Ethiopian Jamel Yimer (21) blew apart a large pack of runners in the seventh mile and hung on to beat Ethiopian-born Ayalew Yimer (25) by five seconds, an eternity for a race that usually sees closer margins at the finish line. His 4617 is the fastest winning time since Stephen Sambu‘s 45:29, save for 2015 when the race was only 9.39 miles.Meanwhile Ethiopian Buze Diriba won the women’s race after two straight runner-up finishes here.
“I knew I was going to win at 12k,” Jamel Yimer said. “I didn’t run the time I wanted to, but I am happy with the win. My training was going very well, so I was confident I could beat anyone in the field.”
Yimer ran his first half marathon in 59:00, earlier this year in the United Arab Emirates.
Portland’s Chris Derrick was the first American, running 46:53 for fifth overall.
“I wanted to sit back in the pack, because it was pretty big and we had some guys with firepower in there,” he said. “I didn’t quite have my top fitness with me, but I was happy with how I was able to battle a little bit.”
D.C.’s Clint McKelvey was the top local men’s finisher in 50:14, edging Jeff Stein by five seconds. Paul Thistle (50:32) edged Matthew Centrowitz, the 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist in the 1500 meters who ran 50:38 for 30th place. Greg Mariano rounded out local finishers in 38th place in 52:22.
Diriba’s 3-second victory over Gebrekidan in 53:45 was much tighter than recent women’s races, excluding 2015. Last year, Gebrekidan (22) won with a 15-second lead over Diriba (24).