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Defending champ signs up to make run at Coghlan 5K repeat

Defending champ Paul Mwangi became one of the first runners to enter into the sixth annual Eamonn Coghlan 5K road race, named after the world renowned miler. The 5K Race, held in conjunction with the seventh annual New York Irish Festival, is set for Saturday, Aug. 25, at 5 p.m. at Belmont Park in Elmont.

The 34-year-old Mwangi will try to defend his title. Last year, he was clocked in 14:27. He won the Queens Half-Marathon this past April in 1:06 and has been running consistently this season.

The Ossining resident has been putting in 70 to 100 miles a week of training in his local neighborhood, the Rockefeller State Park area.

“In the Coghlan 5K, my strategy will be to go right from the start and see what happens,” he said. “My time goal is to do a 13:37.”

This time would slice nearly a minute off his time August.

Last year, the runners competed on a two-loop course in the morning. It has been revised to go out and back with a lot of tree coverage. The 3.1 mile course is flat and fast.

Mwangi has never run in a race longer than a half-marathon. But this time around he is considering entering the New York City Marathon in November.

The member of the Westchester Puma Track Club has been running for since 1994.

“I never participated in any prior to that time,” he said. “I was lazy, then I started to run to loose weight and kept up with the running sport.”

Steve Duggan, director of the race, every year tries to make various improvements. He anticipates some 2000 entries for the event and, to try to make the race better and draw more entries, for the first time Duggan has contacted the New York Road Runners Club to be involved.

The race, which is part of the three-day New York Irish Festival, is also being conducted with the cooperation of the New York Racing Association and the College Point Road Runners Club, which has scored the race over the past five years.

However, for the first time, Duggan has contacted Start to Finish Corp., one of the top computerized scorers and timers in the greater New York area. Based out of Nassau County, Start to Finish has timed the Cow Harbor race annually and many local races of various distances in New York.

“Throughout the years I have encouraged the promoters to take the festival to a higher level, especially because of the fantastic location and naturally large Irish community in the New York area,” Coghlan said. “Over the past six years I have been very delighted with the festival and race.”

In addition to the usual age group prizes, the race offers cash prizes to the top five finishers male and female with $250 going to the winner, $150 for the runner-up.

For further information call (212) 6868-1210 or (212) 685-4649.

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