The Ethiopian distance running greats impressed on the roads of Manchester as Dibaba made a winning return to racing after two years out and Bekele beat Wilson Kipsang over 10km
Tirunesh Dibaba set off on her road to Rio in winning style, while Kenenisa Bekele also returned to victorious ways to complete an Ethiopian double at the Great Manchester Run on Sunday (May 22).
It was a repeat of the 2014 result, with the two distance running greats also having dominated down Deansgate two years ago, which was when Dibaba last raced before her break away from competitive action to have her first child, son Nathan Sileshi, who was born in March 2015.
After Burundi’s Diane Nukuri took an early lead, Dibaba moved to the front and from there the three-time Olympic gold medallist always seemed in control. She stretched away from Edna Kiplagat in the final kilometre to cross the finishing line to big cheers and with 31:16 on the clock to complete a successful comeback.
Two-time world marathon champion Kiplagat had edged ahead just after 8km, which was passed in 25:03, and looked like she was ready to make a move but she couldn’t shake off Dibaba. The Kenyan comfortably held on for the runner-up spot in 31:25 ahead of Burundi’s Nukuri, who clocked a 31:49 PB.
“This was my first race. I was very nervous but I felt comfortable and good,” said 5000m world-record holder Dibaba, who hopes to make further history in her incredible career this summer by becoming the first athlete to win three Olympic gold medals over 10,000m, or indeed the first woman to win three successive Olympic titles in any individual event.
Her first step on that road to Rio was in Manchester, where Dibaba became the first female athlete to win for a third time, and she added: “I wanted to test myself in my first race back. At one stage I had doubts and that’s why I wanted to push the pace.”
She will now look to run a quick time on the track within the next month as she targets the Rio Olympics – a Games which the 30-year-old has said could be her last.
Poland’s Dominika Napieraj was top European, clocking 32:22 in fourth ahead of Ireland’s Fionnuala McCormack and France’s Christelle Daunay.
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