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Belay Tilahun wins the Bix 7, the first time an Ethiopian has won this race

Belay Tilahun of Ethiopia wins the Quad-City Times Bix 7. Tilahun finished second in 2016. Margaret Muriuki of Kenya captured the 2018 women's Quad-City Times Bix 7 on Saturday.  Belay Tilahun pulled away in the final mile to claim the victory, In a winning time of 32:37, Tilahun became the first runner from Ethiopia to win the Bix 7. “I’m very happy,” Tilahun told KWQC after beating NCAA 10K champion Ben Flanagan and 2016 U.S. Olympian Leonard Korir down the final stretch. Kipruto finished fifth and Mekonen crossed the line a few seconds later in sixth-place. Tilahun became the first Ethiopian man ever to win the Bix 7 after several near-misses in the past. Reigning NCAA 10,000-meter champion Ben Flanagan recorded the highest finish ever by a Canadian in the race, crossing the line in second place. Andrew Colley of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, took fourth, the highest an American has placed in an international field at Bix since Meb Keflezighi was third in 2013. It’s the highest a native-born American has finished since Ken Martin won the race in 1991. Colley was one of four Americans in the top 10. It’s the first time that has happened since that same 1991 race. But all of them were mere footnotes to Tilahun, who showed interviewers with hand gestures how he navigated the incessant hills of the course and was able to convey the fact that it helped him to have run Bix once before. Ethiopians have been very close to winning the Bix 7 in the past. Tilahun was second behind three-time winner Silas Kipruto in 2016 and Solomon Deksisa took second the year before that. In one of the strangest episodes in Bix history, Ethiopia’s Maregu Zewdie was leading coming down 4th Street in the 2008 Bix but stopped after crossing under the skywalk at the Davenport RiverCenter, thinking that was the finish line. Kenya’s Edward Muge zoomed past him to win. He had a small lead on Flanagan and the rest of the pack coming down Kirkwood in the fifth mile of the race when he decided to just take control. In what seemed little more than a blink of the eye, he opened about a 7-second margin over Flanagan. Stream TypeLIVE Loaded: 0% Progress: 0% 0:00 Fullscreen   00:00 Mute“I don’t know if surprised is the word but I was impressed,’’ said Flanagan, who just completed his college career at the University of Michigan last month. “I knew coming in here there was a lot of really experienced runners who knew the course well. That was very evident by that move. (07/30/2018) ⚡AMP

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