(2022)Twenty-two-year-old Yalemzerf Yehualew opened her 2022 season in spectacular style by claiming a repeat victory at today’s rescheduled 2021 TotalEnergies Great Ethiopian Run 10km.
Her winning time of 31 minutes and 16 seconds was thirty-one seconds faster than her winning time two years ago, as she came home a clear winner ahead of Girmawit Gebregziabiher. In third place was the 17-year old 2021 World Junior 5000m silver medallist Melkanat Wudu, making her first appearance in the international 10km.
The men’s race turned into a much closer race, with 6 athletes still together as they came into the final 500 meters. Gemechu Dida took a surprise victory over former Dubai Marathon champion Getaneh Molla, with less than a second separating the first three athletes. Boki Diriba finished 3rd. Dida’s winning time was 28 minutes and 23 seconds.
Yalemzerf came into the race eager to impress after having to withdraw from the Valencia 10km just two weeks ago. At Friday’s press conference she spoke about her aim of reclaiming the world half-marathon record from compatriot Letesenbet Giday.
Today she ran a clever race, making her break from long-time leader Girmawit just past the 7.5km mark after cresting the hill near the National Palace. At the 9km turn at Urael Church Yalemzerf accelerated dramatically and easily pulled clear of her rival, and looked fresh and relaxed as she cruised into the finish with a winning margin of 12 seconds. She revealed after the race that she was wearing a new pair of shoes which she had received from her agent an hour before the start of today’s race.
In the men’s race, the highest placed non-Ethiopian athlete was Cornelius Kibet Kemboi who finished in 6th place in a time of 28 minutes and 38 seconds. Rodgers Kibet from Uganda was 11th, Shadrack Kipngetich from Kenya was 16th and Samson Amare from Eritrea was 18th.
Both men’s and women’s winners took home cash prizes of 100,000 birr (just over USD $2,000).
A total of 17,600 finished the race. The mass race which started less than ten minutes after the start of the elite races was set off from three approach roads in waves of participants wearing green, yellow, and red t-shirts, the colors of Ethiopia’s flag.