Broad Street Run: Kenyan beats countryman in fight to the finish

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Dominic Korir (right) beats out Philip Mburu to finish first in the field of nearly 40,000 runners participating in the 38th annual Blue Cross Broad Street Run May 7, 2017.

The 10-mile race between two Kenyans who had not met before could not have been tighter. But one final surge by Dominic Korir on Sunday enabled him to edge Philip Mburu by less than a second to win the men's race in the 38th annual Broad Street Run.

Unlike the top two men's finishers who were competing for the first time in the Broad Street Run, the women's winner is a former champion.

Askale Merachi, 30, of Ethopia captured the women's title to earn her second Broad Street Run championship.

The two winners each earned the top prize of $3,000.

A total of 40,000 runners entered Sunday's race, which was run in ideal weather conditions with the temperature in the low to mid-50s. Unlike last year, things stayed dry. There was, however, one complaint.

"It was so windy," said the 23-year-old Korir, who won in 47 minutes, 37.53 seconds, while Mburu finished the tight race in 47:38.37.

Mburu agreed that the wind was a factor. "It made it very hard," he said.

Despite the difficulty, Mburu, 27, said that competing in his first Broad Street Run was an enjoyable experience. "This was a good race and even though there was a lot of wind, I enjoyed it," said Mburu, who added that Korir "ran a great race."

Merachi won the women's race in 53.48.19, ahead of runner-up Serena Burla in 54:29.20. The first Broad Street Run title for Merachi came in 2013 when she finished in 53:46.

For a long stretch on Sunday, Merachi was threatening the women's record of 53:07 set in 1999 by Catherine Ndereba. Merachi said she hurt her hamstring during the race and had to compensate for that.

"It was a lot of pain," she said. Not enough to deny her from victory.

"I like Philadelphia," Merachi said. "I will be back."

As for local runners, two living in Philadelphia finished among the women's top five. Margaret Vido finished fourth overall and was the top Philadelphia runner in 56:55.72.

"I was hoping to go in the top 10 today and hoping to break 57 [minutes], so I met both of my goals," Vido said.

Last year she finished 11th. Vido is originally from Nazareth, Pa., and attended Penn, where she competed in cross-county and track. Now 26, she is attending the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

She trained for the race with Samantha Roecker, who finished fifth overall. Roecker is in the accelerated nurse-practitioner program at Penn and is a former runner at Providence College.

"It's great that we were both able to do well," Vido said.

The top Philadelphia finisher in the men's race was Patrick Richie, who placed 10th overall. Richie, who works for Nike, has been living in the area for a year and a half. He lives about a mile and a half from the finish line at the Philadelphia Naval Yard.

"I run every day between the Navy Yard and FDR Park," said Richie, who ran in college at Gonzaga.

He participated in last year's Philadelphia Marathon and this was his first Broad Street Run.

"It felt great participating in this," said Richie, who is originally from Minnesota and finished his first Broad Street Run in 49:43.13. "It was a really nice day, the course is approachable and fast and there were lots of people out. It was a great experience."

mnarducci@phillynews.com

@sjnard