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Third time lucky for Yigezu

Leaving the rest behind: Yigezu made a powerful surge to leave competitors trailing in his wake at the KPMG Front Street Mile elite men’s race last night (Phyotograph by Blaire Simmons)

Third time proved to be a charm for Diriba Degefa Yigezu who came from behind to capture a maiden KPMG Bermuda Front Street Mile Elite Men’s title last night.

Twice before the Ethiopian runner had come up short in his glory bid.

But in perfect conditions Yigezu would not be denied on this occasion as he picked the right moment to surge to the front and show the charging Ford Palmer and Travis Mahoney a clean set of heels the rest of the way before hitting the tape in 4mins, 08.78secs.

“It’s very nice to win,” he said. “The first 800 metres was a little bit slow but after I took the lead it was little bit fast in the second half.

“I prepared for this race like two months ago with my friend in Bermuda, and so I had a strategy for this race. This is my third time in this race and so I knew what place is good and what place was difficult.

“I tried to follow the runners until like 600 metres and leave them at the second corner, which I particularly like, and then use all of my energy over the final 200 metres.”

Yigezu’s time was well shy of his personal best in the mile, which stands at 3mins 54 secs.

“I am not happy with my time because 4:08 is no good for us,” he said. “I wanted to run under four minutes because I have done it three times before. I have run 3:54, 3:57 and 3:56.

“It’s very hard to get under four minutes here. But it’s OK because I got the win and I am happy.”

American Palmer gave it everything he had in pursuit of the leader but was unable to reel him in and had to settle for second after crossing the line in 4:10.81.

“I was really hoping for first place but the first place guy really took off when we hit the downhill and kind of got more on me than I wanted him to and held on for the win,” he said.

“The conditions were beautiful. They were perfect; no wind, moderate temperature — it was everything you could ask for a runner. It was a great race. I love the environment, the fans are incredible and I can’t wait to come back.”

Mahoney, the American who set the early pace, rounded off the podium in 4:11.8.

Claiming victory in the Adult Local Men’s 18 to 39 division was Coyatito Smith in 4mins 56.2secs.

Policeman and football referee Stephen Allen, a multiple winner in this event, was a close second in 4:58.2 while Christopher Hands, the fastest qualifier, came third in 5:01.26.

The Adult Local Men’s 40 plus title went to Christopher Harris in 5 mins 00.46secs.

Craig Rothwell was a distant second in 5:16.26 and Glen Wilks third in 5:24.76.