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Great runners make Clarksburg 10K tops

by Danny Carpenter

ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR

How has the Greater Clarksburg 10K become one of the top races in the United States in a short period?

It's easy.

Bring in the best, and you become the best.

In its three years, the event has been won by the men's world marathon record holder and now the women's reigning Boston Marathon winner. It is now the second-ranked 10K in the U.S. by Road Race Management.

Khalid Khannouchi, who broke the world marathon record last October in Chicago with a time of 2:05:42, won the men's inaugural Clarksburg 10K in 1997.

Catherine Ndereba, who won the women's Clarksburg 10K last year after a disqualification in '98, won the Boston Marathon on Monday.

"I received a pamphlet from an agent in England and all of his runners are represented by Puma. The pamphlet, which Puma sends out all over the world, had two cities from West Virginia -- Clarksburg and Wheeling -- listed with 20 other cities with races from around the world," the Clarksburg 10K's elite athlete coordinator Dorsey Chevront said. "(The Clarksburg 10K) has put West Virginia on the map in a short period of time."

But will Clarksburg see the likes of Khannouchi and Ndereba again?

Chevront believes Ndereba would like to defend her Clarksburg title, but now she has other obligations.

"The only thing that may interfere is she'll be on the Kenyan Olympic team," Chevront said. "It may depend on her schedule and if she's in the country at the time."

Ndereba, who has been ranked the top road runner the past several years, started concentrating on marathons after a strong run last year at Boston, according to Chevront.

"She had a pretty good run last year at Boston but died at the end," he said. "(Marathons) were one thing she hadn't conquered, and now I believe she'll be a threat at the Olympics."

As for a return by Khannouchi to Clarksburg, Chevront said it is very possible.

"I talk to his wife, who is his agent, about every two months," he said. "She tells me they'll be back."

If they don't return to the Clarksburg 10K, it won't affect the rest of the 10K field.

"The women will breathe a sigh of relief because Catherine is still the one to beat," Chevront said. "But if she doesn't return, it only means everyone will have a chance to win."

Clarksburg 10K will continue to attract top runners from around the world and U.S.

The elite runners "love the publicity, and if they win (the Clarksburg 10K), they'll get more," Chevront said. "But even if they do well here, they're are going to get more recognition.

"Plus, we added the American prize money last year. An American may not be able to win the event, but can still have a great day and win a little bit money."

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