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Elite field shaping for Clarksburg 10K

by Anthony Hanshew

SPORTS EDITOR

Y2K has brought a daunting challenge for the Greater Clarksburg 10K's elite runner coordinator. The year 2000 is an Olympic year, thus priorities are thrown out of whack.

On the flip side, this year's road race literally is the only game in town.

As a result, Dorsey Cheuvront again is assembling one of the year's best 10K races in the nation. Among those scheduled to compete is the world's No. 1-ranked male runner and a past female Clarksburg champion.

Last year's Greater Clarksburg 10K was the nation's No. 2-ranked 10K.

"Runners and agents know when they hear Clarksburg that it's going to be a good race and a good field and that you had better be in good shape," Cheuvront said.

The early list of elite male runners is headlined by Kenyan Reuben Cheruiyot. He has won six races this year, most by huge margins, to reach his world No. 1 ranking.

Cheruiyot won three races on consecutive weekends in May, each by at least 17 seconds (which is a lifetime in distance running). He won the Arts Festival 12K by 20 seconds, the Beta Breakers 12K in San Francisco by 29 seconds and the Lylac Bloomsday in Spokane, Wash., by 17 seconds.

Also expected to compete are fellow Kenyan David Makori and South African Gert Thys. Makori finished second last year in Clarksburg; Thys finished third in the 1998 Boston Marathon and currently owns the fourth fastest marathon time ever at 2:06:33.

The top Americans thus far are Shawn Ford of Boulder, Colo., and Philliman Hanneck of Portland, Ore. Ford is a three-time All-American from the University of Colorado; Hanneck recently became a U.S. citizen via Zimbabwe and is expected to make the U.S. Olympic marathon team.

On the women's side, the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia are causing Cheuvront some last-minute challenges. The Kenyan Olympic Trials aren't held until the week before the Clarksburg 10K (July 29), and most runners, including defending women's champion Catherine Ndereba, won't commit to Clarksburg until they know their Olympic status.

The U.S. Olympic Trials will be held two weeks prior to the Clarksburg 10K, and female runners also plan to wait out their Olympic fate.

Of the top female runners expected to compete, Kenyan Delilah Asiago tops the list. She won the 1998 Clarksburg 10K, after Ndereba was disqualified.

Among the more intriguing female runners is Marian Sutton of Great Britain. She stands 6-feet tall, unusual for a female distance runner, and also has modeled. Sutton won the 1996 and 1997 Chicago Marathon.

Sports editor Anthony Hanshew can be reached at 626-1444.

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