BOULDER (denverpost) — Mamitu Daska has participated in the Bolder Boulder enough to know exactly what she’s doing on the course.
Monday, the 25-year-old Ethiopian looked quite comfortable in cruising past the rest of the field to win the women’s professional race for the third time in four years.
“This is how I’m doing it — it’s my strategy to win,” Daska said through a translator.
Daska also won in 2009 and 2010, while finishing second a year ago. She helped Ethiopia win the International Team Challenge for the fourth consecutive year.
Daska said this is a race she wants to win, and it showed. She pulled way out in front from the start and never looked back. She finished in 33 minutes, 6.5 seconds, the slowest winning time since 2007.
“It was a very fast, aggressive pace from the very start, and I knew she would be a force to be reckoned with, with her performances on the road recently,” said American Deena Kastor, who was third. “I didn’t have any delusion that she would be coming back to us in the race.”
The top two United States finishers were second and third, and the U.S. was second in the team challenge. Janet Cherobon-Bawcom was second, in 33:23.57.
Kastor was in second for much of the race but wound up just behind her teammate, in 33:28.48.
“I was pleased with it because it was all I had,” she said. “All of us runners come into races like this wanting to win, but I’m really happy with the effort I put out. I just couldn’t close that gap (on Daska) and couldn’t keep up with Janet when she passed me (at the 5-mile mark), but we were able to pull off a good team finish.”
Magdalena Lewy-Boulet was 20th to round out Team USA.
“Ethiopia ran strong, but I’m really proud of the USA girls for pulling off such a strong race today,” Kastor said.
For Team Colorado, Adrianna Nelson had a strong race, placing ninth. Wendy Thomas was 21st. Sara Slattery, who won in 2006, did not finish because of an injury. She had hamstring issue entering the competition.
Daska’s teammates finished in the top six. Ashu Kasim was fifth and Alemitu Abera was sixth. From the start, however, this was Daska’s race, leaving the rest of the field behind.
“I don’t think you ever succumb to it,” Kastor said. “You just continue pushing the whole way in trying to get better out of yourself. Until I got to the finish line, I was fighting every step of the way.”
On May 20, Daska won the Bay-to-Breakers 12K in San Francisco. She is hoping to be a part of the London Olympics this summer.
“I don’t know yet if I’m running in London, but I’m ready for that,” she said. “I’m practicing.”
1. Mamitu Daska, ETH, 33:05.25
2. Janet Cherobon-Bawcom, USA, 33:22.32
3. Deena Kastor, USA, 33:27.23
4. Kayoko Fukushi, JPN, 33:31.64
5. Ashu Kasim, ETH, 34:02.36
6. Alemitu Abera, ETH, 34:15.83
7. Marisol Romero, MEX, 34:24.41
8. Genoveva Kigen, KEN, 34:42.19
9. Adrianna Nelson, CO, 34:54.35
10. Benita Willis, AUS, 34:57.14
11. Lanni Marchant, CAN, 35:01.21
12. Santa Ines Melchor Huiza, PER, 35:13.88
13. Jelliah Kerubo Tinega, KEN, 35:30.64
14. Lara Tamsett, AUS, 35:34.70
15. Claire Hallisey, UK, 35:49.83
16. Evelyn Lagat, KEN, 35:52.13
17. Judith Toribio Lavado, PER, 35:54.81
18. Karina Perez, MEX, 35:58.09
19. Yuko Watanabe, JPN, 36:00.91
20. Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, USA, 36:05.18
21. Wendy Thomas, CO, 36:12.95