Luanda, Angola –Haile Gebrselassie and Dire Tune lead Ethiopia to victory in both men and women’s categories of the 55th edition of Saint Sylvester yearend race here.

Defending champion Haile, representing Kabuscorp do Palanca of Luanda, finished first in 28:04, followed by Josphat Menjou of Kenya (28:34) and 15-years-old Ethiopian Bonsa Diba Direba (28:37).

In the women’s category, an Ethiopian team lead by Dire Tune (32:16), Almaz Ayana (32:19) and Rehima Rediz (33:14) clinched the top 3 positions.

About the Saint Sylvester Yearend Race

The Saint Sylvester yearend race was established by the Catholic Church in memory of the Pope Saint Sylvester from Rome (Italy) who ruled in 314 and 315 after Christ and died on 31 December. Due to his deeds in defending the faith, the Catholic Church decided to choose Saint Sylvester’s death to canonize him.

The yearend race started in 1954 in Angola, but in 1985 the event was dubbed Demosthenes de Almeida in memory of the national athletics booster, Demosthenes de Almeida Clington. In 2002, it was renamed Saint Sylvester yearend race.