Kemal leads Ethiopian treble in 10K

  • Birhanu Dare Kemal crosses the line first at the National Stadium in the Bermuda 10K (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Kimarra McDonald, of Jamaica, wins the women’s race  (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Ethiopian runners produced a clean sweep of the men’s podium in Saturday’s Bermuda Marathon Weekend 10K.

Birhanu Dare Kemal led the field across the line in 32min, with Abu Kebede Diriba taking second in 33:02 and Girma Bekele Gebre third in 34:17.

The trio were among a group of four runners that included Bermuda’s Dage Minors that went out hard from the start, completing the first mile in 4:50.

Kemal and Gebre kept their foot on the gas and managed to separate themselves from Minors and Diriba before the uphill climb to the second mile mark.

The race as a contest all but ended after Kemal broke away from his compatriot moments after passing the second mile mark in 9:48 and gradually extended his lead the rest of the way to win a maiden 10K title by a landslide.

“I’m happy to win the race at my first attempt,” said Kemal, whose average mile pace was 5:09. “For the first two miles I was running fast with Girma and after a few miles when I looked back nobody was with me and so I was happy.

“It was windy so the time is not fast and I can go faster.

“The course is very challenging but I like it. The start of the course was good, a little bit flat. But after I think two miles it’s very challenging but not bad.”

Minors, who became the first Bermudian to win the elite men’s race at the KPMG Front Street Mile the night before, momentarily stopped after passing the two-mile mark but was able to complete the race in eighth in 37:58.

“My legs were not responding as I wanted,” Minors said. “I was cramping up in my calfs and hamstrings and everything just took its toll.

“It is what it is but it’s good to go out there with the crowd still cheering me on from last night.”

Minors’s cousin Chayce Smith was the first local male runner across the line and fourth overall in 35:05. Sean Trott was the second top local in the men’s field in 36:47 and Minors third.

“I’m doing the Half Challenge for the first time and just having fun with running right now,” Smith, the national cross country champion, said.

“It felt like a hurricane out there. But at the end of the day it was a nice race and to be the first local men’s runner is definitely a bonus.”

Kimarra McDonald won the women’s title and was 13th overall.

The Jamaican claimed her maiden 10K title after crossing the line in 40:07. Angel Piccirillo, the American who won the elite women’s mile the night before, was second in 40:28 and Dara Filut, also from the United States, third in 43:19.

“This is my first time on the podium in the whole event and it feels good,” McDonald said.

“There wasn’t a real plan so I guess the general plan was to finish. Maybe go out conservatively and then just re-evaluate from there.

“The course is hard. But I’ve learnt that apparently I’m good at hills, and so I guess it’s the islander in me.”

Martina Olcheski-Bell was the top local female and 34th overall in 43:26. Christine Dailey was the second local female in 43:32 and

Kristen Palmer third in 44:33.

“I’m quite pleased with my performance,” Olcheski-Bell said. “I tried not to go out too fast and just kept it steady and literally the last 300 metres I just went all out.

“It’s a tough 10K with that hill at the end and fighting the wind. It was a struggle but it’s done.”