Press Release
April 6, 2008

For Immediate Release

6 April 2008

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Frank McNally
Media Coordinator
703-801-2566 (cell); 703 572-4040 (d); 540-338-5648 (e)

Phil Stewart
Event Director

New Course, New Winners at 36th Annual Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

WASHINGTON, DC – It was his first visit to Washington, D.C. and his first time running in the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, but Ridouane Harroufi was more than prepared for the challenge of a new course that began and finished on the Washington Monument Grounds and passed many of the city’s top monuments.

With a powerful kick in the final 50 meters, Harroufi, a 26-year-old Moroccan who trains full time in Albuquerque, N.M., outlasted Kenyan Nicholas Manza Kamakya to finish the race in 46 minutes, 14 seconds. Kamakya, fourth at the Credit Union Cherry Blossom in 2007, was the runner-up at 46:15.

Meanwhile, another first-timer at the Credit Union Cherry Blossom, Kenya’s 20-year-old Lineth Chepkurui, broke open a competitive women’s race around Mile Seven. She broke away from a pack of six runners, held off a late charge by countrywomen Angelina Mutuku, and cruised to the win in a time of 54:21. That was 18 seconds better than Mutuku (54:39). 

Romanian Lidia Simon, third at the Credit Union Cherry Blossom in 2006, ran shoulder-to-shoulder with Chepkurui for much of the race before again placing third (54:41). Race favorite Catherine Ndereba, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist and four-time Boston Marathon winner from Kenya, earned fourth in 54:52.

Harroufi outlasted several Credit Union Cherry Blossom veterans, including Kamakya, John Yuda (46:22), a Tanzanian who tied for fourth with Kenyan Charles Munyeki, and three-time Cherry Blossom winner John Korir (46.30), who placed seventh.

“I run toward the finish and I think I win,” said Harroufi, who noted he was competing for his 11th-month-old son Ali. “I was behind after the first mile. But at the end I felt like I was in control of the race. I trained hard six months for this.”

The top American male and local finisher was Steven Crane (49:41), a Silver Spring resident who placed 13th. Among American women, Colleen De Reuck (57:17), the Credit Union Cherry Blossom winner in 1998, was the top finisher at 12th.

Runners competed for the largest purse in event history - $35,500 in prize money. The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run also serves as the Road Runner’s Club of America’s National 10 Mile Championship. The race will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic in a half-hour special at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 12th with rebroadcasts set for Tuesday, April 15th at 11:30 a.m., Thursday April 17th at 11:30 a.m. and Sunday April 27th at 5:30 p.m.

The title sponsoring Credit Union Miracle Day Committee is a partnership of over 70 Credit Unions and affiliated organizations, partners and event participants. More than $1 million was raised for the Children’s Miracle Network this year. Approximately $400,000 of that money will go to Washington, D.C.’s own Children’s Hospital. More than 600 Credit Union members served as volunteers and over 4,800 race entrants were Credit Union members. 

Supporting sponsors included Gatorade Endurance Formula, Saucony, Navy Federal Credit Union and Metro Run & Walk. The event is part of the Professional Road Running Association (PRRO) Circuit and the 2008 National Cherry Blossom Festival held from March 29th to April 13th. This year’s festival celebrates the 96th anniversary of the gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the citizens of the United States and Japan.

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