Ethiopians capture top five spots in Bolder Boulder elite races

June 1st, 2010 Print Print Email Email

BOULDER — The Ethiopians left no doubt about who owned today’s elite fields in the Bolder Boulder 10-kilometer race.

Ethiopian runners swept the top three spots in the elite men’s race, stepping across the finish line with their hands locked together in a sign of team unity that drew a thunderous roar from the thousands seated inside Folsom Field to watch the finish. Lelisa Desisa, officially credited with the individual win in 29 minutes, 17 seconds, was followed by Tilahun Regassa in the same time and Tadese Tola in 29:18.

In the women’s race, the six runners comprising teams Kenya and Ethiopia broke away from the rest of the field early, hammering through the first mile in less than five minutes. From there, the

race became a test of who could persevere through the relentless pace.

Mamitu Daska eventually led a 1-2 Ethiopia finish in 32:28, the second fastest time in the 32-year history of the Bolder Boulder — an all-the-more-impressive accomplishment because of warm race-time temperatures. Her teammate, Amane Gobena, passed Kenya’s Emily Chebet late in the race to secure second place in 33:11, and Chebet took third.

The crowd gathered at Folson Field came to life around mid-morning, erupting in applause when a dozen U.S. Marines, running in formation, entered the stadium carrying an American and Marine Corps flag side-by-side as part of a Memorial Day tribute. They veered off yards before the finish line, dropped to the ground and gritted through several push-ups before returning to formation and finishing to even louder cheers.

Athletes with strong Colorado connections captured the top spots in the men’s and women’s citizen races.

Cassie Slade, 26, of Highlands Ranch, was competing in her fifth Bolder Boulder and second competitive one, she said, but had yet to win it until today. She finished in 35:12, eclipsing her time last year of 36:28, a race in which she finished as the fifth female overall.


Cassie Slade, 26, of Highlands Ranch, was the women’s citizen race winner. More photos. (John Leyba, The Denver Post)the race’s start, she wasn’t even at the front of the starting line, she said, but behind five rows of runners.

“I started out more conservatively than I normally do,” Slade said. “I started back five rows because I know so many people go out (fast) and die. I know I’d get caught up in the race too early and then hurt myself in the end.

Slade, a transportation engineer, competed in college for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte both as an undergraduate and graduate, earning her master’s in 2006.

She raced today in preparation for the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, June 23-27, when she hopes to be among the top 10 finishers and run in the low 33-minute range for 10K on the track. A month ago at the Stanford Invitational in California, Slade set her 10K personal best of 33:37.

“Everyone was screaming, ‘You’re the first girl! Go!,” Slade said of the Bolder Boulder crowd. “They were awesome and so excited even though it was so early.”

Brian Medigovich, a 22-year-old native of San Luis Obispo, Calif., won the men’s race — his first Bolder Boulder attempt — in 30:14.44. He graduated this year from Adams State, where he set personal bests of 13:29 in 5K and 28:40 in the 10K.

“We were all together at the mile,” Medigovich said. “We got to the hill, and I think I broke away a little bit, but not more than maybe three or four seconds.”

It wasn’t until the third and fourth miles that

Alamosa’s Brian Medigovich, a former standout distance runner at Adams State, won the men’s citizen race. More photos. (John Leyba, The Denver Post)Medigovich increased his lead. Still, he never felt — even near the end of the race — that he was assured of the win. He said his stomach began bothering him around the fifth mile.

Medigovich is still training full-time under Adams State coach Damon Martin in Alamosa, but he’s working now to secure a running sponsorship or join a professional running group, possibly the Olympic development Hansons-Brooks Distance Project of Rochester Hills, Mich.

Both Medigovich and Slade credited the crowd for their support during the race.

“This was a great race,” Medigovich said. “I’ve never seen so many people at one race before.”

For Slade, both the crowd’s energy and the supportive atmosphere proved special.

“I love the atmosphere,” Slade said. “It just makes you race harder, push beyond your limits. And it’s just fun.”

A record 50,421 racers crossed the finish line

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