By: Pat Goodwin
. - (April 28, 2012) - Defending champion Matt Gabrielson took the win again, while Emily Brown cruised to the women's crown at the 35th Get in Gear 10K
, the Road Runners Club of America Minnesota 10K Championship, in Minneapolis on Saturday morning. Gabrielson, 33, of St. Louis Park, finished in 30 minutes, 1 second in the men's race and Brown, 27, of Minnetonka, clocked 33:28. Both train with Team USA Minnesota.
The men's runner-up was Festus Kigen, Kenya, who crossed the line in 30:22. In third place with a repeat from 2011 was Chris Erichsen, Minneapolis, who finished in 30:31. In the women's race, second place went to Doreen Kitaka, Kenya, in 34:02 and third went to 2011 race winner Michelle Frey, Minneapolis, who posted 34:04.
Temperatures were in the low 40s with a light rain and windy conditions during the race. In addition to the signature 10K race, which had 3,654 finishers, the event included a 5K with 1,941 runners and a half-marathon with 1,222 crossing the finish line. All the races began and ended at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis, including a 2K run held earlier in the morning.
Until Gabrielson won in 2011, Kenyan male runners had won the Get in Gear 10K every year from 1994 through 2010, with the exception of 1996. Although Gabrielson's first mile in today's race had Kenyan runners on either side of him, he began to pull away shortly after mile 3 and then continued to increase his lead.
"I was alone from 5K on which is a little nerve racking yet I just tried to stay as relaxed as possible," said Gabrielson. "I did not feel fast, but I felt strong almost like I could run 4:48-4:50 per mile all day. I wanted this race to be the springboard towards running really well at the USA Half Marathon Championships in Duluth in June. I am right on schedule and needed this little shot of motivation to start doing some solid work over the next month or so.
"The Get in Gear is a fantastic event, fantastic organization and has fantastic runners of all ability levels. The 10K course is challenging with the few hills it does have and you really have to focus and concentrate on taking the tangents precisely. This is my second time running this race so it is two for two with the win."
Brown (left, PhotoRun), the 2009 USA Cross Country champion, previously ran the race in 2010 when she finished second in a time of 34:00.
"I felt pretty comfortable throughout the whole race," she said. "I had gone in with a plan to try for 5:30 pace at least for the first mile. Although I was faster than that through the first two miles, it felt fine and I believed I could keep pushing that same pace all the way through. All in all the race went by pretty fast and I didn't feel too strained until the last 800 meters where it is inevitable to start feeling a little sluggish.
"I had a good idea where the turn to the finish was and after checking my watch I knew I could hold my lead and get in under 34 minutes so I was already pretty pleased with my race at that point. A new road PR was a nice added bonus for a solid effort of running today. It's always nice to do a local race because I get to maintain all the comforts of home while eliminating the nuisances of traveling. And on top of that, I love the support of the Minnesota running community and all the familiar faces that I've gotten to know over the years."
Next up for Brown will be the Lilac Bloomsday 12K in Spokane on May 6 with Gabrielson aiming for the Newport 10,000 road race in New Jersey on May 12.
The Masters 10K winners (40 and older) were John Mirth, 49, Platteville, WI and Amy Halseth, 42, Minneapolis, MN in 33:13 and 38:02 respectively.
The Get in Gear 10K race also served as the USA Track & Field-Minnesota State 10K Championship and is also part of the USATF-Minnesota Team Circuit.