By Brian Howell |
About a mile into the Bolder Boulder women’s elite race on Monday, Team USA’s Mattie Suver knew that winning was going to be a tough task.
It was around that first mile that Ethiopia’s Meskerem Assefa and Amane Gobena and Kenya’s Risper Gesabwa pulled away from the pack.
“They took off on mile one or so, and we tried to keep them in sight, hoping that some of them would come back,” Suver said. “My legs just couldn’t respond and go that fast right at the beginning.”
On this day, Assefa had the fastest legs, claiming the Bolder Boulder title in her first try.
The fourth consecutive Ethiopian to win, Assefa posted a time of 33 minutes, 31.09 seconds.
Assefa said entering Folsom Field to a loud roar was “like the Olympics” and said the win wasthe biggest of her career.
Led by Assefa and Gobena, who placed second with a time of 33:37.61, Ethiopia won the International Team Challenge for the seventh consecutive year and claimed the $15,000 prize. It won by matching the record for lowest team score, with eight points. That tied the mark set by the United States in 2005.
“The team was a very strong team,” Assefa said.
The Americans were strong, too, posting a second-place finish, with Suver leading the way. The Laramie native finished sixth overall, in 34:25.41.
“This race is really special to me,” said Suver, who now lives in Colorado Springs. “In high school I ran it with my dad, just trying to finish, and I remember watching the pros and thinking that was pretty cool. This is my third year running the race as a pro and it’s just undescribable; coming into that stadium is surreal with these fans.”
This year, race organizers put a different twist on the team challenge. Instead of breaking the USA runners into separate teams before the race, the nine USA runners were all slotted on teams based upon race results.
“I think it was really exciting,” Suver said. “There was a group of nine of us with everybody going for the top three spots. It kind of made it a race within the race. It makes it a whole other aspect and pretty exciting. It’s just that extra little motivation to push.”
Suver, Neely Spence (seventh place) and Brianne Nelson (eighth) were the top three American finishers and made up the USA Red squad. They claimed $27,500 in prize money, including a $17,500 bonus for training funds.
Despite being well behind Assefa for much of the race, Suver said the team challenge was a focal point in her mind during the race.
“My good friend and former teammate, Bri Nelson, was just ahead of me,” she said. “I knew if we wanted to do some work, we needed to work together, so I really pushed to catch up with her. We pushed together for a mile or so and that last mile I just closed with everything I had, trying for that team competition.”
Led by Gesabwa, Kenya was third in the team race. USA White was fifth and USA Blue was seventh in the seven-team challenge. The White squad claimed $4,000 in prize money.
Source: Daily Camera