Henry Kipchirchir came close to winning big races twice in recent weeks leading up to the Sallie Mae 10K.

But as soon as yesterday's race began, he left little doubt about who would win the District event, leading from start to finish and breaking the tape in 29 minutes 56 seconds.

Victoria Klimina won the women's race just as easily, finishing in 33:34. She passed Atalelech Ketema of Ethiopia (34:09) just after four miles and went on to win by 35 seconds.

Kipchirchir ran alone for most of the race and finished with a flourish. He easily beat fellow Kenyan Wilson Komen (30:24), who won the Pike's Peek 10K in Rockville last month, by 28 seconds.

"It was tough running by myself," said Kipchirchir, a 20-year-old who lives and trains in West Chester, Pa. "I used up a lot of energy. It wasn't a great time, but I was happy to win."

Kipchirchir won yesterday after twice finishing second in big races. Two weeks ago he was the runner-up in the Broad Street 10-Mile Run in Philadelphia. In April, he dueled with Reston miler Alan Webb at the Penn Relays before finishing second to the American standout in the Men's Olympic Development 5,000 meters.

Klimina won her second major area race in as many months. She dominated the competition at Pike's Peek and yesterday bettered her winning time there by 1:23. But she needed to come from behind to catch Ketema.

Klimina, a 28-year-old Russian who lives and trains in Gaithersburg, finished third at the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run in April. She said that yesterday's flat Hains Point course suited her well, despite relatively warm and humid conditions.

"I didn't run for a time, I ran to win the race," Klimina said through an interpreter. "The rain helped, but it was very humid. It was tough to run."

The race featured 1,206 finishers, including many top local athletes. Eric Kweder, a 26-year-old from Woodbridge, was the top area finisher in 31:02. Christina Wells, 29, from Woodbridge, was the top local woman in 35:17.