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Ethiopians dominate Ottawa Marathon 2015

Birhanu - Ottawa Marathon

May 24, 2015 – Ottawa – Ethiopian elite athletes once again this year took top prizes in the 41st running of the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon this morning. They led a field of nearly 6,000 participants.

Girmay Birhanu, 28, finished with a time of 2:08:14 – a solid race but not enough to topple the Ottawa 2:06:54 record set last year. He was followed by Kenyan Philip Kangogo, 31, with a time of 2:09:56; and Ethiopian Chele Dechasa, 30, with 2:09:59.

Aberu Zennebe, 31, won the women’s category in 2:25:30 with a sprint to the finish line. Zennebe was followed closely by Kenyan Rebecca Chesir, 22, at 2:25:41; and Ethiopian Abebech Aferork, 24, at 2:25:53.

First Canadian woman was Rachel Hannah, who finished at 2:33:30 for a 10th place overall finish. At 28, this was the Toronto-based athlete’s first marathon.

First Canadian man to finish was Vancouver-based Rob Watson, who placed 8th overall with a time of 2:19:22. Three Canadian men placed in the top 10. Watson went out aggressively, hoping for a 2:12 finish for a spot at the next Summer Olympic Games, but fell short of his goal.

The Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon holds an International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Silver label designation. It is the only silver label marathon event in Canada.

image credit: photorun

Top 10 Ottawa Marathon finishers – men and women

1. Girmay Birhanu


Ethiopia 2:08:14
2. Philip Kangogo


Kenya 2:09:56
3. Chele Dechasa Ethiopia 2:09:59
4. Rachid Kisri


Morocco 2:10:18
5. Peter Kirui


Kenya 2:10:23
6. Alfers Lagat


Kenya 2:11:28
7. Julius Chepkwony


Kenya 2:14:25
8. Robin Watson


CA 2:19:22
9. Lucas McAneney


CA 2:19:32
10. Terence Attema


CA 2:22:54

Top Women Ottawa Marathon

1. Aberu Zennebe


Ethiopia 2:25:30
2. Rebecca Chesir


Kenya 2:25:41
3. Abebech Afework


Ethiopia 2:25:53
4. Agnes Kiprop


Kenya 2:26:12
5. Meselech Melkamu


Ethiopia 2:26:45
6. Yeshi Esayias


Ethiopia 2:27:14
7. Melkam Gizaw Tola


Ethiopia 2:27:47
8. Etaferahu Temesgen


Kenya 2:29:24
9. Fantu Eticha Jimma


Ethiopia 2:29:45
10. Hannah Rachel


CA 2:33:30


“I’m just thrilled. My goal was to run under 2:34:00 … It all worked out well. I stuck to the pace and it paid off in the end,” said Rachel Hannah, first place female Canadian athlete.

“Today’s performances were very strong and we got to see some excellent racing. It was a great day for Rachel Hannah, and having three men place in the top 10 proved how talented the Canadian field is,” says Manny Rodrigues, Elite Athlete Coordinator for Run Ottawa.

“We have worked very hard to achieve the IAAF gold and silver label status. It enhances our visibility and brings the athletes in,” says John Halvorsen, President and Race Director of Run Ottawa.