Belaynesh Oljira leads strong field at Bogota’s Carrera de la Mujer

Belaynesh OljiraEthiopia’s Belaynesh Oljira heads a strong field of runners for the seventh edition of the Carrera de la Mujer de Bogotá (Bogota’s Women’s race), an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Sunday (29).

The 12km race is solely for women and will take place over a 4km loop in the Colombian capital’s Parque Simón Bolívar.

Part of the revenue will be dedicated to support campaigns, such as Liga Colombiana Contra el Cáncer, an organisation that fights cancer among women. Around 17,000 runners are expected to take part of the events, which include races from 2km to 12km for various age groups.

Oljira, 23, comes to Bogota after the best year of her career. She finished third at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz back in March and earned a bronze medal over 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow last month.

She has run 30:31.44 over 25 laps of the track to stand fourth in the world on time this year. Oljira also set a personal best at the Marathon with her 2:25:01 time in Dubai at the start of the year.

The 2625m altitude of Bogata will be one of Oljira’s main challenges. Besides that geographical factor, the Ethiopian runner will face rivals including her compatriots Zemzem Ahmed and Hiwot Ayalew, the USA’s Janet Bawcom, Poland’s Karolina Jarzynska, Morocco’s Malika Asahssah, Mexico’s Madai Perez, and the Kenyan pair of Paskalia Kipkoech and Sylvia Kibet.

Ahmed, 28, was seventh at the 2008 Olympic Games in the 3000m Steeplechase and won over the barriers at the African Championships that year but is now concentrating on road racing.

Ayalew, 23, is a talented performer on all surfaces. She was second at the World Cross Country Championships this year and placed fourth at the 2013 World Championships in the 3000m Steeplechase. On the roads she registered a second place in the New Orleans 10km with a 32:05 personal best and had a victory at the famous Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston. Read more

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