Netsanet Gudeta wins the 10,000m in Herzogenaurach (© Gladys Chai von der Laage)
The inaugural Adidas Boost meeting in the German town of Herzogenaurach got off to a flying start on Friday (13) as Ethiopian duo Netsanet Gudeta and Leul Gebresilase ran world-leading times over 10,000m.
Held at the Adidas Global Headquarters Campus and spread across two days, it was the first time that the track had been used for a competition.
The women’s 10,000m was the last event of the day and it doubled as one of Ethiopia’s official selection races. German twins Anna and Lisa Hahner, both marathon specialists, led the field through the first 1000m in a steady 3:10.64 before Kenya’s Lydia Wafula took up the pace-making duties, eventually dropping out six laps into the race.
Genet Yalew, the 2011 world junior cross-country silver medallist, was one of four Ethiopian women in the lead pack. Shure Demise, who clocked a world U20 best of 2:20:59 in the marathon last year, was tucked behind Yalew, with Gudeta and Gotytom Gebreslase also running in single file.
Demise, who recently won the Ethiopian 10,000m title, soon started to struggle with the pace. She began to drop back and eventually pulled out.
It left just three women in the lead pack: Gudeta, Yalew and Gebreslase. Gudeta and Yalew took it in turns at the front, exchanging the lead every couple of laps. Gebreslase, meanwhile, remained at the back of the leading trio.
With most of the laps having been covered within 72-74 seconds, half way was passed in 15:27.41. One kilometre later, though, Gebreslase started to drift back, leaving Gudeta and Yalew alone in front.
With fans filling the four outer lanes of the six-lane track down the home straight, Yalew moved into the lead once more with four laps remaining. Gudeta, the world cross-country bronze medallist, eased into the lead with 600 metres to go, but Yalew responded as they went through the bell.
Once again, though, Gudeta went into the lead at the 200-metre point; this time she refused to surrender her lead and she kicked for home, crossing the line in 30:56.26.
It was just the third time Gudeta had contested a 10,000m. She made her debut in Hengelo last year, clocking 31:06.53 to finish sixth, and then failed to finish at the African Games in Brazzaville in September.
Since then, she went on to finish fourth at this year’s IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff. With today’s victory, she has entered the frame for Olympic selection in the 10,000m.
Yalew was second in a PB of 30:58.26 while Gebreslase took third place in 31:39.73, just six seconds shy of the PB she set three weeks ago.
The men’s race played out in a similar fashion. Geofrey Barusei and Clement Kemboi set the pace during the opening stages, going through 3000m in 8:16.70.
The pace then started to increase between 4000m and 5000m. With the pace makers having completed their duties, the field passed through half way in 13:45.66, suggesting a finish time of about 27:30.
Kenya’s Emmanuel Kipsang led for most of the second half, but Ethiopia’s Leul Gebresilase would occasionally go to the front, as would compatriot Tebalu Zawude. Their leads would generally only last for about a lap before Kipsang would return to the front.
After passing 9000m in 24:42, the athletes and the fans knew that there was a chance of establishing a world-leading mark if the pace were to increase for the final kilometre.
And that’s exactly what happened. As the leading trio approached the final lap, Gebresilase and Zawude moved to the front. African Games 5000m silver medallist Gebresilase proved to have the better finishing pace and he kicked ahead to win in a world-leading PB of 27:19.71, having covered the last lap in 57.98.
“The track is really fast,” said Gebresilase after giving himself a chance of selection for the Ethiopian Olympic team. “I am surprised that I felt so good today.”
Kipsang, who represented Kenya in the 5000m at last year’s World Championships, overtook Zawude on the final lap to take second place in 27:22.99, taking 37 seconds off his PB. Zawude, the African Games 10,000m champion, was third in 27:25.10.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF