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Kenyan Joseph Kimani wins Bay to Breakers

May 19, 1997

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Kenyan Joseph Kimani took the lead early and crossed the foggy finish line well ahead of fellow countryman Peter Githuka to win the 12K Bay to Breakers on Sunday.

Starting under sunny skies, Kimani completed the hilly race in 33:51. Githuka was second and defending Bay to Breakers champion Thomas Osano 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 hilly streets of San Francisco and through Golden Gate Park to Ocean Beach.

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 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. The previous 12K world record of 33:42 was set by Kenyan Ismael Kirui in the Bay to Breakers in 1993.

Kimani broke out in front of Githuka at the Hayes Street Hill, about 2.5 miles into the race, and challenged Kirui’s course record until the final two miles when he appeared to lose some steam.

Kimani, making his Bay to Breakers debut, said he believes he can break the record now that he’s familiar with the course.

``I think next year I’ll come here and I’ll do the course record,″ he said confidently.

He said the temperature dropped significantly when he ran 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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