UTICA (uticaod)—Tilahun Regassa of Ethiopia cruised to victory in the 35th annual Boilermaker Road Race in an unofficial time of 43 minutes.
Manitu Daska of Ethiopia won the women’s division in 49: 28. She won the women’s division of the recent Peachtree Road Race.
Regassa finished sixth in the Peachtree.
Regassa took the lead early in the race and outdistanced the field for most of the run. He finished about 30 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
Regassa is a half marathon specialist who stepped up to the marathon distance last past fall.
Regassa owns an impressive half marathon personal best of 59:19, which he set in winning the 2010 Zayed International Half Marathon in Abu Dhabi. He also clocked 59:36 in Lille, France in 2008, and notched a 1:00:59 performance at the 2011 New Delhi Half Marathon in November. Regassa represented Ethiopia at the 2009 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, placing 11th.
In the summer of 2009, Regassa had an extremely successful turn on the U.S. road racing circuit, with victories at the Falmouth Road Race in Cape Cod, the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, S.C., the Ukrops Monument Ave. 10 km in Richmond, Va., the Bolder Boulder 10 km in Boulder, Colo., and a runner-up finish at the Bay to Breakers 12K in San Francisco, CA.
When he was 3 years old living in the village of Nazret, his parents divorced and his mother left him with his father while she moved in with a son in Odana Nebe Dukem.
His father died when he was 15 and showing promise as a runner. However, he could not move in with his mother. Odana Nebe Dukem is four to five hours away by walking. It is not accessible by car.
Instead, for three years he lived in the streets. He worked for a stone company and when hungry, he’d go to a local hotel where they’d give him food.