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Posted: March 30, 2009  :

(RWire) Athletics: Regassa, Gemeda Take 10th Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K Titles

Anne Parker takes AT&T Dash for the Cash; race record field of 32,745

RICHMOND, Va. - (March 28, 2009) - Ethiopian runners won the men's and women's titles at the boisterous 10th Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K that saw a race record 32,745 registrants and thousands more cheering along the course.

Ethiopia's Tilahun Regassa, 19, won in 28 minutes 21 seconds, beating his countryman Alene Reta, 26, by 12 seconds (28:33). Lewis Nyariki of Kenya was third in 28:37. American and 2004 Olympian Dan Browne finished fourth (28:50).

"I needed someone to push me because I wanted to break the course record," Regassa explained through an interpreter. "If I had someone to push me, I think I could have done more."

In the women's race, Ethiopia's Amane Gemeda, 26, won handily, finishing well ahead of Richmond's hometown favorite Maria-Elena Calle. Gemeda's time was 32 minutes 37 seconds to Calle's 33:33 (numerologists take note of Calle's age (33) and finishing time). Ethiopia's Hirut Mandefro placed third in 33:35.

"No one wants to be second," said Calle, who has finished 4th, 3rd and 2nd the past three years at the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K and who logged many a training run on elegant and picturesque Monument Avenue while attending Virginia Commonwealth University. "You always race to win, but it was a great day. Richmond is such a pretty town, and it's such a good race. I think we all love it. The 30,000 people who were there had a great day."

Anne Parker, a mother of four from the Richmond suburb of Midlothian, won the $2500 prize in the AT&T Dash for the Cash by crossing the finish ahead of the professional runners, though with the benefit of a 2.6-mile head start. Parker's victory was cheered loudly by her hometown fans. "The crowd support was just awesome with all the signs and people shouting encouragement all the way," said Parker, whose husband, three youngest children, mother and sister watched her outdo the top runners for the cash reward.

With a final registration tally of 32,745, the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K shattered its previous total entry record of 31,158 set last year. The First Market Mile Kids Run had total entries of 1,832, just shy of last year's record of 1,891. Close to 30 bands serenaded participants and spectators. Spirit groups and party stops and impromptu block parties added to the festivities.

Hundreds of participants covered the 6.2 miles dressed in costumes. There were 128 entries in the Richmond Times-Dispatch Dress Up and Run costume contest. The winning entry in the group category was a collaborative effort by six friends from Richmond's West End Presbyterian Church who dressed as a line of characters from the Ms. PacMan video game. The winner of the individual or duo category was Wayne Mancari of Chester, Va. who ran the entire distance dressed as Indian Jones being pursued by a gigantic boulder, which he constructed out of TyvekA(R) and a weather balloon. "I love running. I love Richmond. And I love fun, and this race provides all three," said an ebullient Mancari as he posed for photos with admirers at the Minute Maid Race Festival.

The 2010 Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K will take place on Saturday, March 27th. Registration is scheduled to open on December 26, 2009.

10th Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K - Richmond, VA, Saturday, March 28, 2009

1) Tilahun Regassa (ETH), 28:21, $2000
2) Alene Reta (ETH), 28:33, $1000
3) Lewis Nyariki (KEN), 28:37, $800
4) Dan Browne (USA / OR), 28:50, $600
5) Demesse Tefera (ETH), 28:55, $400
6) Daniel Muriuki (KEN), 29:18, $200
7) Abiyot Endale (ETH), 29:52, $100

1) Amane Gemeda (ETH), 32:37, $2000
2) Maria-Elena Calle (ECU / VA), 33:33, $1000
3) Hirut Mandefro (ETH), 33:35, $800
4) Frashiah Waithaka (KEN), 33:49, $600
5) Divina Jepkogei (KEN), 34:00, $400
6) Salome Kosgei (KEN), 34:23, $200
7) Caroline Rotich (KEN), 35:52, $100

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