Ethiopian couple takes Parkway Classic


On April 27, a record 3,027 runners started the George Washington Parkway Classic and 900 more toed the line in the accompanying 5K, over 10 misting miles between Mount Vernon and Old Town.

An Ethiopian couple, Worku Beyi and Bizunesh Deba Beyi, put on dominating solo performances to win the runners classic. They were married three years ago and train together in the Bronx, where they live with other competitive Ethiopian runners. Th e couple frequently races together for the Westchester Track Club.

The 21-year-old Beyi shed eventual runner-up Steven Crane of Silver Spring after two miles and ended in 48:26, more than four minutes ahead of Crane.

The 21-year-old Deba shed her competition in the first two steps, darting ahead of eventual runner-up Erin Moore of Woodbridge by nearly a minute in the fi rst mile. Deba, back in training for the past year aft er suff ering an ankle injury, hit the fi nish line in front of Robinson Terminal in 58:52. Moore was far back in 1:05:52.

With a weak mens fi eld up front, Deba was able to place fi ft h overall with the slowest winning womens time in fi ve years.

Beyi and Deba, who each earned $500, became just the second couple in the races 24-year history to sweep the top prize. Steve and Lori Taylor did it in 1994, when the Parkway Classic was a 15-kilometer distance.

Beyi struggled last year against former housemate Demis Tefera, who decided this year to run the Pikes Peek 10K in Rockville. Last year, the two staged a sprint for the fi nish, with Beyi losing by one second in 47:31. Th ere was no such drama in this years race, but it was still not easy.

This year was hard, said Beyi, who ran fairly even halves with an opening 24:10 fi ve-mile split. Since nine months ago, my hamstring on both legs are hurting. After four, five miles, I was hurting. My right one is better, but the left one is not good. I was taking it easier this year because I have Bloomsday [12-kilometer race in Spokane, Wash.,] next weekend.

The 5K was won by Bert Rodriguez of Arlington (15:34) and Robyn Ellerbrock (19:34).

Steve Nearman is an avid and competitive runner, Nearman, of Old Town, contributes racing columns to The Washington Times.