Ethiopians dominate the podium
Ethiopian runners stamped their authority on the PwC Bermuda Half-Marathon, securing all but one of the spots on the men’s and women’s podium yesterday.
Abdulmenan Kasim Gelatu, Abu Kebede Diriba and Temesgen Habtemariam Bekele made a clean sweep of the men’s podium while Nuhamin Bogale Ashame won the women’s title and Meseret Ali Basa crossed the finish line in third.
Gelatu passed leader Diriba around the halfway mark of the 13.1-mile race and maintained control the rest of the way before crossing the finish line near Barr’s Bay Park in 1hr 7min 42sec.
“This is my first time competing here and it feels good to win,” said Gelatu, who finished runner-up in BF&M Bermuda 10K the previous day.
“I was hoping to run 1:15 but the course was hard and very hilly.
“It was also very windy but the conditions were better than for the mile and 10K.”
Diriba set the early pace before suffering an injury, which all but ended his bid for an elusive win.
He finished in 1:08:33 to secure runners-up honours for the second time.
“I was leading up to seven miles and then [Gelatu] passed me,” Diriba said. “My thigh was tight. This is my second time coming second. I try to win, but hopefully next year.”
Bekele took third in 1hr 10min 3sec to complete Ethiopia’s impressive sweep.
Ashame led the women’s field across the line in 1hr 18min 9sec to end her weekend on a winning note, having finished third in the Elite Mile and second in the 10K.
She said: “I am so happy. The race was challenging and I did a good job and so I’m happy.
“The race was challenging but I like it. It’s good for us and I was feeling good.
“This is my first time to Bermuda and I like it. The land is beautiful and the people are also very good.”
Therese Haiss, of the United States, finished second in the women’s field in a personal best time of 1:18:34.
“I’m super happy with it. I was hoping for top three, came in second and definitely huge PR, so I’m thrilled,” said Haiss, who finished second in the Elite Mile and third in the 10K.
Basa finished in 1:20:01 to claim the third and final spot on the women’s podium.
Spencer Butterfield led the local men’s field across the line and was sixth overall in a personal best 1:17:16.
“I was going to go out more conservatively, but I felt good and kind of had some confidence from feeling good in the mile and 10K,” he said.
Butterfield said he exceeded his expectations.
“My target was to get below 1:25 so it was the best half I’ve ever done,” he added.
“The conditions were excellent. It was nice and cool and the breeze didn’t effect us much.”
Deon Breary was the top local in the women’s field, covering the distance in 1:33:35.
“I was pleased with my performance,” she said. “The last three miles I was having some calf injuries, but I pulled through it.
“The course wasn’t that tough and the conditions were perfect for running, nice and cold.”
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