Shetema was the star athlete in the field, coming into the race with a PB of 2:07:34 (Paris, 2007), and led the race for the entire second half. In the end he bided his time until the final 200m to kick clear from Tekalegn Kebelo to win in a time of 2 hours and 15 minutes and 23 seconds.
“It wasn’t the prize that brought me here,” said Shentema at the finish, “but Haile’s name. He is our inspiration. I’ve raced him many times [including in Berlin in 2006 and Dubai in 2008] and I came here for the honour of claiming the title of the first Haile Marathon winner.”
In the women’s race, the first three athletes are all members of the Senbeta training group under Negash Dube. Almaz Negede won in a time of 2:39:50, just over a minute outside her previous best of 2:38:09 from the 2012 Bucharest International Marathon.
Both male and female winners collected 100,000 birr ($5,500) for their victories, the biggest ever prize for a road race in Ethiopia.
Among the foreign entrants, first across the line was Jason Doland from Illinois who was awarded the Mike Long Trophy, in memory of the Elite Athlete Coordinator from Elite Racing [and the ‘Rock ‘n Roll Marathon’ series].
Speaking on behalf of Moray Mountain Sports, Rich Jayne said: “all our participants had a wonderful race experience, even those finishing in the heat of the day. They kept saying how friendly the people are here, and what amazing support was given by local spectators.”
Haile brought many of his close friends to the event including Gezahagne Abera, Belay Wolashe, and Gebremariam Gebregziabiher, and expressed his delight both at the high number of foreign competitors and the support from locals in staging the race: “Hawassa has today proved that it is the perfect venue for marathons.”
Results: 2013 Haile Gebrselassie Marathon
1. Gudisa Shentema (Defence) 2:15:23
2. Tekalegn Kebelo (Oromia Police) 2:15:24
3. Tesfaye Bekele (anti-HIV) 2:17:26
1. Almaz Negede (Tegen) 2:39:50
2. Abebech Tsegaye (Defence) 2:40:30
3. Sentayehu Getachew (Garad) 2:44:22