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Meto credits Marshall for keeping him honest

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Photograph by Akil SimmonsUp the hill: Benjamin Meto leads Diriba Yigezu and Lamont Marshall as they head up the hill near Hermitage Road, Devonshire

Benjamin Meto set the pace throughout to claim the Bermuda 10K title in blustery conditions.

The 39-year-old Kenyan was a late entry and filled a void left by Jordan Chipangama, last year’s champion, and Harry Mulenga who was third in 2014. Meto looked comfortable throughout before breaking the tape in 31min 1sec after he and Bermudian Lamont Marshall were left out in front for the second half of the race.

Diriba Yigezu, of Ethiopia, was part of a three-man front pack for the first couple of miles but started to drop off behind Marshall after the first steep incline on Middle Road near Store Hill.

When Meto began to stretch his lead on Marshall to about 30 yards on the way to Flatts, the question was how close would Marshall get to the Kenyan as they headed up the North Shore.

Marshall got a loud cheer from the crowd as he ran past his Loyal Hill neighbourhood, with Yigezu farther back.

The rain stayed away this year, but the strong wind on the North Shore made it challenging for the runners as Meto’s time was 14 seconds slower than Chipangama’s winning time 12 months ago.

“The time was a little slower compared to what I run, about 29 minutes,” said Meto, who lives and trains in Mexico.

He added that he was happy to lead from the front. “I normally don’t wait for anybody, that’s why I was happy to lead. I saw that the other guy [Marshall] was strong.”

Meto said that he would be happy to come back and try to defend his title next year. “If I’m invited back, I’ll come,” he said. “It’s a good place.”

Yigezu was hoping to capitalise on the absence of Chipangama and Mulenga, but had to deal with Meto and the conditions.

“I found it very hard to race, I’m not happy with my result,” Yigezu said.

“I pushed to go out with the lead runners and was going to do the first mile with them. It wasn’t too fast, but I think I’m not in shape. The wind was hard so I just used my own pace to finish the race.”

Yigezu was almost two minutes slower than his time of 39:49 last year when he ran with a slight injury he picked up in the mile the night before. On Friday night, he was second in the smallest field seen for the Elite Men’s mile.

Heather Kampf followed up her hat-trick of wins in the Women’s Elite mile the night before by running to a first victory in the women’s 10K in 35:10.

The time was a 1½ minute quicker than last year’s 36.41 when she came second. In the absence of the defending champion Sara Brown, Kampf seized the opportunity to snatch victory as Charlotte Arter, of England, was third in 37:54.

“I definitely would prefer rain to wind but I felt really good out here today,” said Kampf, who celebrated her 28th birthday yesterday. “Coming from Minnesota, the conditions in Bermuda were a welcome change.

“It’s nice to see the sun and it is so comfortable running outdoors in the fresh air of Bermuda.

“I’ve been on the treadmill a lot in Minnesota lately so this is just gorgeous. I ran a bit with Charlotte and kind of pulled away at some point, though was hoping I could still be a target for her to follow.”