Dejen Gebremeskel and Aheza Kiros gave Ethiopia a sweep at the Carlsbad 5000
April. 04 2011
CARLSBAD — Two miles into Sunday’s Carlsbad 5000, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, tired of an Ethiopian rival staying glued to his shoulder, expressed his displeasure.
Kipchoge turned toward Dejen Gebremeskel, waved his left hand forward, then pointed in front of him.
Roughly translated, this is runnerspeak for, “Dude, you’ve been drafting off me long enough. Get up here and do some of the work.”
Instead, Gebremeskel kept playing the waiting game. With about 150 meters to go, just past the railroad tracks on Carlsbad Village Drive, the Ethiopian made his move. He roared past Kipchoge and seconds later, just in front of the finish, Gebremeskel made a hand gesture of his own.
He pointed to the finish line.
Gebremeskel got there first, winning the 26th annual race in 13 minutes, 11 seconds. Kipchoge took second in 13:14. It was a flip-flop of the 2010 finish when Kipchoge cashed the $5,000 winner’s check and Gebremeskel settled for second.
The women’s race unfolded like an East African replay of the men’s. Kenya’s Pauline Korikwiang led most of the way, only to watch Ethiopia’s Aheza Kiros surge past her just in front of the tape. Kiros’ winning time to defend her title: 15:13. Korikwiang’s clocking: 15:14.
On a picturesque spring day, 8,688 runners, walkers and wheelchair athletes toured the 3.1-mile downtown/seaside layout throughout the morning. Those who stuck around for the professional races just after noon were treated to distance running’s greatest rivalry, Ethiopia vs. Kenya, and the sit-and-attack style favored by many Ethiopians.
Regarding his hand gesture to Gebremeskel at the 2-mile mark, Kipchoge said, “I told him to go, but he refused to go.”
Gebremeskel offered no apology for his tactics.
“I know he is a strong guy,” Gebremeskel said. “He is faster than me. His personal best (for 5,000 meters on the track) is better than mine (by 7.03 seconds). I thought, ‘Maybe it is better to follow.’”