Lydia Kosgei, a former runner for Eastern Kentucky University and now a graduate assistant coach there, was all smiles Friday after winning the women's division of the Bluegrass 10,000.
What wasn't to be happy about after winning the first Bluegrass 10K she's ever entered?
"It's good," she said afterward. "Believe me. It's nice. It feels good."
Kosgei, 28, won with a time of 35:33.
Second place in the women's division went to defending champion Emily Frith, who covered the 6.2-mile course in eight fewer seconds than last year but finished 89 seconds behind Kosgei.
Kosgei found much to like about the race that courses mostly through downtown Lexington. "Super fast," she said. "No hills. Flat. Really nice."
She especially liked the weather: an unseasonably cool 57 degrees at the start.
"I couldn't imagine another weather (day) like this in the summer," she said. "That was great."
A native of Kenya, Kosgei said she had been influenced by that country's long history of producing top-flight distance runners.
"Once everybody sees someone achieve great things from running, everybody wants to go for that," she said. "They set goals higher to look just like that person did. When you see someone succeed, you want to try."
Her immediate family included runners.
"We have a family running background," she said. "I just wanted to follow their roots. I decided to run and go for a scholarship. It took me here to the United States. I ran for EKU and I'm still there."
Kosgei ran races from 800 meters to five kilometers for EKU. Now she works with the school's track and cross country teams.
"I like the 5K the most," she said. "Because it's short. Not too fast (like the sprints). I like the mile, too. I'm a mid-distance kind of person."
Kosgei never ran a 10K until she took up road racing after her college career ended.
"I like it because it's not just around the track," she said. "It's just straight."
Kosgei found this year's Bluegrass 10,000 enjoyable, and not simply because she finished first.
"I'll keep running, and I feel I have a long way to go in my running career," she said. "Seeing someone cheer for you and be happy for you, it keeps you going. It's not lonely. I like it, that moment when you're just running and you're thinking of stuff."
Jerry Tipton: (859) 231-3227. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @JerryTipton. Blog: ukbasketball.bloginky.com