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Ethiopia’s Daska Women’s Favorite in B.A.A. 10K

DASKA AIMING FOR WIN AT B.A.A. 10-K
By Chris Lotsbom

(c) Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(Used with permission)

(19-Jun)
— Returning to Boston for Sunday’s B.A.A. 10-K, Ethiopian Mamitu Daska
is confident that she has what it takes to win the $5,000 first-place
prize at the third annual race through Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.
Coming off of a personal best performance and having experienced the
city roads before, the 29-year-old is prepared for a fast race through
the Massachusetts capital.

“I am hoping to be able to win
there. I am hoping to prepare very well and win there,” said a quiet
Daska, speaking exclusively with Race Results Weekly on June 7 in New
York City.

Daska has had quite the success on American roads
over the past two years. Among her many victories include the Aramco
Half-Marathon in Houston, Dick’s Sporting Goods Bolder Boulder 10-K in
Colorado, Freihofer’s Run for Women 5-K in Albany, N.Y., and two weeks
ago the Oakley New York Mini 10-K, where she set a personal best of
31:47 on a hilly course.

“When you work very hard and get the fruits of your labor, it feels very good,” she said following her win in New York City.

The
last time Daska raced in Boston was at the 117th Boston Marathon on
April 15, when she finished a disappointing 12th in 2:33:31. Going out
with the main pack and hitting halfway in 1:14:34, Daska faded over the
final seven kilometers. Her second half timed in 1:18:57.

“It’s
been about two months since I ran [in Boston] and I have rested and
recovered well,” she said, speaking through veteran translator and
journalist Sabrina Yohannes.

Though her race was a
disappointment, Daska did leave Boston with a glimmer of hope. Her
Nike/Elite Sports teammate and part-time training partner Lelisa Desisa
had come away with the men’s victory. Desisa was only the fourth
Ethiopian man in history to win the Hopkinton-to-Boston race; his time
was 2:10:22.

“I was extremely happy for him. He is my
countryman but he is also my teammate so I was happy both for our
country and our team,” said Daska. Desisa is also running the B.A.A.
10-K, and the pair are aiming for a clean sweep of the top spots. The
race is the second of three events in the B.A.A. Distance Medley, but
neither Desisa nor Daska are entered in the overall Medley competition.

“He
won the marathon and is hoping to win the 10-K. We train together, so I
am pretty confident that he will also win the 10K,” she said. “You
never know. If God wills it, I hope we will both [win]. I expect we
will both.”

In Boston, Daska is hoping to build upon her recent
success in New York, when she broke from Kenya’s Linet Masai soon after
5 kilometers and ran alone the rest of the way. At the B.A.A. 10-K,
likely challengers are reigning champion, course record holder and
reigning Distance Medley overall champion Kim Smith of New Zealand;
Ethiopian compatriots Werknesh Kidane and Aheza Kiros; and Kenyan
Lineth Chepkurui, who has run 30:45 for the 10-K distance.

When
asked if she was excited to return to Boston for the B.A.A. 10-K –a
fast, flat course in which the past two winning times have been under
32:00– Daska said no matter the place she is ready to run.

“As long as there is a race, no matter where it is, the thing to do is go there and run,” she said with a smile.

PHOTO:
Mamitu Daska with 400 meters to go at the 2013 Oakley New York Mini
10-K; she won the race in a personal best 31:47

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