Meseret Defar of Ethiopia on the way to 2007 Carlsbad 5k title (Victah Sailer) © Copyright
General News Carlsbad, California, USA

Defar retains Carlsbad title

In her fifth appearance at the Carlsbad 5000, 23-year-old Meseret Defar of Ethiopia yesterday (1) became the first woman to successfully defend her title in the race in its 22-year history.

The Olympic 5000m track champion won the 5km road race in a time of 15:01, falling short in her attempt at also breaking the unofficial World best for the second year in a row.

In 2006, Defar broke the unofficial World best at Carlsbad, shattering the previous mark by five seconds when she ran 14:46. She had hoped to run 14:40 this year.

"I felt good, I felt strong," Defar said of her performance Sunday. "Sometimes, it's just like this."

American Jen Rhines, 32, finished second (15:21), in front of Ethiopian Aheza Kiros, who was third in 15:25.

"The course lived up to everything I'd heard," Rhines said of her debut at the Carlsbad 5000. "I wanted to go out fast in the first mile and keep Meseret as close as possible."

In the men's race, a new champion was crowned. In his first race on American soil, Kenyan Simon Ndirangu, 26, won in a time of 13:28. Racing conditions were "perfect…I liked the course," said Ndirangu. "After mile two, I knew I would win the race."

1970s track star Henry Rono, 55, marked his return to racing as he placed second in his age division (55-59) in a time of 17:48.

"This was a very uplifting experience," Rono said as the spoke with reporters at the finish line and received congratulations from fellow racers. "I let my body lead me. It is good to be back."

Ian Monahan for the IAAF


1) Meseret Defar, 23, Ethiopia, 15:01,
2) Jen Rhines, 32, USA/CA, 15:21,
3) Aheza Kiros, 25, Ethiopia, 15:25,
4) Malindi Elmore, 27, Canada, 15:40,
5) Kate O'Neill, 26, USA/CA, 15:52,
6) Sara Hall, 24, USA/CA, 15:52,
7) Yimenashu Taye, 27, Ethiopia, 15:58,
8) Deidre Byrne, 24, Ireland, 16:13,
9) Meskerem Legesse, 20, Ethiopia, 16:20,
10) Christin Wurth, 25, USA/AR, 16:30,

1) Simon Ndirangu, 26, Kenya, 13:28,
2) Juan Luis Barrios, 23, Mexico, 13:32,
3) David Galvan, 33, Mexico, 13:42,
4) Boaz Cheboiywo, 29, Mexico, 13:55,
5) Nicodemus Malakwen, 25, Kenya, 14:06,
6) Solomon Kandie, 28, Kenya, 14:16,
7) Robert Cheseret, 23, Kenya, 14:17,
8) Samuel Kogei, 21, Kenya, 14:20,
9) Dmitry Safronov, 25, Russia, 14:21,
10) Kris Houghton, 25, USA/NM, 14:35,