Past Champions Jemal Yimer And Buze Diriba wants to Defend their Titles at Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile

Organizers of the 47th Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run announced today that 2018 champions Jemal Yimer and Buze Diriba will return to our nation's capital to defend their titles on Sunday, April 7. Past champions Stanley Kebenei(2017) and Stephen Sambu (2014 & 2015) will join Yimer on the starting line at 7:30 a.m., while Diriba will be joined by 2017 women's champion Hiwot Gebrekidan and the other elite women, who will have their own separate start at 7:18 a.m. One other past champion, Joan Nesbit Mabe, who was the last American woman to win Cherry Blossom in 1996, will be competing as an age grouper in the 55-59 women's category, starting alongside some 16,000 other runners.

This year's race will offer $96,500 in prize money and bonuses to top runners in the 10-mile:

$40,000 in prize money, plus a possible $3,500 in bonuses will be awarded in equal amounts to the top 10 international men and women;

time bonuses include $1000 for 1st sub-46:00 male; $750 for 2nd sub-46:00, $1000 for 1st sub-52:00 female; $750 for 2nd sub-52:00 female;

$25,000 in American Development Prize Money will be awarded in 2019 to the top 10 U.S. men and women, with double dipping allowed - meaning top American runners can collect top-10 overall prize money and top-10 American Development Prize Money;

As they have since 2017, race organizers are offering a $10,000 American record bonus for the first American man to break Greg Meyer's American record of 46:13, set here in 1983, and for the first American woman to break Janet Bawcom's single-sex American record of 52:12, set here in 2014;

Thanks to a collaborative effort between Credit Union Cherry Blossom Run organizers and the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA), $1,500, $1,000 and $500 will be awarded to the top-three men and women alumni of two innovative developmental programs, the RRCA Roads Scholars Grants, and RRCA's RunPro Camp.

Event Director Phil Stewart said: "We are pleased to host the Washington area's only internationally significant road race, featuring top runners from around the globe. We also believe in helping Americans onto the world stage through our American prize money and support for RRCA Roads Scholars and RunPro Camp alumni. These elite athletes provide inspiration to 16,000 others who chase after them in vain."

Defending champion and two-time runner-up (2016 & 2017) Buze Diriba comes in as the favorite in the women's race. As it has since 2006 - with the exception of the wind-plagued 2016 event, when the women's start was combined with the men's - the separate start for women mentioned in the first paragraph will allow for the women's times to be considered as women's-only records without any effect of being paced by males. The format also provides increased visibility for these talented female athletes.

posted Thursday April 4th