African runners must like something about Shelter Island because they keep winning, posting quality times and dominating the Island’s annual 10K race. on Saturday.
Kumsa Adugna, 25, of Ethiopia, who was the runner-up last year, was the winner of the 32nd annual Shelter Island 10K Run on Saturday. Adugna, running a 4-minute, 47-second mile pace, bolted across the finish line, completing the course in 29:44. He nudged out Harbert Okuti of Uganda by two seconds and third-place Keteme Nigusse of Ethiopia by three seconds in a close finish.
“I’m happy. I like,” Adugna, whose English is limited, told reporters afterward.
Adugna ran with the lead pack the whole way. He was first among a distinct group of six runners at the front that was later whittled down to three. Adugna, who said he had felt confident, took the lead on the grass during the final sprint to the finish line.
Seven of the top eight finishers were Africans. Girma Tolla of Ethiopia was fourth in 30:04, Mourad Marofit of Morocco was fifth in 30:24, Abiyot Endale Worku of Ethiopia was sixth in 30:49 and Demesse Tefera of Ethiopia was eighth in 32:50.
Tefera followed seventh-place Birhanu Feysa of Silver Springs, Md. (31:18).
The first Long Islander was Matt Walsh of Wantagh. He was ninth in 34:52, which was 13 seconds ahead of 10th-place Christopher Koegel of Malverne.
The women’s champion also had an African connection. Although Tezaya Dengersa, 30, is Turkish, she lives in Ethiopia with her husband and their two children.
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