Gelete Burka wins in Madrid

Gelete Burka wins the San Silvestre Vallecana in Madrid

Ethiopia’s Gelete Burka was the overwhelming victor at Madrid’s 53th San Silvestre Vallecana, an IAAF Silver Label road race, on Sunday.

On the eve of the event, 2015 world 10,000m silver medallist Burka had commented that she didn’t rule out an attack on her own course record a 30:53, set in 2012.

On a pleasant night with the thermometer reaching 9C, the 2008 world indoor 1500m champion duly kicked off at a frantic pace, covering each kilometre within three minutes and passing the 5km point in 14:53, eight seconds quicker than what she managed for the same split in 2012.

By then she had already built a 64-second advantage on second-placed Catarina Ribeiro of Portugal, while Spain’s Azucena Díaz was third (15:59) five seconds ahead of Britain’s Alyson Dixon.

Burka even increased her pace in the subsequent kilometres, recording 20:43 at the seven-kilometre point with Ribeiro some 1:26 adrift, Diaz another four seconds behind but herself five seconds ahead of Dixon.

Although her speed decreased in the closing two kilometres, the 31-year-old Ethiopian remained well on schedule to beat the course record. But she had to momentarily stop running to avoid a collision with a lead motorbike with some 300 metres remaining.

She eventually crossed the line in 30:55 to miss her own course record by two seconds.

Ribeiro took second comfortably in 32:41 and the 39-year-old Dixon managed to overtake Díaz in the closing kilometre to finish third in 32:57 to the Spaniard’s 33:06.

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