By Chris Lotsbom
(c) 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved.
August 15, 2010

*Results Here (Top 10 Results Appear At End of Article) *Article on Meb's Withdrawal Here

FALMOUTH, Mass. (15-Aug) -- In the closest CIGNA Falmouth Road Race since 1995, Gebre Gebremariam won a thrilling finish down the final homestretch adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean here on Cape Cod.

As the field of nearly 10,000 left Woods Hole, American Ed Moran took the pacing duties, towing the field along through a pedestrian first mile of 4:39.  As the chase pack of about twenty rounded the Nobska Point Lighthouse behind Moran, Team USA Minnesota member Antonio Vega began to close the five meter gap, encouraging the field to pick up the pace.  But no one would listen.

Maintaining the lead through the third mile, Moran, who ran 4:02.03 and placed fourth in yesterday's CIGNA Falmouth Mile, was aiming to make it a honest race, doing his part in front.

"Getting around the crowds, you start getting excited again, and that re-energized me, getting that momentum back," said Moran, who hadn't run races on consecutive days since competing for the College at William & Mary in the NCAA ranks.

A half-mile later, though, Moran relinquished his lead to 2009 IAAF World Cross Country champion Gebre Gebremariam, this summer's hottest road racer, who threw in a quick surge to slightly string out the pack.

Alongside the lone Ethiopian were a slew of Kenyans, including two-time ING New York City and Virgin London Marathon champion Martin Lel, Falmouth debutant Stephen Kibet, and last week's runner-up and third place finishers at the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10-K Allan Kiprono and Wilson Chebet.

As soon as he took to the front, Gebremariam began turning his head from side-to-side, looking as if he wanted to say "where are you guys?" to his competitors.

"The Kenyans have sixteen [competitors] and we [Ethiopia] have two," said Gebremariam, running in his first Falmouth Road Race.  "So they run around me. I had to push, and I had to push to see what they had."

One by one, Gebremariam would drop the Kenyans that surrounded him.  First it was Kiprono, then Kibet, and finally Lel.  But one competitor wouldn't budge: Wilson Chebet.  Looking calm, Chebet and Gebremariam would pass through the 6-mile mark of the 7-mile race adjacent to Falmouth Harbor in 27:44, knowing that one mile and one big hill remained.

Making the final, 90-degree turn with less than 800m to go, the pair were dead even.  It would remain that way until the final meters of the race.  Down the steep decline they came, calling on every last bit of energy.  In the end, it was Gebremariam for the second week in a row winning a sprint at the tape, crossing the line in 32:20 to Chebet's 32:21.

Unlike last week, though, Gebremariam said he was not 100% confident he would win from the start.  He knew he had to work harder due to the hills here along the coastline.

"I'm good on the hill," said the 25 year-old Gebremariam who recorded his fourth consecutive USA road racing win this year. "He pushed, then I pushed at the end."

Moran, who seemed to be out of gas as he was surpassed by Gebremariam, came back to be the first American finisher in 32:40 (fifth overall).  Lel finished third in 32:37, and Vega came in eighth (second American) in 32:53.

Olympic silver medallist Meb Keflezighi, the 2009 ING New York City Champion, was a late scratch from the event.  Due to a cold suffered earlier in the week, and a tweak in his hamstring, Keflezighi felt it would be best to play it safe and sit out.

"I'm not race-ready," said a disappointed Keflezighi.  "I thought the race would be much faster than it was, and I didn't want to take that chance."

A similar Kenyan-Ethiopian dual played out on the women's side, as Lineth Chepkurui and Wude Ayalew battled all race long for the $10,000 first prize.  Chepkurui played true to her usual racing style, front-running the whole way along the 7 mile point-to-point course.

Going through three miles in 15:03, Chepkurui, who has won six road races in America this year, maintained only a slight lead on Ayalew, who was biding her time, waiting for the right moment to strike.  That moment came in the final stretch, as Ayalew battled her way ahead of Chepkurui on the downhill towards the finish.  Breaking the tape in 35:46, Ayalew finished four seconds ahead of Chepkurui (35:50).

"It was my tactic to follow behind her," said Ayalew, through Gebremariam acting as an interpreter.

Chepkurui told Race Results Weekly that she had been battling a head cold earlier in the week, which may have hampered her chance at taking the win.

Los Angeles Marathon champion Edna Kiplagat finished third in 36:31.  The top American was 46 year-old Colleen De Reuck of Boulder, Colo., in fifth place.

This is the first time in Falmouth's 38-year history that Ethiopia has swept the top positions in both the men's and women's races.


Top 10 Men's and Women's Results Appear Below. More Results Here.

8 Gebre Gebremariam 25 M Ethiopia 00:32:20 1 1 1
20 Wilson Kwambai Chebet 25 M Kenya 00:32:21 2 2 2
10 Martin Lel 31 M Kenya 00:32:37 3 1 3
15 Ed Moran 29 M Boston MA 00:32:40 5 1 5
9 Edward Muge 27 M Kenya 00:32:40 4 3 4
34 Stephen Kosgei Kibet 23 M Kenya 00:32:50 6 4 6
4 Peter Kirui 22 M Kenya 00:32:50 7 5 7
17 Antonio Vega 26 M St. Paul MN 00:32:53 8 6 8
49 Sean Quigley 25 M Philadelphia PA 00:32:58 9 7 9
18 Allan Kiprono 20 M Kenya 00:33:05 10 8 10
F17 Wude Ayalew Yimer 23 F Ethiopia 00:35:46 1 1 24
F4 Lineth Chepkurui 22 F Kenya 00:35:50 2 2 26
F3 Edna Kiplagat 30 F Kenya 00:36:31 3 3 31
F2 Catherine Ndereba 38 F Kenya 00:38:06 4 1 41
F101 Colleen De Reuck 46 F Boulder CO 00:38:10 5 1 43
F22 Fiona Docherty 34 F New Zealand 00:38:26 6 4 47
F11 Amy Hastings 26 F Mammoth Lakes CA 00:38:33 7 1 50
F12 Irene Limika 30 F Kenya 00:38:59 8 5 52
F15 Jeannette Seckinger 28 F Somerville MA 00:39:01 9 6 53
F9 Kathy Newberry 31 F Williamsburg VA 00:39:10 10 7 56


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