Bolder Boulder: Ethiopia's Merima Mohammed wins women's elite race
By Sarah Kuta
May 28, 2013



The Ethiopian women have a habit of winning the Bolder Boulder international team challenge, and Monday was no different as they won their sixth team title in seven years.

Ethiopia's Merima Mohammed, a 20-year-old Bolder Boulder newcomer, took the lead shortly after the four-mile mark and held on to win the Memorial Day 10-kilometer race comfortably in 33 minutes, 58.79 seconds.

As she ran into Folsom Field, the first elite runner of the day to finish, the stadium roared and small pockets of fans shook red, yellow and green flags to show their support for Team Ethiopia. Mohammed is the fourth Ethiopian female to win the race in the last five years.

“She's so happy,” a translator said for Mohammed. “She said (her strategy was) to win, first, but next time do more and win more.”

Her teammate Amane Gobena finished second in 34:08.39.

Throughout the race, Mohammed looked back over both shoulders constantly, even though she won with an almost 10-second lead.

Running legend and Bolder Boulder announcer Frank Shorter joked that Mohammed set a record for the number of times she looked behind her.

“She just wanted to make sure that her teammates were behind her,” a translator said for Mohammed.

American runner Deena Kastor, 40, set the pace for the pack around the two-mile mark, but a small group began to pull away around mile three and Kastor fell back.

Kastor, the first American to finish, ran the 10K in 34:43.62 for a fourth place finish, and waved to the crowd with both hands as she ran into the stadium. Kastor won the race in 2001, 2002 and 2003, and most recently finished third in 2012.

“To be able to honor the people that have served our country the best way I know how -- putting one foot in front of the other -- I was running in their honor today for sure,” Kastor said.

Team USA finished third overall, followed by Team Colorado.

Boulder runner and University of Colorado graduate Laura Thweatt ran for Team USA and finished 12th, a few seconds in front of Longmont runner and 2012 women's citizens race winner Nuta Olaru.

Thweatt's first-ever Bolder Boulder experience was tough, she said, but being able to run into Folsom Field made up for the pain.

“Even though I was dying, nothing's cooler than running into the stadium,” said Thweatt, who trains with the Boulder Track Club. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Team Mexico finished second in the team challenge, with Marisol Romero Rosales finishing third in 34:15.78. Romero Rosales hung with Mohammed on a breakaway until after the four-mile mark, when Mohammed began to pull away and Gobena picked up her pace.

Romero Rosales, who finished seventh in 2012 and eighth in 2010, said she was happy with the third-place finish. She described running into the cheering stadium as “amazing,” unlike any race in Mexico.

“I feel very good,” she said. “It's my best place in this competition and I'm happy.”


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