Cynthia Jerop blazes to win in women's Health Solutions 8K field

Young Kenyan blew away the rest of the elite women

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Cynthia Jerop ran her race, won her race, put her sweat suit on, then kept running west down Third Avenue toward the river.

The winner of the Elite women’s division of the Health Solutions 8K ran 10 minutes out and 10 minutes back to cool down.

“The race was good, but beside that I didn’t get the girl who pushed me, so I went with the men, but it was good,” Jerop said.

Jerop, of St. Paul, easily cruised to victory on the women’s side, finishing in 27:01. The young Kenyan athlete is already an accomplished distance runner, having won the Austin Marathon and placing highly in several others.

She finished fifth overall in the female division in last year’s race, and wanted to compete at a higher level this year.

Jerop also has competed at Midnight Madness in Ames, as well as other marathons throughout the Midwest. The women’s field was smaller this year than in years past due to injuries, but Jerop, racing with some of the lead men, pushed toward the front for both the men and the women.

She crossed the finish line with a smile on her face, as the win marked her first in the Health Solutions 8K. It’s one she hopes will propel her to other victories later this season.

“It was good for me because I am preparing for Midnight Madness,” she said. “I feel it was a good test if I compare it to last year. Last year I was number (five), so this year I said I’m going to come back and do my best.”

The light mist that precipitated much of the morning did not seem to bother her, or anyone in the field, and the straight out and back course was run on the wide expanses of Third Avenue.

With Midnight Madness on Saturday, another prize money race, the young pro from Kenya can use her Health Solutions 8K win to boost her to another race win.

Race director Colin Flynn, who also helped coordinate elite athletes, noted that Jerop looked stronger in this year's race than she has in the past.

“She has ran here before and done well,” Flynn said. “She ran, I think, better today than she’s done in previous years. I wasn’t sure how she was going to do so it was really great to see her back here and running as well as she’s doing.”

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