Almaz Ayana on her way to winning the 5000m at the IAAF Continental Cup, Marrakech 2014
This weekend’s most dominant performance on the track came in the penultimate individual race courtesy of Almaz Ayana in the women’s 5000m.
Returning to the track where she claimed the African 5000m title last month, the 22-year-old Ethiopian won by nearly 25 seconds in a race she controlled from the midway point forward.
“This is a lucky stadium for me,” said Ayana, who reached the finish in 15:33.32 to lead an African 1-2 ahead of Joyce Chepkirui, the continental 10,000m champion, who clocked 15:58.31, a personal best.
After a painfully slow pace for the first three laps and another three that weren’t much faster, Ayana and Chepkirui decided to break from the pack when the clock read eight minutes. The pair quickly built a lead of some 50 metres with five laps to go.
Ayana then decided to pull free of her team-mate, building a cushion of some 40 metres on Chepkirui over the next lap, a lead she only kept adding to until she reached the finish.
Down the home straight Chepkirui had to struggle a bit to hold off a powerful closing charge by European 10,000m champion Jo Pavey, who came just 0.36 shy and finished third at age 40.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF