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Dibaba sets women’s course record in first local appearance

August 21, 2010

PARKERSBURG—It is not bragging if you can back up what you say.

That was the case Saturday during the running of the 24th annual News and Sentinel Half Marathon when 20-year-old phenom Mare Dibaba dominated the women’s field to win in a record-setting time of 1 hour, 10 minutes and 19 seconds.

Less than 12 hours earlier, Dibaba’ coach, Chris Gooding, guaranteed race director Chip Allman that the Ethiopian would come away victorious even though it was her first visit to Parkersburg.

The old course record of 1 hour, 11 minutes and 1 second was set in the 2000 race by Libbie Hickman of Ft. Collins, Colorado.

“She (Dibaba) is probably one of the top two runners internationally at this distance,” explained Gooding, the Athletics Relations Manager for Elite Sports Management. “In my mind it was never ‘if’ she was going to win, but ‘by how much’.”

That question was answered nearly five minutes later when countrywoman Aliyu Azrza crossed the finish line on Market Street in 1 hour, 14 minutes and 51 seconds.

Kenyan Everlyne Lagat was third in a time of 1 hour, 15 minutes and 13 seconds.

“It was a really hilly course,” said Dibaba, who holds the Ethiopian national record in the half marathon. “I had to push myself out there today because there were no other women around me.”

None from start to finish.

Taking off from the start, Dibaba reached the first mile mark in a time of 5 minutes and 9 seconds and held a 20-yard lead over a pack of three other runners, including Lagat.

By the two-mile mark, that advantage had increased to 25 seconds and never got any closer as the Ethiopian cruised through the third mile in 5 minutes and 38 seconds and never went above six minutes on any mile throughout the remainder of the race.

Third place in the race went to 29-year old Kenyan Everlyne Lagat (1:15:13), who edged out 22-year old Molly Pritz from Williamsport, Pa. (1:15:37) by 24 seconds. Rounding out the top five were Ethiopian Misisker Mekonnin (1:18:39).and Beavercreek, Ohio’s Tara Storage (1:18:41) .

“I’m right in the middle of my training for the marathon so this was a really tough course today,” said Pritz, who made her debut as well on Saturday. “I never really saw any other women until I came down that last street (Market Street). It’s just very exciting to know that I did that well.”

Placing sixth overall was Tara Storage from Beavercreek, Ohio, with a time of 1:18:41 as former Doddridge County standout and West Virginia University all-American Clara Grandt claimed seventh in her first half marathon with a time of 1 hour, 18 minutes and 47 seconds followed by Kara Storage (1:18:54), Ramilia Burangulova (1:18:59) and Lucy Kurgat (1:19:45).

Article Photos

Photo by?Jeff Baughan
Mare Dibaba dominated the women’s field to win in a record-setting time of 1 hour, 10 minutes and 19 seconds.



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