Assefa Edges Out Bett At Lilac Bloomsday Run

Belete Assefa's late-race surge paid off. Photo:

He’s the first Ethiopian male winner in the race’s history.

Emmanuel Bett of Kenya was the pre-race favorite heading into the annual Lilac Bloomsday Run in Spokane last weekend, but he wasn’t the first runner to cross the finish line.

That honor went to Ethiopia’s Belete Assefa, who put on a courageous surge to win the race, becoming the Ethiopian male champion in the race’s 37-year history.

Assefa’s move came at the end with just a quarter of a mile left to go.

Buzunesh Deba, also an Ethiopian, won the women’s race.

Both champions netted $7,000 each for their wins. The race offered a total prize purse of $100,000.

The top American male was Brett Vaughn, while Kellyn Johnson was the first American female.

The field for the race was 51,000 strong and each runner was presented with a bracelet that said, “Bloomsday Stands With Boston,” in honor of the victims of last month’s bombing at the Boston Marathon.

The top masters male was Mbrarak Hussein, who netted $1,500.

For More: LetsRun

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