Nijmegen, The Netherlands - The 28th edition of the ABN-AMRO Zevenheuvelenloop (Seven Hills Run) over 15 kilometres, today (20), witnessed a double Ethiopian.
The Zevenheuvelenloop is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race.
World famous Haile Gebrselassie won the men's race in 42:44 with a wide margin over Kenyan Vincent Kipruo (43:15) and Eritrean Samsom Gezaihai (43:56). Waganesh Mekasha was the women's winner in 48:33. She was way ahead of two Japanese runners. Aki Odagiri took second place in 49:42 and Ayame Takagiri was third in 49:44.
Beginning too slow for Haile
For Gebrselassie this was his third victory in Nijmegen. The 38-year-old ‘Emperor of the Road’ had taken earlier wins here in 1994 and 2005. He clocked his best winning time in 2005 with 41:57. In 2001 he placed second in a personal best of 41:38 (41:37.8) behind Felix Limo who set a World record of 41:29 (41:28.8).
From the beginning of today’s race Gebrselassie was accompanied by Kipruto and Gezahai. The trio passed the 5km marker in 14:38.
“The beginning was too slow'' Gebrselassie said after his victory. The Ethiopian grandmaster, who is preparing for the Tokyo Marathon in February where he hopes to qualify for the London Olympic Games Marathon, left his two opponents around half way.
At 10km, which he passed in 28:35, he was already ten seconds ahead of Kipruto. Gezahai was further back at 28:57. In his smooth style Gebrselassie went on and cheered by thousands of spectators the former marathon World record holder finished with his trademark smile.
Dutchman Patrick Stitzinger took fourth place in 44:28.
Mekasha goes solo
The women's race was a one woman show by Waganesh Mekasha, the fourth place finisher in this year's junior race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships. At the 5 kilometres point which she passed in 16:25, the former Olympic Marathon champion Mizuki Noguchi (2004) was one second back.
Mekasha passed 10km in 32:30 followed by three Japanese women: Noguchi (33:10), Odagiri (33:13) and Takagi (33:15). In the final five kilometres Noguchi faded away and was overtaken by Odagiri and Takagi, who sprinted it out for second place. In the last kilometres Noguchi was also passed by compatriot Erika Ikeda who took fourth place in 50:06.
Over 33,000 runners were on the starting list but lots of them missed the start due to a heavy fog which descended on large areas of the Low Countries.
Wim van Hemert for the IAAF
1. Haile Gebrselassie ETH 42:44
2. Vincent Kipruto KEN 43:15
3. Samsom Gezahai ERI 43:56
4. Patrick Stitzinger NED 44:28
5. Peter Kibet UGA 44:31
6. Koen Raymaekers NED 44:33
7. Jesper van der Wielen NED 44:36
8. Thomas Poesiat NED 44:54
9. David Barmasai Tumo KEN 45:14
10. Henrik Them DEN 45:16
1. Waganesh Mekasha ETH 48:33
2. Aki Odagiri JPN 49:42
3. Ayame Takagi JPN 49:44
4. Erika Ikeda JPN 50:07
5. Mizuki Noguchi JPN 50:25
6. Eri Yagi JPN 51:05
7. Elizaba Cherono KEN 51:39
8. Miranda Boonstra NED 51:39