For Lineth Chepkurui, it was unexpected.
The 23-year-old Kenyan, fought through an injured hip to win her third straight Zazzle Bay to Breakers on Sunday.
Chepkurui, who set the world’s 12K record at last year’s Bay to Breakers, said she didn’t expect to win Sunday. She was still nursing the hip injury she incurred in the World Cross Country Championships, where she placed eighth.
She finished in 39 minutes, 12 seconds on Sunday, a second ahead of Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska, 27. Her world record time last year was 38:07.
After the win, Chepkurui said her hip was in a lot of pain. But the pain did little to dim her spirit. She said she could not possibly miss the 100th anniversary of the Bay to Breakers.
“I am so grateful,” she said. “I was expecting to run a slower time. I was not in as good as shape as last year. I just wanted to cross the finish line.”
Jelliah Tingea, 25, of Kenya, finished third in 39:58; Misiker Mekonnin Demiss, 24, of Ethiopia, was fourth in 40:36; and Jane Kibii, 26, of Kenya, was fifth in 41:21.
Chepkurui, not only won the women’s field, which earned her $7,000 in prize money, she netted another $5,000 for being the first to crest the notoriously difficult Hayes Street Hill, which comes at about the 2.5-mile marker.
The Bay to Breakers starts downtown at Howard and Beale streets and ends on the Great Highway at Ocean Beach. A field of 55,000 registered runners and walkers competed on a cold and windy morning. The elite runners ran under dry skies.
Chepkurui said the race course was windy, but was quite content that rain forecast for Sunday morning did not arrive before she crossed the finish line.
Bay Area women also had impressive showings Sunday. Veteran Oakland runner Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, 37, finished sixth in 41:26; Annie Bersagel, 28, of Stanford, finished eighth in 42:09; and Mill Valley’s Yiou Wang, 26, was ninth in 42:35.
The Bay to Breakers is the 13th largest road race in the world, and the fifth-longest consecutively run, according to organizers.
|Jane Kibii Kenya||Kenya||41:21|