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Kenyan Wins 12K in San Francisco

May 21, 2000

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Kenyan Reuben Cheruiyot finished well ahead of the other elite runners Sunday in the Bay to Breakers 12K, the annual San Francisco road race that attracts 75,000 runners, some of them naked.

On an unusually warm, fog-free morning, Cheruiyot completed the 7.46-mile course in 34:54 _ far in front of an army of runners that included a woman dressed as huge pink cake because it was her birthday.

``I had fun,″ smiled Cheruiyot, who also finished first this year in the Arts Fest River Run 12K in Illinois and the Lilac Bloomsday 12K in Spokane, Wash. ``I like to run alone.″

On the women’s side, South African Colleen DeReuck finished first in 38:42. The victory was especially sweet because DeReuck had recently learned she would not represent her country for the Olympic Games in Sydney.

On Sunday, the 36-year-old mother broke down in tears.

``I just think it’s very political. I don’t live in the country,″ said DeReuck, who lives and trains in Colorado. ``I thought I’d done everything I needed to do.″

DeReuck, who has run the Bay to Breakers three times, said she loves the carnival-like atmosphere and the finish line at Ocean Beach.

``This was my first race in the United States and I always like to come back,‘;’ she said. ``It’s great to end up at the beach with the waves crashing.″

Cheruiyot, 26, took the lead on the grueling Hayes Street Hill and was alone in front for the remainder of the race. He was followed at the finish by countryman Dominic Kirui at 35:25 and last year’s second-place finisher Armando Quintanilla of Mexico at 35:30.

It was the 10th straight year a Kenyan had won the men’s elite division.

Following DeReuck in the women’s elite division was Lydia Grigorieva of Russia at 39:37 and Kenyan Pauline Konga at 39:48.

The race, a USATF-sanctioned road race sponsored by the San Francisco Examiner, follows city streets into Golden Gate Park and on to the Pacific Ocean.

Participants this year included a a three-generation naked family and a runner dressed as Austin Powers. One group ran awkwardly with a keg on wheels and passed out cups of beer.

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