|Ethiopia's Konjit Biruk (#7) and Tigist Tufa (81) went 1-2 in the 37th Marty and Tom Celic 4-Mile Run women's division at Clove Lakes Park.|
It was an Ethiopian invasion at the 37th Marty and Tom Celic 4-Mile Run Saturday as five runners from the African nation finished in the top eight and took down the men's and women's course records at Clove Lakes Park.
|Ethiopia's Haile Mengasha won the 37th Marty and Tom Celic 4-Mile Run in a course record time of 18 minutes, 33 seconds at Clove Lakes Park.|
Haile Mengasha ripped through the rolling and challenging layout in 18 minutes, 33.9 seconds, beating out countryman Mengstu Tabor (18:57.8) on a hot morning which saw 272 runners finish the race.
Mike Cassidy, however, spoiled the Ethiopians' flow with an overall third-place finish (20:07.5). Women's winner Konjit Biruk (21:31.2) and Tigist Tufu (21:35.7) both dipped under the ladies' standard.
Alem Kahsay, the winner's manager and coach and frequent winner on the Island road racing scene, spoke for his athletes, who each received $500 bonuses.
"Yes, we came here to break the records and win the prize money, but I wanted my athletes to experience what I have over the years coming here to race," a passionate Kahsay said. "This is my first home (in road racing) and I have friends here ... it is always nice to see them."
"I ran this race four or five times and never won," Kahsay, a Triple Crown winner, said. "Today, the challenge was the rolling hills, humidity and some walkers in the park with dogs on the course, but they enjoyed the race and the people."
The race will join the Staten Island Triple Crown series in 2014, remaining in its Labor Day weekend spot.
Cassidy, always a force, fell victim to the weather conditions on this short run.
"I was hoping to run a bit faster, but I think the humidity got to me," said Cassidy, who is in marathon training mode.
"I was looking to run 4:55 pace, but after the first mile (4:50) I wasn't feeling as comfortable. I didn't feel I got into a good rhythm."
And the Ethiopians?
"By the mile, they had about a 20-second gap," Cassidy said. "My hope was they were too ambitious and they would come back. They are very good runners." http://www.silive.com