- The Washington Times - Monday, April 23, 2007

Every time Demesse Tefera races training partner Worku Beyi, the result is the same: Tefera leads, Beyi follows.

That, however, was not the case for the Ethiopian roommates from the Bronx for most of yesterday’s George Washington Parkway Classic 10-mile race from Mount Vernon to Old Town Alexandria.

Beyi held court until the mad dash to the finish with 75 meters remaining. In the end, the 24-year-old Tefera again came out on top, crushing the course record in a world-class time of 47 minutes, 29 seconds in a race reminiscent of his battle with Beyi at the New York Road Runners Team Championships in Central Park in August, which ended in a photo finish.

Yesterday, Beyi, younger by four years, finished two seconds behind.

Tefera’s time was eight seconds faster than in the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run three weeks ago.

“Today I am not tired,” he said after earning $500 for the victory and $400 for breaking the course record of 48:54 set last year by Kenyan Jynocel Basweti. “Cherry Blossom, not good conditions. Today, good conditions.”

Tatiana Chulakh, a 24-year-old Russian training in Gaithersburg, also smashed the women’s course record by leading from the start and placing 13th overall. Her time of 55:38 took 45 seconds off Mary Kate Bailey’s time last year of 56:23.

“It was easy for me, a training run,” said Chulakh, who hails from the city of Cheboksary, home to many of the world’s top women marathoners. “I think maybe I would run 56:10. This is a new record for me.”

She enjoyed the flat last mile of the course, down Union Street in Old Town, waving to the crowd and smiling as she approached the finish line.

Chris Farley, owner of race organizer Pacers Running Store, was ecstatic that the course records were broken in world-class times in what is considered a neighborhood race.

“To be able to get guys like this, that’s awesome,” said Farley, who finished 21st among the men in 58:16 with just Chulakh and runner-up Hirut Mengistu, a 21-year-old Ethiopian, outrunning him on the women’s side.

The perfect weather conditions — sunny, calm and dry, with temperatures moving into the 60s as the morning wore on — certainly aided the field of 3,400 entrants in the 10-mile and 1,200 entrants in the accompanying 5K, won by Ethiopian Gurmessa Kumssa.

The conditions also gave a big boost to Tefera and Beyi, feared runners on the New York City circuit who were on record pace from the gun. They passed five miles in 23:51, and Beyi gapped Tefera by 15 meters a mile later, coming up to Belle Haven Park. Tefera, the 2007 NYRR runner of the year, quickly got back even. It happened again at seven miles, but Tefera caught up by the eight-mile mark.

Tefera got a break shortly after passing nine miles and cruising down Franklin Street onto Union Street. Beyi said his scoring chip slipped off his leg, and he had to stop quickly to retrieve it. But he was able to make up the gap, leading to his last-moment kick with Tefera.

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