Belaynesh Oljira winning the 2014 Carrera de la Mujer in Bogota (© organisers)
Ethiopia’s pre-race favourite Belaynesh Oljira swept to a decisive win in the women-only Carrera de la Mujer 10km, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, crossing the line in the Colombian capital Bogota in a course record 33:52 on Sunday (28).
She used a powerful surge in the eighth kilometre of the race to break clear of all her challengers and win the eighth edition of this race.
There was an element of redemption for Oljira, the 2013 IAAF World Championships 10,000m bronze medallist, with her triumph. Last year, she was touted as the favourite after her podium finish in Moscow only to be a late withdrawal after being diagnosed with typhoid fever just prior to her departure for Bogota.
From the gun, the invited African runners separated themselves from the others, with only Ecuador’s Diana Landi initially prepared to give chase.
By halfway, with 5km reached in 16:40, the group was down to four with the Kenyan pair of Veronicah Nyaruai and Lucy Kabuu forcing the pace ahead of Oljira and her comaptriot Azmera Gebru.
A fast 3:10 kilometre between 8km and 9km saw Oljira alone at the front, with a 100-metre lead over Nyaruai and Gebru, who were battling for second, as Kabuu started to drift back.
Oljira eventually put 28 seconds between herself and the 2012 champion Nyaruai, with Gebre, Kabuu and Landi following her home in that order.
Nyaruai’s result was especially impressive given that this was her first race following a two year maternity break.
Italian Nadia Ejjafini showed a surprising adaptation to the high altitude - with Bogota being at 2625m altitude, higher than either Addis Ababa and Nairobi - to be the first European home in sixth place with 35:11 while Kelly Arias was the first local athlete home in eighth place.
The elite and open 10km - the race returning to the course length contested in the first two years of the event before it moved up to 12km for the next five years - started together under cloudy skies and a temperature of 15 degrees centigrade and attracted almost 15,000 starters this year, with 5,000 more in a 5km couples race and a 2km walk for mothers with their babies.
Derek Froude (organisers) for the IAAF
1. Belaynesh Oljira ETH 33:52
2. Veronicah Nyauri KEN 34:19
3. Azmera Gebru ETH 34:29
4. Lucy Kabuu KEN 34:43
5. Diana Landi ECU 34:58
6. Nadia Ejjafini ITA 35:11
7. Helalia Johannes NAM 36:16
8. Kelly Arias COL 36:30
9. Janet Bawcom-Cherobon USA 37:31
10. Karolina Jarzynska POL 37:43