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Justin Freeman, of New Hampton, finishes the 22nd Annual Cigna/Elliot Corporate 5K race in Manchester. Freeman came in fourth. (JOSH GIBNEY/UNION LEADER))

Worku wins Cigna/Elliot 5K in a breeze

MANCHESTER — There was no stopping Abiyot Worku on Thursday night. It was clear that there would be no slowing him down, either.

Worku, 28, met little resistance and breezed to victory in the 22nd Cigna/Elliot Corporate 5K Road Race in 14 minutes, 23 seconds.

Worku, who also won this race in 2012, distanced himself from the rest of the field at the half-mile mark and extended his lead on Boston’s Brian Harvey the rest of the way. Harvey finished second in 14:41.

While Worku’s time was good enough to win this year’s race, it fell short of the race record (13:53) established by Ethiopia’s Alene Reta in 2009. Worku was born in Ethiopia, but now resides in New York City.

It was the fourth time Worku has competed in the Cigna/Elliot 5K.

“Since the start I was very comfortable,” Worku said. “I could have run harder if someone was pushing me, but I didn’t have to finish hard. I wasn’t worried about my time. I was here just to win.

“I was surprised (Harvey) fell back after a half mile, I’ve run with him before. He good. He’s a strong runner.”

Grace Kahura, a 21-year-old Kenyan, was the top female finisher. She ran a personal-best time of 16:36. It was the first time Kahura, who now lives in New Paltz, N.Y., competed in the race.

“I’m shocked because the last time I ran a 5K was 17:21,” Kahura said. “I didn’t think I would win, but I was ready to keep up with any strong woman because I’ve been training hard. The course was excellent. I’m so, so happy.”

Goffstown’s Marie Davenport holds the women’s record. She set the record in 2004, when she completed the course in 15:38.41.

Justin Freeman, a 37-year-old New Hampton resident, was the top New Hampshire finisher. Freeman finished fourth overall in 14:57.

Manchester’s Christine Shaw ran the fastest time of any New Hampshire female. Shaw, 28, completed the course in 17:20. She finished fourth among females.

Eighteen of the top 25 male finishers were from New Hampshire. Shaw was one of 21 New Hampshire residents among the top 25 females.

Last year’s winners were Aschalew Meketa (14:02) and Tufa Tigist (15:47), both of whom are New York residents. Neither competed in this year’s race.



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