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Ethiopia’s Aberu Mekuria won the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon with the second fastest time in the history of the IAAF Silver Label Road Race. , The men’s race was also won by compatriot Girmay Birhanu, it was his fourth marathon in seven months.
The women’s race was dominated by Ethiopians with four of the top six places filled by their contingent. The heavily favored Meselech Melkamu was leading the large pack for most of the race but that same group whittled down to just three by 40km.
It was shortly after that point Aberu put her foot down and opened a gap, holding it all the way to the finish line.
The men’s race saw a pack of eight runners early on but with a series of turns coupled with a windy stretch, many began to struggle.
The pack passed the half way point in 1:03:17 and there were high hopes that Yemane Tsegay’s 2014 course record of 2:06:54 would be broken.
Indeed, Girmay seemed intent on not only winning, but taking the record as well. With a personal best of 2:05:49 from the 2014 Dubai Marathon, he is certainly capable of such a time.
The 28-year-old Girmay surged at 35km to open a gap on Kenyans Philip Kangogo and Alfers Lagat. Though he often glanced over his shoulder and then at his watch, it turned out he didn’t need to worry.
Kangogo was next to cross the line in a time of 2:09:56, while Lagat faded to sixth place in 2:11:28. It was another Ethiopian, Chala Dechasa, who claimed the third place at a time of 2:09:59.
Seven weeks ago, Girmay won the Daegu Marathon in 2:07:26 and in January he was eighth in Dubai, clocking 2:08:56. Last October he won in Beijing with a 2:10:42 time.
The athlete plans to invest his considerable winnings in a business like many of the other leading Ethiopians in his profession.