Ethiopia’s Olympic marathon bronze medallist Tsegaye Kebede fine-tuned his preparations for April’s Flora London Marathon with a comfortable victory on Sunday (16) in the Major General Hayelom Araya Memorial, an annual 15km race that serves as the Ethiopian national championships, in Harar, east of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
In the women’s race, little-known runner Roman Gebru took a closely-fought contest from Terfe Tsegaye with race favourite Atsede Bayissa forced to settle for fifth.
MEN - Kebede dominates
As part of its efforts to promote athletics across all regions of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF) organized this race for the first time in the Harari region which is one of Ethiopia’s iconic cultural and religious centres.
The race was an early chance for selectors to assess the prospects of up and coming runners, but it was also an opportunity for full marathon runners to test their speed ahead of big city marathons in March and April.
There was no doubt who the favourite in the men’s race was even before the onset. An Olympic bronze has transformed Kebede from a regular marathon runner to a public figure over the last six months since his Beijing success.
The 21-year-old, who improved his full marathon personal best to 2:06:10 in Fukuoka late last year, was in commanding form throughout the race and won by nearly thirteen seconds from fellow Defence Club runner Dereje Debele. Tariku Jufar, the other high-profile marathon runner in the field, had to settle for sixth.
WOMEN - Gebru shocks Bayissa
The domestic circuit in Ethiopia continued to produce shocks in the women’s race with little-known runner Roman Gebru beating Atsede Bayissa, who is the second fastest Ethiopian over the half marathon.
21-year-old Gebru took control of the race in the final kilometres before taking a decisive victory in 53:45.03. A struggling Bayissa had to settle for fifth.
Culled from IAAF/Elshadai Negash for the IAAF