By | May 29, 2018


Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska wins record sixth Bolder Boulder

Fellow Ethiopian Getaneh Tamire takes men’s race

By Brian Howell and Pat Rooney, May 29, 2018

Mamitu Daska crosses the finish line on Monday during the Women’s International Team Challenge at the 2018 Bolder Boulder (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

BOULDER, Colorado, (Time-Call) — Going into Monday, Aliphine Tuliamuk was a Bolder Boulder rookie, but she knew how to give herself a chance at victory: stay close to Ethiopian Mamitu Daska for as long as possible.

“To beat her, I would have had to have an awesome day and she’s really good when it comes to the hills,” said Tuliamuk, a Kenyan native who ran for the USA Red team. “I wanted to stay with her as long as I could and I really wanted to win, but I also said, ‘If I don’t win, it would be nice to be second place.'”

Tuliamuk pushed her, but Daska was once again brilliant, winning the Bolder Boulder women’s International Team Challenge for a record sixth time, covering the 10K course in 32 minutes, 36 seconds.

“First of all, I would like to thank the Bolder Boulder,” Daska said through an interpreter. “I’m very happy to come and win this once again, for the sixth time.”

Tuliamuk was just 11 seconds back, making this the smallest margin of victory for Daska. Still, Daska’s time was the seventh-fastest in Bolder Boulder history, and she now owns four of the top seven — and five of the top 10 — times in this event.

Most importantly, Daska broke a tie with legendary Rosa Mota for the most career wins in event history. Mota won five titles from 1984-90.

“(Daska) put Rosa into second place on the all-time winners list; that’s some feat,” USA Track and Field official Bill Roe said. “It’s incredible to win any race in this day and age. With the competitiveness and the access that people have to races, for somebody to win the same race six times with the level of competition that’s here, that’s an amazing feat.”

Daska has now won six of the seven times she has entered the Bolder Boulder, while also placing second in 2011.

“I tried to run my best from the beginning and it was very competitive from the start,” Daska said. “After nine kilometers, I got a little bit tired. I was also planning to make a good time, a record time. I wasn’t able to do that, but I’m very happy to still be the winner of this race.”

Daska gave Ethiopia its seventh consecutive individual victory. Ethiopia also won the international team challenge for the ninth time in 10 years, with all three runners finishing in the top four.

Tuliamuk led U.S.A. Red to a runner-up finish for the second year in a row. Emma Bates was seventh and Cally Macumber ninth.

Through nine kilometers, Tuliamuk was right with Daska and poised to make a push for the individual title.

Mamitu Daska, right, and USA Red’s Aliphine Tuliamuk head to the finish line on Monday at the 2018 Bolder Boulder. (Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer)

“I wish I was stronger and held on longer, but I am so happy because two months ago today, I didn’t even know I would be able to run fast,” said Tuliamuk, 29, who moved to the U.S. nine years ago to attend Wichita State. “I had a herniated disc, so I’m coming back from injury. To be able to run a 10K like this without a lot of speed, it makes me happy. To break 33 minutes is even better.”

Now living in Flagstaff, Ariz., which has an elevation of roughly 6,900 feet, Tuliamuk said she was prepared to handle altitude. She was blown away by the atmosphere, however.

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” she said as the crowd in Folsom Field roared for the finish of the men’s race. “I have never been in a race where they cheer like this. It’s crazy. Everybody told me this is a beautiful race, that the cheering is amazing, but I had to experience this to believe it.”

Former CU star Shalaya Kipp felt the same way. She was a standout in cross country and track & field for the Buffaloes, but Monday was her first Bolder Boulder. She was 10th overall.

“First time doing the Bolder Boulder, first time doing a 10K ; it felt long,” she said.

Kipp, who won the NCAA steeplechase title and competed in the Olympics in 2012, was a nine-time All-American with the Buffs and got a loud ovation as she entered the stadium for the finish.

“I’ve never been in a race where so many spectators know my name and are cheering,” she said. “It’s fantastic. Grabbing the U.S. flag and running into the stadium, people compare it to an Olympic stadium, but when it’s your home turf, it’s something else.”

While Kipp said she would have loved to have had a better time, she was all smiles after the race.

“Any time you can wear USA across your chest, especially on Memorial Day, that’s something really special,” she said. “I can’t really put it into words what it means.”

Historic effort from Ethiopia’s Tamire highlights Bolder Boulder International Team Challenge

Getaneh Tamire crosses the finish line on Monday at the 2018 Bolder Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

Sam Chelanga embodies the American dream. And even if he didn’t finish the men’s pro race quite like he wanted to Monday at the 40th annual Bolder Boulder, Chelanga nonetheless was inescapably moved during his stretch run to the finish line at Folsom Field.

A Kenya-born runner who came to the United States to compete at the college level while gaining an education (he started at Fairleigh Dickinson before winning two cross country national championships at Liberty), Chelanga made his second consecutive appearance with the U.S. men’s elite team in the International Team Challenge at the 40th annual Bolder Boulder on Monday.

Though it wasn’t as successful a race as last year, when Chelanga placed third overall and helped the U.S. to a rare victory in the team standings, Chelanga nonetheless couldn’t help but feel a little overwhelmed coming down the stretch of the Bolder Boulder with a miniature American flag in hand.

“This is probably my favorite race ever,” Chelanga said. “To come in this stadium and here them cheering for you, it’s Memorial Day and I love America. I got my flag down there and was waving it down the home stretch. I think it embodies the spirit of remembering those who sacrificed for us. My heart was melting coming down there.”

Chelanga finished as the top American runner at ninth-place, clocking in at 29 minutes, 20 seconds. That was about 13 seconds off the pace from when he finished third in 2017, but Chelanga also admitted a recent victory in a marathon competition may have sapped some strength from his legs.

It was a historic effort at the front of the pack among the men’s professionals, with Ethiopia’s Getaneh Tamire taking first in 28:18. In favorable weather conditions, Tamire’s winning time was the fourth-best time ever recorded in the 40-year history of the Bolder Boulder. Tamire finished 21 seconds ahead of runner-up Gabriel Geay, a runner from Tanzania who ran on a unified Pan African team this year. Geay actually trimmed 24 seconds off his winning time from last year, but it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome Tamire’s standout effort.

“I have prepared for this race and I’m in good shape,” Tamire said through an interpreter. “I’ve done what I expected, but the air here was tough. But still, I’m very happy to be here and to be able to finish in first place.”

Tamire, who pulled away from the lead pack about halfway through the 10-kilometer race, helped Ethiopia to the top of the team standings in the men’s International Team Challenge with 16 points, topping second-place Bahrain by eight points. It was Ethiopian men’s eighth win overall and their first since 2015.

The United States Red team finished fourth, marking the first time since 2012 the Americans’ top team failed to finish within the top three. Following Chelanga on the U.S. team, Haron Lagat placed 10th, while Shadrack Kipchirchir and Golden native Scott Fauble finished 14th and 15th, respectively.

Leonard Korir, who placed second a year ago while leading the U.S. to the top of the team standings, finished 25th.

“I felt like I did a good job of keeping the pedal down and running to my fitness,” Fauble said. “It was a good day. I always want more and always want to do better, but I think I ran about as well as I expected of myself. The first time I ran this race was the 25th edition and I ran it with my dad. I’ve been very lucky to have been invited into the pro field the last three years.”

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