Winner lives up to his billings
Tufa Tigist is the first female runner to finish the Cigna/Elliot 5K race in Manchester on Thursday. Mark Bolton/Union Leader (MARK BOLTON / UNION LEADER)
The top female finisher was 26-year-old Tufa Tigist with a time of 15:48.
The top New Hampshire men's runner was Hollis' Nick Karwoski, 25, with a time of 14.49 (eighth overall). The top New Hampshire female was Heidi Westover of Walpole. The 32-year-old finished in 16:39, fourth best among the women.
Both Meketa and Tigist are Ethiopians training together in New York City with a group that made the trip to Manchester.
"It was a little bit windy and humid. I was hoping for under 14 minutes," Meketa said through the help of a translator. "The hill at the end was also tough. But I am happy I won."
Tigist was also pleased with her results.
"I liked the course and I had a great race," she said through her translator. "I ran a good time and I'm happy with it."
Other members of the Ethiopian group fared well. Megnistu Nebsi (35) finished second in 14:11 and Endale Abiyot (27) was third in 14:29. Brian Harvey (26) of Boston was fourth in 14:29 and Lowell, Mass., runner Ruben Sanca (26) rounded out the top five with a time of 14:33.
On the women's side, Tigist's running mates, Almaz Nejede (25), Meseret Tolwak (20) and Hirut Beyene (21), took second, third and fifth respectively. Nejede finished in 16:16, Tolwak in 16:24 and Beyene in 16:54.
Westover ran in the Olympic marathon trials in 2008 and 2012 and was the Bill Luti 5-Miler winner in Concord in July.
The course record times remained intact for another year. Another Ethiopian, Alene Reta of New York City, owns the overall mark of 13:52.65, set in 2009. Marie Davenport of Goffstown holds the women's record of 15:38.41, established in 2004.
Meketa and Tigist each received $600 for winning and the rest of the top five men and women also received cash prizes from $500 (second) down to $200 (fifth).
More than 270 corporate teams took part in the race as well.
Top 10 men
1. Aschalew Meketa, 25, New York, N.Y., 14:03; 2. Megnistu Nebsi, 35, New York, N.Y., 14:11; 3. Endale Abiyot, 27, Bronx, N.Y., 14:29; 4. Brian Harvey, 26, Boston, 14:29; 5. Ruben Sanca, 26, Lowell, Mass., 14:33; 6. Lishal Yigezu, Mount Vernon, N.Y., 14:36; 7. Tefera Demesse, 30, New York, N.Y., 14:42; 8. Nick Karwoski, 25, Hollis, 14:49; 9. Tariku Bokan, New York, N.Y., 14:54; 10. Alex McGrath, Marlborough, 14:55
1. Tufa Tigist, 26, Bronx, N.Y., 15:48; 2. Almaz Nejede, 25, New York, N.Y., 16:16; 3. Meseret Tolwak, 20, New York, N.Y., 16:24; 4. Heidi Westover, 32, Walpole, 16:39; 5. Hirut Beyene, 21, New York, N.Y., 16:54; 6. Steph Reilly, 35, 16:56; 7. Aregash Abato, 22, Bronx, N.Y., 16:59; 8. Jessica Barton, 24, Newton, Mass., 17:21; 9. Karen Roa, 23, Somerville, Mass., 17:34; 10. Beverly Antunes, 30, Somerville, Mass., 17:36