Addis Ababa, EthiopiaEthiopia’s Genet Getaneh became the first woman to successfully defend her title when winning the women’s race at the 2005 Toyota Great Ethiopian Run 10Km road race today (27) in Addis Ababa.
Ketema Negussie won the men’s race in a new course record time, but Kenyan Nathan Naibei’s second-place performances was the first top-three finish by a non-Ethiopian in the event’s five-year history.
Men- Negussie’s late surge does the job
For the first time in five years, there was a separate start for elite racers this year and with a slightly modified course, the runners were the first to take advantage of a faster course and avoid the usual frantic start at the beginning of the race.
Nevertheless, it was Kenyan Abel Kirui who did much of the early running in the first kilometre with only Abebe Guta choosing to go with him. The leading duo covered the first 2Km in 5:20, but the fast pace did nothing to unsettle the other runners who comfortably sat back and let the pair take control.
A kilometre later, it seemed their patience had run out with the chase pack, including Kenyan Nathan Naibei and the Ethiopian duo of Diriba Mergia and Ketema Negussie, drawing even with the leading pair.
Naibei, who finished fourth in the 3000m Steeplechase at World Youth Championships in Marrakech last summer, led a pack of five that included Mergia, Amdemichael Tereda, Gurmessa Kumsa, and Negussie through the half-way mark and looked comfortable, holding his own against Ethiopia’s elite club runners.
The lead exchanged between athletes in this pack until the seventh kilometre when Naibei threatened to pull away, taking only Mergia and Negussie with him. The trio slowed in this uphill portion of the course, but along the flat 100m leading up to the 8km mark, Mergia surged forward to open a 20 metre gap on the other two, but his margin was quickly closed down.
At 9.2Km, Mergia’s lack of racing experience showed when Naibei and Negussie sped past him to set up a fantastic two-horse race for the finish. The two moved into the entrance of the Meskel Square neck-and-neck, but it Negussie who had the legs to sprint forward and take victory in 28:24.13. Naibei held on for second, reaching the line to a round of applause from the crowd in 28:25.43 with a tired Mergia in third.
After the race, Negussie said that the new course and solid training were the reasons for his victory.
“I had wanted to run last year, but I was injured,” said Negussie. “I am very happy to win. It was the result of my hard training.”
Negussie who runs for Muger, the same club as Ethiopia’s Olympic and two-time World 10,000m champion Kenenisa Bekele and former World and Olympic Marathon champion Gezhagne Abera, is coached by national team coach Tolosa Kotu and was a member of Ethiopia’s team at the 2003 and 2004 World cross country championships.
The runner-up Naibei was thrilled to have ended Ethiopia’s domination of the top-three positions.
“I feel great like the Great Ethiopian Run,” Naibei joked after the race. “This is good preparation for running international road races and I hope to be back here next year.”
Pre-race favourite Yebeltal Admassu did not start the race.
Women- Getaneh wins again
Getaneh emerged on the international scene last year when beating former World Cross Country bronze medallist Teyiba Erkesso in this race last year, but she made the event hers this year with what is now a typical show of experience to beat her Ethiopian colleagues.
There was nothing to choose among the 15 runners that assembled into a leading pack after the first 5Km. Two kilometres later, about nine runners were left which quickly became six by the eighth kilometre. It was the diminutive Ahaza Kiros, second in last year’s Addis Ababa Municipal Cross Country Championships who surged ahead at the nine kilometre mark with only Getaneh and Yenealem Ayano moving with her.
Kiros increased her pace towards the finish and looked odds on for the victory, but Getaneh stole victory from under her nose in 33:05.13 by just three-tenths of a second in probably the tightest ever finish in the history of the race.
“This year’s course was fast and there was no pushing so that the race was fast,” said Getaneh after smashing her own course record. “I am very happy with my finish.”
Elshadai Negash for the IAAF
2005 TOYOTA Great Ethiopian Run Official Results (extended times, with club affiliation for Ethiopian athletes)
1. Ketema Negussie (Muger) 28:24.13
2. Nathan Naibei (Kenya) 28:25.43
3. Deriba Mergia (Global) 28:34.82
4. Ibrahim Jeylan (Muger) 28:45.99
5. Gurmessa Kumsa (Muger) 28:48.20
6. Dereje Tadesse (Unity University) 28:54.78
7. Worku Beyi (Oromiya Prisons) 29:01.74
8. Assefa Negussu (Omedla) 29:02.18
9. Ayalew Ahmed (Prisons) 29:02.55
10. Tebebu Yenew (Prisons) 29:06.34
1. Genet Getaneh (Prisons) 33:05.13
2. Ahaza Kiros (EEPCO) 33:05.43
3. Yenealem Ayano (Rental Houses) 33:13.06
4. Zebenay Moges (Bruh Tesfa) 33:16.38
5. Azalech Masresha (Muger) 33:23.95
6. Aselefech Asefa (Muger) 33:28.31
7. Ashu Kasim (Prisons) 33:28.69
8. Letay Negash (Prisons) 33:30.13
9. Makida Haroun (Prisons) 33:32.79
10. Yemenashu Taye (Omedla) 33:47.94