Moroccans dominate most competitive 10K race in years

Four sub-28 minute finishes put Ottawa at top of Canadian destinations for elites

May 25, 2013 – OTTAWA – Thirty-three-year-old Moroccan El Hassan El Abbassi crossed the finish line of the 10K Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend with a time of 27:36 in the most exciting race the city has witnessed in years.

El Abbassi led a tight pack of elite racers, barely holding his edge on Ethiopian Adugna Bikila, 24, at 27:37, 31-year-old Geoffrey Mutai from Kenya in 27:38, and fellow Moroccan Najim El Qady, 32, with a time of 27:41.

Despite shaving three seconds off his 27:41 winning time in 2012 and leading most of the way, Mutai was out-sprinted in the final stretch. It was a good night for El Abbassi, who shaved 26 seconds off his personal best time of 28:07.


“This year’s field exceeded my expectations for its depth of talent,” says Manny Rodrigues, Elite Athlete Coordinator. “With four runners finishing under 28 minutes tonight, it cements Ottawa’s reputation as Canada’s most sought after destination for international elite runners.”

Windy weather may have prevented racers from beating the 2009 course record of 27:24 set by Deriba Merga of Ethiopia.  After a rainy week, cool and dry windy conditions moved into the nation’s capital Friday evening.

Malika Assahah, 30, from Morocco, placed first among women elites with a time of 31:45 – a full 30 seconds faster than her personal best time of 32:15. She was followed by 29-year-old Ethiopian Firehiwot Dado at 31:48 and 30-year-old New Zealander Mary Davies at 32:08.


First Canadian male to finish was Kelly Weibe, 23, of Vancouver, with a time of 29:22. Among the strong contingent of Canadian elite women who lined up this year, London, ON native Lanni Marchant, 29, finished with a time of 32:45. Right behind her with a time of 32:51 was 36-year-old Brantford, ON native Krista Duchene, who handily beat her previous best time of 34:08.  Rounding out the leading Canadian women was Natasha Fraser, 31, from Port Moody, BC with a time of 33:35.

“A number of athletes will go home happy tonight,” says Rodrigues. “Both men and women winners ran significant personal best times, and Canadians  in particular did exceptionally well.”


1. El Hassan EL ABBASSI 27:36.6 Morocco
2. Adugna BIKILA 27:37.3 Ethiopia
3. Geoffrey MUTAI 27:38.4 Kenya
4. Najim EL QADY 27:41.9 Morocco
5. Edwin KIPYEGO 28:21.8 Kenya
6. Shadrack BIWOTT 28:55.5 USA
7. Ahmed BADAY 28:57.7 Morocco
8. Kelly WIEBE 29:22.0 Canada
9. Martin DENT 29:49.0 Australia
10. Edwin KAITANY 29:59.5 Kenya



1. Malika ASSAHAH 31:45.7 Morocco
2. Firehiwot DADO 31:48.2 Ethiopia
3. Mary DAVIES 32:08.4 New Zealand
4. Hellen JEMUTAI 32:12.8 Kenya
5. Juliet CHEKWEL 32:38.1 Uganda
6. Lanni MARCHANT 32:45.8 Canada
7. Krista DUCHENE 32:51.9 Canada
8. Joyce CHEPKIRUI 33:00.2 Kenya
9. Natasha FRASER 33:35.0 Canada
10. Rkia EL MOUKIM 33:57.0 Morocco