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Mwangi wins Coghlan 5K Classic

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Paul Mwangi captured the sixth annual Eamonn Coghlan 3.1 mile road race that stayed on the grounds of Belmont Park in 14:53.9. The race, part of the New York Irish Festival, was put on with the cooperation of the New York Racing Association and the College Point Road Runners Track Club this past weekend.

Mwangi won the Eamonn Coghlan 5K Classic last year in 14:27 and more recently took first at the 5-mile Club Championship in Central Park earlier this month.

At the Coghlan Classic, Mwangi went out fast as planned, gradually built up his lead, and eventually ran away from his competitors.

The Coghlan 5K did not go on the horse track. The competitors ran on a two-loop course that is 99 percent flat. The people attending the Irish Festival were able to see part of the race.

Originally from Kenya, the resident of Ossining, competing for the Westchester Puma Track Club, covered the 3.1 mile course far ahead of runner-up Kevin Krause, 30, of Shoreham, Long Island, Who ran a 15:16.4 for second place, and Michael Nehr-Tully, of Lindenhurst, who was clocked in 15:31 for third place.

“Mwangi was too strong for us,” Krause said. “He’s in a different league. The course here at Belmont is lighting fast. We ran in a great atmosphere and the event was very well organized.”

It was Nehr-Tully’s third appearance in the race.

“Because of the heat everyone ran slow,” the 21-year-old, who runs for the cross country team at Marist College.

Rounding out the top five were Manhattan’s Alem Kahsay, who was timed in 16:26.8, and the first Queens finisher, Panfilo Gomez of Woodhaven, who crossed the line in 16:32.2.

“I’m not in good shape,” Kahsay said. “I liked the race. Mwangi is fast and too much for us. He runs the shorter distance much better than I do. I’m more of a long distance runner.”

The first runner from Nassau County to finish was 19-year-old Valley Stream resident Anthony Randolfi, whose 18:55.9 earned him overall 19th place. "

“After coming back from cross country camp, I’m back again on the roads and preparing for the team at Nassau Community College,” Randolfi said. “I’m in good shape and I’ll be back again next year.”

The first female to cross the finish line was Manhattan’s Leteyesus Berhe, whose 17:50.4 earned her eighth place overall.

The first five place finishers were the class of the field. Afterwards, the race was very competitive. The first quintet of male and female finishers received cash prizes with $250 going to the winners. The second place finishers each won $150, third $100, fourth $75 and fifth $50.

The oldest finisher in the race was 78-year-aid Woodside resident John McManus, timed in 26:55.5, and the youngest finisher was 9-year-old College Point resident Kevin Mook, who finished in 24:45.6.

“It’s a great honor to be part of the race, a great event, and we had a great day for the race,” said Coghlan, who, himself, competed in the race just for a workout and the fun of it. “We had some good times. We worked hard since last year and everyone just had a great time. I owe a lot to our race director Steve Duggan and Leo Nicholas of the College Point Road Runners Track Club.”

“We had a grant turnout and we were very happy with the race,” Duggan said. “We had a good crowd and the runners enjoyed the Festival.”

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