Record falls in Rothman 8K race

Runners jostle for position at the start of the Rothman 8K on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)

The Rothman 8K male course record was broken not once but twice on Saturday morning when both Isaac Korir Kedikou and Samuel Ndereba knocked down Marcus O'Sullivan's time of 23 minutes, three seconds that had stood since 1997. Korir ran the 4.97 mile course in 22 minutes, 29 seconds and Ndereba in 22 minutes, 46 seconds.

Korir Kedikou, 22, who is from Kenya, just arrived in the U.S. on Thursday to make his U.S. race debut in the 4.97 mile race. "I'm very upbeat," he said after he finished, bundled up on a chilly morning where race temperatures stayed in the 30s.

Both he and Ndereba, 35, a Kenyan who has lived in Royersford for the last nine years, will also run the Philadelphia Half Marathon on Sunday. "I'm going to try to keep up with him because I believe he has faster speed," said Ndereba, the 2011 Rothman 8k winner. The top American male finisher, Scott Smith, finished in third place at 22 minutes, 47 seconds.

The women's race was not a record breaker but close. Misiker Mekonnin Demessie, 24, from Ethopia, finished with a time of 25 minutes, 46 seconds, nine seconds shy of Svetlana Zakharova's record, which she set in 2001.

Mekonnin Demessie, who finished ninth in the 2011 Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon, had been scheduled to run the ING New York City Marathon, which was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy, so she said she used this race as a tune up for the Honolulu Marathon, which she'll run on Dec. 9.

Amy Van Alstine, 25, of Flagstaff, who grew up in Midland Park, N.J., finished second with a time of 25 minutes, 59 seconds, and Frances Koons 26, Villanova grad from Ardmore Pa., who won the 2009 Rothman 8k, finished in third at 26 minutes, 29 seconds.

Cecily Tynan, 43, meteorologist at WPVI-6ABC, defended her female Master's Division title with a time of 29 minutes, 38 seconds. Michael Griffin, 47, of Philadelphia won the men's Master's Division with a time of 25 minutes, 25 seconds.

A national record was also broken on Saturday: Hugh Campbell of Wilmington, Del. broke the USA Track and Field national 8k record for 85 and older runners with a time of 47 minutes, 40 seconds. Campbell, 88, started running two years ago, broke the 5k national record for the same age group this year, too.