Ben Kipkurui, Kevin Sullivan to run at Drake Relays

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    DES MOINES, IOWA — Just three days after securing 2004 U.S. Olympian Charlie Gruber, Drake Relays director Mark Kostek has disclosed that Kenya’s Ben Kipkurui, who has run the fastest outdoor mile in the world this year, along with two-time Canadian Olympian Kevin Sullivan, have been added to the men’s invitational mile at 3:14 p.m. during the Saturday (April 30) session of the Drake Relays.

    Kipkurui, 24, won the invitational mile at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., Sunday, being clocked in a 2005 world outdoor best of 3 minutes 56.08 seconds.

    He has run a personal best in the mile of 3:49.34 at the 2000 Van Damme Memorial Meet in Brussels, Belgium.

    Arguably the best 1,500-meter runner in Canadian track and field history, Sullivan was fifth in the 1,500 at the 2000 Olympics. He also advanced to the semifinal round in the 1,500 at the 2004 Olympics.

    Kipkurui’s sterling performance at the Mt. SAC Relays continued a remarkable season in which he ran a personal indoor best in the 1,500 of 3:42.44 at the Flanders Indoor meet in Gent, Belgium, Feb. 6.

    Kipkurui ran a 2004 season outdoor best in the 1,500 of 3:33.22 in Heusden, Belgium. He won a silver medal in the 1,500 at the 1998 World Junior Outdoor Championships.

    Sullivan set the Canadian national record in the 1,500 of 3:31.71 in 2000 at the Golden Gala in Rome, Italy. A month later he set the national mark in the mile at 3:50.26 at the 2000 Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway. He was second in the mile at the 2001 Goodwill Games.

    A 1998 graduate of Michigan, Sullivan is widely considered one of the top distance runners in Big Ten Conference history as he became just the third runner in Big Ten history to win four consecutive cross-country titles. He also won four straight indoor mile and 1,500 crowns at Big Ten Conference Championships.

    He posted a 2004 season best of 3:58.35 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore.

    The invitational mile field also includes James Karanu of Kenya, who owns a personal best of 3:56.72 in 2001; David Rotich of Kenya, a former Spring Arbor two-time NAIA national champion in the 800; Luke Watson, a former Notre Dame All-American who was 83rd in the 4k short course at the 2005 World Cross Country Championships; Matt Groose, a former three-time NCAA Division III 800 champion at Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and Toby Henkels.

    Karanu, 29, was sixth in the 800 at the 1999 World University Games. He placed fifth in the mile at the 2004 Millrose Games. He owns a personal best of 3:56.72 at the 2001 Adidas Classic in Portland, Ore.

    Watson, 24, was second in the 3,000 (7:57.92) at the 2004 U.S. Indoor Championships and third in the 2005 meet. He was ranked fourth in the U.S. in the 3,000 last year by Track and Field News.

    He owns a personal best of 3:57.83 in the mile set at the 2003 Meyo Invitational in Notre Dame, Ind. He was third in the mile at the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships. He was a six-time Big East Conference champion and holder of five school records. He was fifth in the 2001 NCAA Cross Country Championships.

    Grosse, who finished seventh in the 1,500 at the 2005 U.S. Indoor Championships, owns a personal best of 4:03.77 in the mile en route to finishing third at the 2003 Drake Relays.

    Henkels, 25, a former University of Minnesota standout, posted a personal best of 3:45.73 in the 1,500 at the 2004 Big Red Invitational in Bloomington, Ind.

    For more information on the Drake Relays visit the website at

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