Rhonex Kipruto wins men’s elite division at AJC Peachtree Road Race

Credit: Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Credit: Curtis.Compton@ajc.com

Running on less than ideal rest, Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto nevertheless was the fastest man on two feet at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race. Breaking away near the 7-kilometer mark of the 10K race, Kipruto earned his second Peachtree championship Monday morning.

Kipruto, who won the 2019 race and holds the world record for the 10K, reached the finish tape in 27 minutes, 26 seconds, well ahead of second-place finisher Kibiwott Kandie (27:34), also of Kenya.

The top American finisher was Conner Mantz in fifth place in 28:04, the second-fastest time for an American runner in race history. Mantz was a two-time NCAA cross-country champion at BYU. The top Georgian was Edward Blaha of Atlanta, in 31:11.

Kipruto, 22, arrived in Atlanta on Saturday night after a flight from Doha, Qatar, later than planned. Originating from Nairobi, Kipruto and Kandie had travel issues in Doha and ended up spending 24 hours at the airport, Kipruto said.

Kipruto bested what was touted as the fastest field in race history. Kipruto himself set the course record in winning in 2019, finishing in 27:01, which is the fastest 10K ever run on American soil. Kandie came into the race having run a personal best of 26:50, the fifth fastest 10K of all-time.

“The race was very competitive,” Kandie said. “As you can compare all those who we were competing with, they were strong guys.”

While the Atlanta Track Club laid out a $53,000 bonus to be shared among any men or women in the footrace or the wheelchair race for anyone who set a course record, the conditions prevented Kipruto and fellow racers from making a better challenge and receiving bonus money. He nevertheless won the $7,500 for winning his event.

“I was well-prepared, but the flight delayed us,” Kipruto said. “But I knew the humidity was waiting for us here.”