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Lewy Boulet Wins Falmouth

Maggie Lewy Boulet

Maggie Lewy Boulet

FALMOUTH, Mass. – (August 14, 2011) – For some time now, it has been a rare occurrence for an American runner to win a prestigious U.S. road race.

The last American woman to win here was Jen Rhines in 2003 and the last American man to cop top prize was Mark Curp way back in 1988.

This fact has not been lost on new title sponsor New Balance, which has been bolstering emerging U.S. elite distance runners for the past several years.

It paid off here today, as New Balance pumped nearly $45,000 of new prize money – for Americans only – into the 39th running of the legendary Falmouth Road Race.

And Magdalena Lewy Boulet, a 2008 Olympian in the marathon, sprinted away with a $20,000 paycheck, a significant amount for a non-marathon event. She earned $10,000 for the overall victory and another $10,000 for top U.S. woman.

As well, rising U.S. star Brian Olinger, a veteran steeplechaser looking to focus on the roads now, grabbed fourth for an $11,500 reward.

In fact, Americans filled the top 10, an unusual situation in Falmouth for many years. Eight U.S. women and six U.S. men all earned money for top 10 finishes.

But it was Lewy Boulet, 38, who highlighted the show in her debut. She nearly came to Falmouth in 2004 but cancelled when she found out she was pregnant. At the end of her season before a break prior to buildup for the January 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston, Lewy Boulet said the 7-mile distance here fit well into her schedule.

The U.S.-only money, she said, was an added incentive for a cross country trip from her residence in Oakland, CA.

Hitting six miles in 31:39 with two other Olympians and the champ of this year’s Azalea Trail Run 10K, Lewy-Boulet made a key decision to bolt for the finish.

“I went exactly at 6 miles,” said Lewy-Boulet, the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials runner-up. “With a mile to go, I told myself ‘you have to commit, you have to commit’ and I made a surge.” Her long surge took her to the finish and stopped the clock at 36 minutes, 58 seconds.

She left a talented three-some in her wake, including Burundi Olympian Diane Nukuri-Johnson (37:13), Kenyan two-time Olympic silver medalist and four-time Falmouth champion Catherine Ndereba (37:24) and fellow American Janet Cherobon Bawcom (37:37) who is enjoying success this year on the road race tour.

“I am not doing a full marathon at this time so the distance was right for me,” explained Lewy Boulet. “That the race put out the incentives for Americans certainly helped. In 2013, I’m going to come back and triple dip (win Open, American, Masters money)!”

The next six women were Americans.

For the men, Olinger was one of six Americans who were able to double-dip, earning Open and U.S. cash. It was a gutsy performance for a guy who focused on steeplechase for many years but has backed off because of injury.

He got right out there from the start out of Woods Hole, cruising in a pack which passed the first three miles in 4:38, 4:28 and 4:29. By mile 3, he clung to three Kenyans with major credentials – 2007 Falmouth champ Micah Kogo, who just won the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K in Maine eight days ago, Lucas Rotich who was second to Kogo at Beach to Beacon and Edward Muge, who was fifth here last year and third the year before.

They passed three miles in 13:35, nearly a personal best for Olinger but not nearly so for the other three. Once on the flat coastal Surf Drive, Kogo and Rotich separated themselves from Muge and Olinger and slowly pulled away. Kogo and Rotich were all alone and chatting to each other when they covered the 10K mark in 28:05, and it was a two-man rush to the finish at Falmouth Heights.

Today, it was Rotich’s day to best Kogo, exacting revenge from his close loss to Kogo in their first-ever head-to-head competition at Beach to Beacon.

Rotich, in his Falmouth debut, finished in 31:37, the third-fastest winning time ever here, and 29 seconds off the course record set in 2004 by three-time race champ Gilbert Okari, who was 26th this year.

“”I was trying not to let him go,” said the 27-year-old Rotich, the bronze medalist at the 2008 World Cross Country Championships, after his debut Falmouth. “I was trying to push the pace at six miles. [The day before] I ran up the finish line and I knew there was a downhill at the end.”

Right behind him and Kogo (31:41) was Muge, third again in 32:02 and then it was Olinger, hampered by a stitch but firmly in fourth in 32:16.

“I wish I hadn’t cramped up at 10K,” said the 28-year-old Olinger, who was third at the USA 10K Champs at the Peachtree Road Race 10K last month. “I think I got so excited by the crowd that it caused a cramp in my right side. I think I would have had third if I hadn’t cramped.”

He had dropped out of the 2009 race, again with a side stitch, after a 12th place effort in 2007, good for fourth American. This year, he was first American, earning a total of $11,500.

Behind him for the Americans were three-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman of Tucson (5th in 32:43), Ben True of North Yarmouth, ME (6th in 32:48), Ed Moran of Williamsburg, VA (8th in 32:50), Sean Quigley of Philadelphia (9th in 32:51) and Brett Gotcher of Watsonville, CA (10th in 32:53).

James Koskei of Kenya (34:41) and two-time Falmouth overall champion Colleen De Reuck of Boulder, CO (39:12) defended their Masters titles (40 and older), pocketing $2500 apiece.

Some 10,696 official starters participated, including Olympian and three-time Falmouth winner Bill Rodgers (age 63), two-time winner as well as Olympic Marathon gold and silver medalist Frank Shorter (62) and 1984 Olympic Marathon gold medalist and six-time race titlist Joan Benoit Samuelson (54), while the legendary father-son team Dick and Rick Hoyt celebrated their 32nd Falmouth finish.

39th New Balance Falmouth Road Race
Falmouth, MA, Sunday, August 14, 2011

MEN
1) Lucas Rotich (KEN), 31:37, $10,000
2) Micah Kogo (KEN), 31:41, $5000
3) Edward Muge (KEN), 32:02, $2000
4) Brian Olinger (USA / OH), 32:16, $11,500
5) Abdi Abdirahman (USA / AZ), 32:43, $6000
6) Ben True (USA / ME), 32:48, $2800
7) Samuel Ndereba (KEN), 32:49, $650
8) Ed Moran (USA / VA), 32:50, $2100
9) Sean Quigley (USA / PA), 32:51, $1450
10) Brett Gotcher (USA / CA), 32:53, $1150
12) Patrick Smyth (USA / CA), 33:08, $650
13) Fernando Cabada (USA / CO), 33:12, $600
14) Jason Lehmekuhle (USA / MN), 33:18, $450
15) Chris Landry (USA / MI), 33:25, $350

WOMEN
1) Magdalena Lewy Boulet (USA / CA), 36:58, $20,000
2) Diane Nukuri-Johnson (BDI), 37:13, $5000
3) Catherine Ndereba (KEN), 37:24, $2000
4) Janet Cherobon-Bawcom (USA / GA), 37:37, $6500
5) Kim Conley (USA / CA), 37:47, $3000
6) Emily Brown (USA / MN), 37:49, $2300
7) Jeanette Faber (USA / OR), 38:01, $1650
8) Blake Russell (USA / CA), 38:02, $1400
9) Kathy Newberry (USA / MI), 38:03, $1100
10) Clara Grandt (USA / AL), 38:18, $950
11) Adriana Nelson (USA / CO), 38:21, $450
12) Heather Cappello (USA / MA), 38:24, $350

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  1. […] Boulet, a member of the 2008 Olympic marathon team, is the first American to win the Falmouth Road Race since Jen Rhines in […]