Tesfaye Bekele of Ethiopia ran 14.42.39 to win Sunday’s Eamonn Coghlan 5K Classic at the Belmont Park Race track in Elmont, L.I.
The 28-year-old Bekele, who has been living in Manhattan for two years, pulled away from last year’s winner, Trevor Murray of Far Rockaway, and Ekijur Kitur of Ossining, N.Y., with about a half mile left and captured the fourth annual road race on the flat course outside of the main thoroughbred track. The course stayed within Belmont Park itself.
Bekele, who competes for the West Side Runners, earned $250 for his victory.
Kitur, who also made his first appearance in this race, wound up second in 14:49, and Murray finished third in 14:51. This age group event with plenty of awards was conducted as part of the fifth annual New York’s Irish Family Festival.
Both Murray and Bekele competed on the previous Saturday in the 5-mile Club Team Championship in Central Park. Bekele won it in 23:51 and Murray wound up fourth in 24:30. They are teammates and led their squad to a third place finish in a field of 15 teams.
"With about 880 yards left, Bekele pulled away from us," the 25-year-old Kitur, who competes for the Westchester Puma, said.
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"We had a good race on a flat course," said Bekele, who is pointing to the New York City Marathon. "I went out with the lead pack of seven but after a while it was us three. After two and a half miles I was by myself."
Rounding out the top 10 finishers were Rodolfo Obregon, who was timed in 15:40 for fourth place, Jerry Macari (15:51), Rich Burlew (16:00), Mike Nehr (16:16), Neil Levy (16:41), Angel Tapia (16:43), and Chris Day (16:47).
Meanwhile, Mika Jepchirehir of Ossining ran a 17:42 for 15th place overall in a field of 432 finishers and was the women’s winner.
The race was named after a long-time world record holder for the indoor mile and the only runner ever over 40 to run under four minutes.
"It’s a great pleasure to be back here in New York," said Coghlan, whose 17:26 earned him 12th place overall and second in his age group. "We had a great turnout and we have great plans for the millennium."
The first three overall finishers each received cash prizes and first three place finishers in each age group received Irish porcelain.