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Elite runner field cloudy for 10K

by Mike Nutter

SPORTS WRITER

Parkersburg's Dorsey Cheuvront doesn't need a calendar to know the Greater Clarksburg 10K is nearing. Cheuvront, organizer of the "elite runners" in the field has been busy fielding calls and faxes from European agents of some of the top international runners in the world.

"We're just starting to talk to a lot of people," Cheuvront said. "Most of them are not scheduled this far in advance. Probably by the end of June we'll have a much clearer picture, but I'm sure there will be a lot of very good runners."

The reason for the clouded picture is the World Championships held the first week of August. Although the Clarksburg 10K is two weeks earlier, many international runners, particularly the Kenyan contingency, are busy preparing to make a bid for the World Championships. The Kenyan national team is holding its trials June 20, and its results will have a big effect on the 10K field.

"We should have the bulk of the field by the end of this month or by the first of July at the latest," Cheuvront said. "By then most things will have fallen into place.

"The nice thing about this race is that we're kind of tucked into a time when most of the international runners are here to stay. Most of them get here for the July 4 Peach Tree run in Atlanta and run every week after that until the end of August."

This year's race will mark the fifth anniversary of the event. Cheuvront said attempts had been made to bring back all previous winners, but two have prior commitments, including Khalid Khannouchi -- the first-ever winner of the Clarksburg 10K. However, he felt there was a strong chance of bringing back all of the prior women's winners.

Because of the Kenyan's dominating stranglehold on distance running, Cheuvront said he has tried to get as big of international blend as possible.

This year's hottest name is Kenya's James Koskei, who already has won the Bay to Breakers and set a 5K road course record earlier this spring in California. Cheuvront said getting Koskei into this year's field is a strong possibility, along with last year's winner, Ruben Cheruiyot and another winner, John Korir.

"I think there's no question this year's field will be as good as any we've ever had and possibly better when you start talking about Koskei," Cheuvront said. "Like I said, a lot will depend on how some of these trials go.

"We'd like to get a nice mix, and in about a month, we should know where we stand."

Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at sports@exponent-telegram.com

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