $1,000 for the 1st male to run sub-46 minutes and 1st female to run sub-52 minutes, with an additional $750 on offer should a second male and/or female achieve those same sub-46 and sub-52 minute milestones.

The fastest times in the men’s field are in the 46-minute range, with American Sam Chelanga holding a personal best of 45:14 and Kenyan Shadrack Kimining a 45:58 respectfully. For the women, Sarah Chelangat will look to improve on her time of 52:04.

The inaugural Cherry Blossom 10 Mile in 1973 was won by Sam Bair in a time of 51:22; the women’s winner was Kathrine Switzer in a time of 1:11:19; 127 men and 12 women ran that first race. Bill Rodgers holds the honor of most victories, with four consecutive wins between 1978 and 1981. Three women have each won the race three times: Julie Shea (1975-77), Lisa Weidenbach (1985, ’89 and ’90) and Lineth Chepkurui (2008-10). Ben Beach leads all Cherry Blossom finishers with an active streak of 50 years. A comprehensive media guide detailing a wide variety of statistics from the first 50 CUCB races will be available at www.cherryblossom.org.

The elite runners will be joined by over 16,000 other participants for the “Runner’s Rite of Spring” in a special year of celebrating the Life of Stumpy. The National Park Service announced a necessary three-year, $113 million rehabilitation of the tidal basin seawall in March to help with flooding. Unfortunately, this will cause the removal of Stumpy and 139 other cherry blossom trees. Though Stumpy would not survive being replanted, there are plans to have some of Stumpy’s clippings be planted once the work is completed. This makes the 2024 Credit Union Cherry Blossom the perfect year to commemorate Stumpy, as the tree will be featured on the participant shirts and finisher medals and even debut as the event’s new official mascot, allowing Stumpy to live on forever.

The Credit Union Cherry Blossom 5K presented by Asics returns to Freedom Plaza on Saturday, April 6 at 9:15 a.m. Of the over 7,000 runners, 2,400 of them are Double Blossom participants, who will complete the 3.1 mile distance on Saturday and the 10 Mile on Sunday. Following the 5K on Saturday is the Kids Run Half Mile presented by Warner Bros. Discovery, which will begin at 11:00 a.m.

Another new development for the 10 Mile participants this year is the opening of Metrorail two hours early, with normal service on all lines beginning at 5 a.m. on Sunday, April 7. Metro’s standard 7:00 a.m. opening on Saturday, April 6 will make it a transportation option for participants in the 5K.

Thanks to Credit Union Miracle Day’s title sponsorship since 2002, the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run has raised over $11 million for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, including $450,000 in 2023. The 2024 fundraising total will be announced at a special check presentation moments before the start of the 10 Mile.

2024 Event Timetable

March 20 — April 14, 2024

Anytime, everywhere: Credit Union Cherry Blossom Virtual Run.

Registration closes April 7, see www.cherryblossom.org for details.

Friday, April 5

National Building Museum

2:00 P.M. — 8:00 P.M.

Health and Fitness Expo presented by Wegmans

(Packet pickup for 10 Mile, 5K and Kids’ Run closes at 7:45 P.M.)

Saturday, April 6

Freedom Plaza – 5K

7:00 A.M. — 8:45 A.M.

5K race bib and t-shirt pickup

9:00 A.M. — 9:15 A.M.

Opening Ceremonies for Credit Union Cherry Blossom 5K presented by Asics

9:15 A.M. — 10:30 A.M.

5K Mass Start

5K course closes at 10:30 A.M.

10:15 A.M.

5K Awards Ceremony

Freedom Plaza – Kids Run

9:30 A.M. – 10:45 A.M.

Kids Run bib and t-shirt pickup

11:00 A.M. — 12:00 P.M.

Credit Union Cherry Blossom Kids Run presented by Warner Brothers Discovery

Saturday, April 6

National Building Museum

9:00 A.M. — 5:00 P.M.

Health and Fitness Expo presented by Wegmans

(Packet pickup for 10 Mile closes at 4:45 P.M.)

11:00 A.M. — 3:30 P.M.

Speakers Program in National Building Museum Auditorium. Click here for schedule.

Sunday, April 7

Washington Monument Grounds

5:00 A.M.

Metro opens for travel to the race

7:00 A.M.

Deadline for check in at media tent for anyone seeking press truck access — first come, first served

7:13 A.M.

Presentation of the colors by the Navy Ceremonial Guard and singing of the National Anthem by Choral Arts Society of Washington

7:18 A.M.

Advance start for elite and seeded women

7:20 A.M.

Credit Union Miracle Day check presentation at start line

7:28 A.M.

Wheelchair and Duo Racers start

7:30 A.M.

10 Mile start for elite international and U.S. men as well as the first of six mass start waves, five more of which will depart every 3-4 minutes thereafter

7:55 A.M.

Final wave of 10 Mile starts

8:00 A.M.

Starting line closed; no late starters allowed

8:09 A.M.

Expected arrival time of female winner

8:15 A.M.

Expected arrival time of male winner

10:15 A.M.

Formal awards ceremony begins (age group and team awards are not given out on race day)

8:00 P.M.

Results posted at www.cherryblossom.org

Sunday, April 7

11:59 P.M.

Online registration closes for Credit Union Cherry Blossom Virtual Run; results will be accepted through April 14.

About Credit Union Cherry Blossom:

The Credit Union Cherry Blossom, organized by Cherry Blossom, Inc., a 501(c)(3) chapter of the Road Runners Club of America, is known as “The Runner’s Rite of Spring®” in the Nation’s Capital. The staging area for the 10 Mile is on the Washington Monument Grounds and the course passes in sight of all of the major Washington, D.C. Memorials. The 5K begins at Freedom Plaza and proceeds down Pennsylvania Ave. to the U.S. Capitol building, tracing the route of Presidential Inaugurations. The event serves as a fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a consortium of 170 premier children’s hospitals across North America. About one-third of the funds raised support Washington, D.C.’s own Children’s National (“Children’s Hospital”). The event also funds the Road Runners Club of America’s “RunPro Camp,” a program to teach top recently-graduated U.S. collegiate distance runners about life as a professional runner.




Credit Union Miracle Day, Inc., a consortium of credit unions and credit union suppliers, is the title sponsor of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile, 5K and Kids Run. Presenting sponsors include ASICS, BellSant, REI, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Wegmans; supporting sponsors include PSCU|CO-OP Solutions, TruStage, Outside, Potomac River Running, Gatorade Endurance, Suburban Solutions Moving, United Lifestyle Brands and The Westin Washington DC Downtown hotel

The 10 Mile is sanctioned by USA Track & Field and the Road Runners Club of America and is a proud member of the PRRO Circuit, a series of this country’s classic road races with circuit stops in Washington, D.C.; Spokane, WA; Utica, NY; and Davenport, IA. The 5K was voted the Best 5K in the country by a 2023 USA Today poll.

To learn more, visit https://www.cherryblossom.org/.