From our press release:
Rono Comes To Flushing Meadow Park: Nine years ago, Kenyan-born Henry Rono astounded the running community with his four world records, in the 3,000 meters, 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters and 3,000 meter steeplechase. Then, like many a runner - the great, the near-great and the run-of-the-mill - Rono lost his keen racing edge and withdrew from competitive running. Yet all these years later, his achievements are so stellar that he still retains his two 3,000 meter records!
For most runners, eventually the running urge returns and, like a magnet, pulls you - now older and wiser - back into its golden world. No different from the rest of us, after many ups and downs Rono is back - this time at the longer distances, where he hopes his youthful speed training will combine with mature endurance to give him a racing edge.
Rono is scheduled to compete in New York City's own great New York Road Runners Club Marathon this fall. He chose the July Sri Chinmoy Rainbow Marathon in Flushing Meadow Park to begin his comeback training. He'd be happy, he told the race director Tarak Kauff, to simply come in under 3 hours! True to his vision, Rono clocked in at 2:54:31 - good enough for a fourth place finish. Which means, as running columnist Eddie Coyle noted in the Daily News, that the first three finishers - Andy Ryszewski (2:32:51), Chris Gibson (2:48:57) and Jaime Palacio (2:54:13), "shared a personal accomplishment that will be tough for them to repeat. The trio finished ahead of a world recordholder!"
In the women's division, Helen Gordon of Yorktown Heights stole the title from frequent winner Dipali Cunningham - 3:32:52 to 3:47:17. Fourth place finisher Pragati Pascale (3:57:24) and 5th place Nirjhari DeLong (4:25:01) accomplished their magic just over a month after competing on the same course in the 700 mile division of the Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race. Quite an accomplishment when its remembered such a distance used to be considered worthy of a good half-year's racing rest!
Cunningham and Bob Coddington - 2nd place winner in the men's 50 and over division - take the honors as the only two award winners to have competed in each of the seven monthly marathons thus far held this year. As for the rest of the runners - just finishing the race was an achievement, as almost 1/3 the entrants bowed out due to the intense heat and humidity unrelieved by wind or cloud."