Morocco’s Harroufi will try to defend title at Bolder Boulder |

Morocco’s Harroufi will try to defend title at Bolder Boulder

BOULDER – Ryan Hall has a little extra “pop” in his legs, the result of taking a month off from racing.The U.S. distance runner is hoping he’s refreshed enough to give Morocco’s Ridouane Harroufi a run for his title at the 30th edition of the Bolder Boulder 10K road race on Memorial Day.Hall hasn’t competed since his fifth-place finish at the London Marathon in early April, where he turned in a personal-best time of 2:06.17.”I took a break and got all my juice back,” said Hall, who also won the marathon at the U.S. Olympic trials last November in New York. “I have a little more pop … I want to say I’m not in tiptop shape, but I am fresher than I usually am.”Harroufi won the Bolder Boulder last spring in a time of 29:52, collecting the $3,000 award that goes with it.Hall and John Korir of Kenya could be his biggest challengers. Harroufi lost to Korir by four seconds at the Bay to Breakers 12K race in San Francisco on May 18.”This is a fine field,” Harroufi said. “I’m stronger than I was last year. This is a good training stop in getting ready for the Olympics.”Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat is pregnant and won’t be on hand to defend her women’s title, opening the door for Deena Kastor, the winner of the event three straight years from 2001-03.”Deena is the clear cut favorite this year,” said Don Janicki, the race’s pro athlete coordinator.Kastor earned an Olympic berth in the marathon a month ago when she won the trials in Boston.Like Hall, she enters the race Monday well-rested.”I feel good because I took a week off completely from running after the trials,” Kastor said. “I’m fired up and excited.”Her biggest obstacle may be Elva Dryer, who won the event in 2005. Dryer is using the Bolder Boulder as a gauge to see how she’s doing as she transitions from the marathon over to the 10K for the Olympic trials in June.Dryer didn’t qualify for the U.S. team in the marathon.”It is a check for me to see how I’m coming along in the thick of training,” she said.Janicki said he thought Ethiopia’s Amane Gobena could be a factor in the race as well. Gobena finished second last year.”Elva could be tough. Amane will be tough,” Janicki said.Hall is making his first-ever appearance in Boulder, and can see the city’s appeal to distance runners. Boulder is around 5,400 feet in elevation, making it an ideal spot for high-altitude training.”I was running this morning and thought, ‘I should have come to CU,”‘ the Stanford product joked Saturday. “I love training and living at altitude so I always wanted to come run this one.”This may be Hall’s last race before the Olympics. After Monday, it’s all about logging miles.As for the high pollution levels in Beijing, Hall said he’s not worried about it. In fact, he won’t give it a second thought.”If you think about it a lot, if you’re worried about it, you’re just making it hard on yourself,” he said. “It doesn’t help to worry about it. I believe they will clean it up … We will take the preparations to be prepared if it’s not.”Hall’s strategy for the Bolder Boulder will be simple – run a smart, scrappy race.”And try to beat every guy I can,” he said.Although, Harroufi will be hard to dethrone, and Korir is running well entering the event.”I think it will be a fast course run by a pretty fast group,” Korir said.Hall may just need that extra “pop” in his legs.

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