Race Results Weekly Announces 2008 Runners of the Year

Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh
Dibaba Recognized for Multiple Olympic Titles


NEW YORK (December 22) — Race Results Weekly,
the wire service of distance running, announced today that Ethiopians
Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba had been selected the Race Results Weekly 2008 Runners
of the Year.  RRW, the
world‰Ûªs most comprehensive source of middle and long distance running
results and news, selected Bekele and Dibaba for their double gold medal
performances at the Beijing Olympics, IAAF World Cross Country
Championships titles, world and Olympic records, and nearly undefeated


“Bekele and Dibaba achieved more
this year than some of the world‰Ûªs top athletes will achieve in a
lifetime,” said Editor and Publisher, David Monti.  “For each of them to turn back all
challengers in two Olympic finals, and finish first in every final of the
year but one is incredible. 
They totally dominated.‰Û


Bekele, 26, defended his Olympic 10,000m title by
setting a new Olympic record of 27:01.17.  Three days later, he finished third in his 5000m heat,
and in yet another three days broke the Olympic record in winning the 5000m
in 12:57.82.  He became the
first man since countryman Miruts Yifter in 1980 to win both events at the
same Olympic Games.


‰ÛÏThe Eritreans, Kenyans,
Ugandans and even Bekele‰Ûªs own Ethiopian teammates did everything
they could to beat him, but he was simply too good,‰Û said Assistant
Editor Bob Ramsak.  ‰ÛÏYou
almost had to feel a little sorry for them, because Bekele made it look
relatively easy.‰Û


While Bekele‰Ûªs
Olympic double was the key achievement of his 2008 campaign, he also ran
the fastest times in the world for both 5000m (12:50.18) and 10,000m
(26:25.97), won the IAAF World Cross Country Championships 12 km event for
the sixth time, took the African title at 5000m, and set a world best for
two miles indoors (8:04.35). 
In 14 race appearances (13 finals), he finished first 12 times.  His only true defeat was in a 15
km road race last November in the Netherlands where he finished
third, despite sustaining a stress fracture in his right


Dibaba, who became the first
woman in history to win the 5000m and 10,000m titles in a single Olympic
Games, did so by running both the fastest and slowest Olympic winning times
in history.  Showing a total
mastery of her craft, despite being only 22 years-old at the time, Dibaba
roared to a blazing fast 29:54.66 to beat Turkey‰Ûªs Elvan Abeylegesse
in the 10,000m, the second-fastest time in history.  A week later, in an achingly slow
strategic race against Abeylegesse, and her compatriot and archrival
Meseret Defar, she won the 5000m title in 15:41.40, the slowest time in
Olympic history, with an overwhelming final sprint.


‰ÛÏShe was completely in command of those
races,‰Û said Assistant Editor Bob Ramsak who, like Monti, was in
Beijing to
cover the Games.  ‰ÛÏThe
tactics of her rivals simply didn‰Ûªt matter; fast pace or slow, it was
Dibaba hitting the tape first.‰Û


In addition to her Olympic victories, Dibaba also won
the IAAF World Cross Country championships 8 km for the third time,
shattered the world record for 5000m (14:11.15), and won the African title
at 5000m in front of a home country crowd in Addis Ababa.  In 11 starts, she was victorious 10 times, including


In determining the Race Results Weekly 2008 Runners
of the Year, the editors considered each athlete‰Ûªs entire competitive
record for the year, but ultimately gave the greatest weight to their best
and most inspiring performances, especially at major championships when the
stakes were highest.


Founded in 1994, Race Results Weekly is the professional distance
running results and news service relied upon by running industry
professionals.  RRW
covers over 2500 middle and long distance races each year; no source is
more comprehensive, respected or more timely.  Subscription information is available at http://raceresultsweekly.com/

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