Sefir and Jelela lead Ethiopian dominance at Ottawa Marathon

Ethiopians dominated both the men’s and women’s races filling all but one of the podium places at the 2016 Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Sunday (29).

Under warm and humid conditions Dino Sefir ran away from what had been considered a very tightly competitive group to win in 2:08:14. The 2012 Olympian outlasted pacers who reached only 25km before dropping out, as well as his countryman Shura Kitata, to earn himself the victor’s laurels. 

Kitata, a 19-year-old who burst onto the scene a year ago after running 2:08:53 in his marathon debut in Shanghai, was second in 2:10:04 with Kenya’s Dominic Ondoro third in 2:11:39. 

The dire warnings of a heat wave were, as it happened, premature as the temperature at the start was 19C with a gentle breeze cooling the air. The lead pack had passed the half way point in 1:03:54 with Sefir always looking comfortable. With a personal best of 2:04:50 (Dubai 2012) and having represented his country at the 2012 Olympics he is an experienced runner. Only he could maintain the early pace.

“The last 10k were very difficult but I controlled my pace,” said Sefir, who turned 28 the day before. “It was very tough running alone. I was thinking of the time as well as winning the race. I was looking at my watch to follow the time.”

“The pacemakers were not going as fast as I wanted them to go so I had to push them to go faster and faster. That is correct that if there was more competition there was a chance I could have run better.” 

Kitata’s inexperience showed. When he did try to take water he spilled most of it and at roughly 30km Sefir kindly handed him his own bottle to ensure he hydrated. 

“I am happy with my result

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