Ethiopia's Deriba Merga broke one of Canada's oldest road racing records tonight when he won the 23rd annual MDS Nordion 10-K in Ottawa, Ontario, in a blistering 27:24 (27:23.9), the fastest-ever 10-K run on Canadian soil.
Merga, who won the Boston Marathon last April, surpassed both John Halvorsen's course record of 28:12 set 21 years ago in 1988, and Ismail Kirui's all-comers record of 27:56 set in Toronto in 1995. Merga even beat Joseph Kimani's all-comers best of 27:31 set at the Vancouver Sun Run in 1996 on a aided, point-to-point course.
The Ottawa course is both certified record-standard. Indeed, Merga was trying to break Micah Kogo's recent world record of 27:01 set in Brunssum, Netherlands. The Ottawa rganizers had put up a Cn$100,000 bonus for a new world record.
Kenyan Boaz Cheboiywo, who was hired as a pacemaker to help with the record attempt, finished second in 28:17, and another Kenyan, Hosea Kibet Rutto, was third in 28:21. Patrick Makau, the Kenyan expected to be Merga's chief rival in the race, finished a distant seventh.
Teyba Erkesso, this year's Chevron Houston Marathon champion, made it an Ethiopian sweep, winning the women's race in 31:51. Her compatriot Emebet Bacha was second (32:45) and Kenya's Jane Murage was third (33:06).
Race organizers reported over 8000 finishers, well up on the 7300 they reported last year.