Alemayehu Dominates At The AFC Half

The Ethiopian, runner-up at last year's race, finally prevailed.

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The Ethiopian, runner-up at last year’s race, finally prevailed.

From: Running USA

SAN DIEGO – A sold-out field of more than 8,000 elite and recreational runners from 45 states and 16 countries participated in the 35th edition of the America’s Finest City Half Marathon and AFC 5K held on Sunday morning under sunny skies and temperatures in the low to upper-70s and relative humidity hovering at 84% at the start to 75% later in the morning.

Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Sendeku Alemayehu, last year’s AFC Half runner-up, returned to San Diego’s scenic streets with a vengeance, dominating the field with a 1 hour, 3 minute and 44 second wire-to-wire victory. Jeffrey Eggleston of Flagstaff, Arizona finished more than a minute back in 1:04:57, while Kirwa Meshack of Kenya rounded out the podium in 1:05:36.

RACE PHOTOS: AFC Half Marathon

Paula Whiting, a New Zealand citizen currently living in San Diego, captured the women’s crown, clocking 1:16:47. Alvina Begay of Flagstaff, Arizona finished more than a minute back (1:17:53) as runner-up. Natasha LaBeaud, of San Diego, placed third overall in the women’s division (1:18:01).

In the men’s race, Alemayehu was flying solo, opening up a 20-second lead on the entire field in the first mile. By mile 4, Alemayehu’s lead increased to 1:43, slightly decreasing to 1:38 at the 10K mark. But it was obvious early on that the 28-year-old was sailing through America’s Finest City with nary another runner in sight.

“At first, I thought the others would come up with me but they didn’t,” said Alemayehu, who lives and trains in Antioch, California. “It is hard to run a race alone but, because I train alone, it was a bit easier for me. I decided to just run my own race.”

The women’s elite race was a bit more sociable with leaders Begay, Whiting and LaBeaud on each other’s heels mid-way through the 13.1-mile tour of San Diego. Whiting, who ran for the University of Tulsa and is now a doctoral student in physical therapy at San Diego State University, managed to maintain her physical propulsion and stamina through the final miles better than her competition for the win.

“I eventually found my rhythm and made sure I took water at every aid station,” said Whiting.

Ludmila Petrova, 42, of Russia was the only top 10 Masters finisher in either the women’s and men’s races, posting a 1:20:09, good for fourth place.