Ethiopia's Meseret Defar has become the first three-time women's champion of the Carlsbad 5000, sponsored by Nuvasive, after winning the women's elite invitational in a time of 15 minutes and 4 seconds over the 3.1 mile course yesterday.
In the men's race, Kenya's Eluid Kipchoge crossed the finish line in 13:11, fourth fastest time ever run over the 25 year history of the internationally renowned road race.
Kipchoge, 25, a two-time Olympic medalist over 5,000m, came to Carlsbad with a world record on his mind, and gave a record-worthy performance under overcast, but breezy conditions.
He led the lead pack through the first mile in 4:10, pushing the Ethiopian trio of Dejen Gebremeskel, Bekana Daba and Markos Geneti.
The group of four continued together, battling a coastal headwind, reaching the two-mile mark in 8:25, when Kipchoge made his move to victory.
"This is a fantastic course and a fantastic crowd. I felt ready to run a 12:58," said Kipchoge, after running his debut 5k road race and becoming the third fastest individual all-time.
"The wind was too much and unfortunately I didn't get it, but it's not the last time, I will have to try again next year."
Second place went to Gebremeskel in 13:18, with the defending champion Daba finishing six seconds back in 13:24. The top American was Joe Gray of Lakewood, WA, who took 10th in 14:37.
The prohibitive favorite to win the women's race, Defar, started in hopes of lowering her own world record of 14:46, at Carlsbad in 2006. She took the lead immediately, pulling countrywomen Aheza Kiros and Mekerem Assefa behind her.
The 2004 Olympic champion steadily separated herself from the other two over the closing two miles and charged through the finish at 15:04.
Like Kipchoge, she did not blame lack of sufficient fitness for her failure to take down history's best mark.
"My goal was the record, but the weather was not good and we went out a little fast," said Dafar, who earned $5,000 for the victory.
"I think my fitness is good, and maybe in the summer I will break the world record for 5000 meters. However, I am not disappointed because it's my own record."
Last year's champion, Kiros held on for second in 15:26, with Assefa finishing third in 15:55.
The event is the home of the current world 5K road records: 13:00, Sammy Kipketer (KEN), 2000 & 2001, and 14:46, Meseret Defar (ETH), 2006.
The 26th Carlsbad 5000 is set for Sunday, April 3, 2011.
- Eliud Kipchoge, KEN, 13:11, $5,000
- Dejen Gebremekel, ETH, 13:18, $3,500
- Bekana Daba, ETH, 13:24, $2,000
- Markos Geneti, ETH, 13:34, $1,000
- Simon Ndriangu, Kenya, 13:40, $800
- Meseret Defar, ETH, 15:04, $5,000
- Aheza Kiros, ETH, 15:26, $3,500
- Meskerem Assefa, ETH, 15:55, $2,000
- Malindi Elmore, CAN, 16:00, $1000
- Karolina Jarzynska, POL, 16:04, $800