Biniam Mehari was the surprise winner of the 2023 Sofi Malt Great Ethiopian Run International 10km staged on Sunday 19th November 2023, winning the men’s elite race by a staggering 24 seconds and coming within a whisker of beating Deriba Merga’s 17-year old course record with a finishing time of 28 minutes and 18.72 seconds.
After the race Mehari, who is coached by the Hiluf Hihdego, husband to the 5000m world record holder Gudaf Tsegaye, made special mention of thanking his uncle Gebreegziabiher Gebremariam for his advice. Gebremariam won this race 21 years ago.
Staying with the leaders and allowing last year’s race winner Abe Gashahun to do much of the front running in the opening half of the race, Mehari made his move in the final 3km, overtaking Mezgebu Sime who had put in a strong surge on the tough hill past the presidential palace. Mehari had opened up a lead of 40m by 8km, but extended this to around 150m by the finish.
Zenebe Ayele finished 2nd in 28 minutes and 42 seconds, while Jirata Lelisa took 3rd in28 minutes and 26 seconds.
The women’s race was won by prerace favourite Melkinat Wudu after the late withdrawal of Medina Issa. Issa and Wudu are close friends and training partners under their coach Teddy Hailu, husband to Meseret Defar.
But it required a fierce final sprint for Wudu to see off the challenge of Megertu Alemu (2nd in this year’s London Marathon) who even tried to sprint clear in the race’s 400m. The top 2 finished in 32 minutes and 27 seconds and 32 minutes and 28 seconds respectively.
In third place was Tekien Amara who came past Robe Dida in the race’s closing stages.
The leading times in the women’s race were more than a minute slower than Yalemzerf Yehualaw’s course record (31:17) from 2021.
The leading non-Ethiopian athlete was Ugandan athlete Naman Kipyego who finished in 11th place in 29 minutes and 10 seconds.Both winners picked up prizes of 200,000 birr ($3,575) for their victories, a record winner’s prize for any race in Ethiopia.
For full results, click here