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Kenyan Joseph Kimani wins 86th Bay to Breakers

May 19, 1997

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Kenyan Joseph Kimani already is looking forward to next year’s running of the Bay to Breakers 12K through the hilly streets of San Francisco.

Now that he has won his debut in the race, he’s confident he can shatter the course record, set in 1993 by fellow countryman Ismael Kirui.

``I think next year I’ll come here and I’ll do the course record,″ Kimani declared.

Kimani ran the Bay to Breakers in 33:51 on Sunday, falling short of Kirui’s standing 12K world record _ and course record _ of 33:42.

Fellow Kenyan Peter Githuka came in second and Thomas Osano, last year’s Bay to Breakers winner, was third.

In the women’s race, Kenyan Jane Omoro won in 39:55, followed by Anne Marie Lauck of Pittstown, N.J., and fellow Kenyan Gladys Ondeyo.

It was the 86th running of the Bay to Breakers, a wacky annual road race up and down the city’s scenic streets and through Golden Gate Park to Ocean Beach.

``I’ve never seen a road race like this,″ said Kimani. ``It’s so steep and sharp.″

More than 70,000 runners _ many in costume and some wearing nothing _ participated in the event, sponsored by the San Francisco Examiner.

A coroner’s spokesman confirmed that John Young, 34, of Saratoga, Calif., died during the race. The cause of death was not known, but authorities reported earlier that Young appeared to have suffered a heart attack.

The ``centipede″ runners, groups of 13 or more connected runners who traditionally try to beat the top female finisher, succeeded this year, as the men’s Power Bar-Reebok Aggies finished ahead of Omoro in 39:24.

Kimani, 24, is coming off a pending 12K world record time of 33:31 at the Arts Fest River Run in Evansville, Ind. Kirui’s 1993 Bay to Breakers time is the official world record.

Kimani broke out in front of Githuka at the Hayes Street Hill, about 2 1/2 miles into the race, and challenged Kirui’s course record until the final two miles, when he appeared to lose some steam.

He said the temperature dropped significantly when he ran from sunny skies into San Francisco’s trademark fog during the final miles, but it didn’t impact his performance.

``We train in warm and cold areas,″ he said.

Omoro, 25, said she was hampered by a pulled muscle in her right leg near the finish. Plagued by injuries for much of last year, she said she enjoyed the Bay to Breakers.

``I like the hills,″ she said.

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