April 12, 2019, Washington, DC: Organizers of the 2019 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile, run last Sunday, April 7 in our Nation’s Capital, announced today that a semi-circle of cones on the revised course marking the turn-around point on Ohio Drive on an out-and-back segment between miles three and four had been misplaced. The net effect of that was to shorten the 10-mile course by 240 feet, negating the apparent American record time run of 46:00 run by Stanley Kebenei.
Despite the shortened route taken by the runners, race organizers will go ahead and pay Kebenei the $10,000 record bonus for posting a time faster than Greg Meyer’s American record of 46:13, set here in 1983. The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run also pays $1,000 and $750 each year to the first two men and women who run times better than 46:00 and 52:00 minutes, respectively. Race winners Jemal Yimer (45:36) and Rosemary Wanjiru, (50:42) and second place finishers Josphat Tanui (45:38) and Gotytom Gebreslase (50:47) will be paid those time bonuses; their times were well under the established time bonus benchmarks.
Event Director Phil Stewart said, “The organizers profoundly regret this unfortunate error in an event which for 47 years has prided itself on organizational excellence and support for elite athletes as well as the masses of runners who follow them. We have taken every step possible to make our bonus winners whole again. Clearly this is not the ending we wanted to an outstanding weekend with perfect running conditions, nearly $100,000 in prize money and bonuses paid out, and $400,000 raised for Children’s Miracle Network.”
Due to road construction, the course for this year’s race had to be adjusted just a few weeks before the date of the event. The revised course was then measured and certified in accordance with international course measurement standards, and record times would have been valid if the course was run as measured. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Later analysis showed that the turn-around on Ohio Drive in West Potomac Park had been misplaced on race morning. Sadly, an application for recognition of Kebenei’s effort being an American record will not be submitted to USATF. Rosemary Wanjiru also ran an apparent record – fastest U.S. all-comers time in a women’s only race – which will also go unrecognized, even though she finished one minute and two seconds faster than the time of 51:44, set here in 2007 by Tebya Erkesso. Race organizers do not offer a bonus for U.S. all-comers records.* Wanjuri’s time will not be considered as an event record either, leaving intact Colleen de Reuck’s women’s event record of 51:16.
As they did in 2015 when a traffic accident necessitated re-routing the race route at the last minute, which resulted in runners running a shorter course, race organizers will adjust all runners’ pace per mile in official race results to reflect the fact that they only ran 9.96 miles this year. There were 17,656 finishers in this year’s 10 mile.
*All-comers records are defined as the fastest time run by an individual of any nationality on U.S. soil.