Kenyans Nicholas Kurgat and John Korir are loyal friends, training partners and fierce competitors who often alternate finishing first in the races they run together. Yesterday, it was Kurgat, 25, who prevailed in the last 800 meters of the sixth annual five-kilometer PVI Runfest, finishing in 14 minutes 58 seconds.
The Runfest started and ended at Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax and included a double loop around Lee Highway and Main Street. Approximately 565 runners finished the race, which was dedicated to Lance Cpl. Nicholas Kirven, a Marine and 2002 graduate of Paul VI who was killed in Afghanistan in May.
Korir, who trains with Kurgat in Chapel Hill, N.C., finished second in 15:14. He said he and Kurgat were both pleased with their times but fell a few seconds short of their goals because of humidity and an unfamiliar course.
"The humidity surprised us, and we did not know the course, which we were sorry for later, but on the second loop we felt better and went faster," Korir said. "We aimed for about 4:50 miles, and then on the last slope [Kurgat] just had more stamina and went ahead."
Michael Wardian, 31, of Arlington, finished third in 15:37.
"This is a first-class race," Wardian said. "I was pleased with my time because it was about 10 seconds faster than my time yesterday. I just wanted to stay in sight of the Kenyans."
Wardian won Saturday's Gulf Coast Relief 5K in Alexandria in 15:48.
Russian Elena Orlova, 35, was the top women's finisher yesterday in 16:49. Russian Olga Romanova, 25, was second (17:02). The pair ran an even pace for both loops, with Orlova staying about 50 meters in front of Romanova throughout the course.
"I wanted to beat the course record today, but I am training for the Detroit Marathon and was feeling a bit tired, so hopefully next year," Orlova said.
Alisa Harvey, 40, of Manassas, finished third overall and set a master's record in 17:48.
Harvey finished first in the 2000 Runfest in 17:36, just 12 seconds faster then the master's record she set yesterday.
"I had a really good tactical race and a strong finish. I stayed in a nice rhythm, and had good control, so I was able to have enough kick for the finish," she said.
Harvey said her strategy was to stick with the second group of runners behind the two Russian women.
"I am just so happy about it all," she said.