Young woman wins Pittsburgh EQT 10-Miler for third year in a row
Women’s winner Buze Diriba is from Ethiopia. Men’s winner Panuel Mkungo is from Kenya.
PITTSBURGH —(wtae)Cool and damp conditions kicked off the fifth annual EQT 10-Miler, which started near Station Square and ended Downtown Sunday morning.
Panuel Mkungo of Kenya, 23, finished the race in 47 minutes and 3 seconds. Just a few minutes later, Buze Diriba of Ethiopia, also 23, won the women’s race for the third year straight.
Runner Kaitlin Goodman said the cheering fans made up for the bad weather.
“The race was tough,” said Goodman. “I think having the rain beforehand made the roads very slick, but there was no rain during the race and there were a ton of fans, even with sketchy weather. So it was nice to have fans cheering and it got me through the tough miles.”
More than 4,500 people from 29 states competed.
For Ethiopia’s Buze Diriba, EQT win makes it a three-peat
(post-gazette)- Buze Diriba has had her share of success at the EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler.
And she added another feather to her cap this year.
Diriba, a native of Ethiopia, posted a time of 52 minutes, 11 seconds, to defeat fellow countrywoman Gotytom Gebreslase by four seconds to win the women’s division of the annual event for the third consecutive year.
“I like to run here and this is my favorite course,” Diriba said. “I just like it here.”
Unlike last year when she set the course record of 51:37 that beat the previous mark by 1:17 and defeated the second-place runner by 25 seconds, Diriba was pushed throughout and couldn’t get away from Gebreslase. The two were locked up with each other from the moment they broke from a pack of six competitors between the fourth and fifth miles and started down the final stretch on Liberty Avenue together before Diriba pulled away.
“Today was a tough day,” Gebrelase said. “This was my first time here and first time running a 10-mile.”
Diriba was a double winner as well.
Because this race was part of the Professional Road Running Organization circuit — one that actually began with the 2016 EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler and ended with Sunday’s race — she was awarded a $10,000 super bonus for winning one of the four earlier circuit races and the finale. This was in addition to the $4,000 first-place prize money awarded by the race as part of its $26,200 purse.
While Diriba is intimately familiar with all the twists and turns this race has to offer, Panuel Mkungo had to figure it all out on the fly. The 23-year-old Kenyan who trains in Maryland posted a personal best at this distance with a 47:03, which was just eight seconds better than runner-up and fellow Kenyan Silas Kipruto.
“I took it out fast and it was a very tough race with my friends, so I knew from about the 8-mile, but I decided to stay behind until 10 kilometers and at 14 kilometers I decided to push a little bit and I won the race,” Mkungo said. “It was a very tough race to win.”
Mkungo broke out early in a pack of 15 runners about a mile into the race, but slowly but surely some began falling away. The biggest split came at the 5-mile mark where a quick surge put five runners, Mkungo, Kipruto, Elkanah Kibet, Stanley Kebenei and Simion Chirchir, in the lead will all vying for position for the next three miles.
During that time, Mkungo sat in the back of the pack and drafted off the others just a few feet in front of him.
“It was definitely a tough race so I was lagging behind, so that’s why I waited for 14K before I decided to go,” Mkungo said. “I tried to go at the 6-mile, but it was very hard so I stayed back and then I tried to push a little bit and then I won the race.”
Even though Mkungo had some energy because of drafting off the other runners, he remained stuck in a pack of four, Kipruto, Kibet and Chirchir, when they hit Mile 9 and began the long straightaway toward the finish line.
Finally, with about a half-mile remaining, Mkungo shook loose and made his kick. He covered the last mile in 4:34 — slightly ahead of his race-long 4:43 mile pace — and made it across the finish line where he collapsed in exhaustion.
Mkungo was helped to a wheelchair and rolled off the course by medical personnel. It was only precautionary, though, as he was up and walking around unencumbered a few minutes later, celebrating his first win in Pittsburgh with his fellow competitors.
“I have much positive to say about my first time here in Pittsburgh,” Mkungo said. “It was nice to run well here.