By Kelly O’Shea
Well, that was fast.
Tsegaye Getachew, 19, of Ethiopia, won the 2016 Philadelphia Half Marathon, which kicked off at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. Getachew, who lives and trains in Washington, outpaced the rest of the field with a time of 1:03:54. He will also be racing in the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday, his first time taking on the 26.2-mile distance race.
Birukayit Degefa, 26, also of Ethiopia, led the female runners across the finish line with a time of 1:11:42. Last year, Degefa, who lives and trains in Albuquerque, N.M., placed second of the women racers in the 2015 Philadelphia Half Marathon.
Mayor Kenney was at Saturday’s finish line.
Cheering on the runners with @PhillyCityRep as they cross the finish line for the Half Marathon today! #PhillyMarathon pic.twitter.com/vjHoXhe9a8
Coming in second in the men’s Half Marathon results was Eliud Ngetich, 23, of Santa Fe, N.M., with a time of 1:03:56; followed by Panuel Mkungo, 22, of Elkton, Md., in third at 1:04:18; Musa Ido, 27, of Potomac, Md., in fourth at 1:05:35; and Stephen Kersh, 25, of Flagstaff, Ariz., in fifth at 1:06:11.
Racing in second in the women’s Half Marathon results was Sinke Biyadgilign, 22, of Washington, with a time of 1:13:04; Susan Jerotich, 29, of Chapel Hill, N.C., came in third at 1:13:52; Grace Kahura, 23, of Katonah, N.Y., was fourth at 1:14:12; and Marci Klimek, 29, of Cambridge, Mass., was fifth at 1:15:21.
For the 23rd installment of the annual race weekend, which includes a full marathon as well as shorter distances, organizers shook up the festivities.
In late April, race director Jim Marino announced that this year’s Marathon and Half Marathon – events traditionally held on the same day – would be spread out over Saturday and Sunday. On top of that, the courses for both races were revamped.
The uncharted territory for veteran half marathoners started after Mile 6. As runners made their way toward Strawberry Mansion Bridge, they were rerouted into Fairmount Park for a scenic five-mile trek.
The Rothman Institute 8K and Kid’s Fun Run also took place Saturday morning on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
In the 8K, Thomas Awad, 22, of Philadelphia, was the fastest male runner with a time of 24 minutes even.
He was followed in the men’s results by Louis Serafini, 25, Brighton, Mass., who placed second with a time of 24:11; Owen Dawson, 28, of Coatesville, in third with a time of 24:18; Jonathan Phillips, 23, of Boston, in fourth with a time of 24:24; and Kyle Dawson, 28, of Philadelphia, in fifth with a time of 24:25.
For the women’s 8K results, Sophy Jepchirchir, 23, of Chapel Hill, N.C., placed first with a time of 26 minutes and 57 seconds.
She was followed by Meghan Bishop, 31, of Philadelphia, who came in second with a time of 28:45; Katie O’Regan, 31, of Lititz, Pa., in third with a time of 29:26; Lauren Kelly, 26, of Philadelphia, in fourth with a time of 29:30; and Kelley Riffenburgh, 23, of Haverford, in fifth with a time of 29:40.
“I’m so happy for the success of today’s Philadelphia Half Marathon and Rothman Institute 8K,” Sheila Hess, executive director for the Philadelphia Marathon, said in a news release. “Today was a beautiful day to explore historical Fairmount Park while running the updated Half Marathon course. This weekend’s success could not be possible without the dedicated volunteer and tremendous support from our sponsor including longtime sponsor the Rothman Institute. We are looking forward to another exciting race day tomorrow.”
n total, more than 30,000 runners participated in the weekend’s races.