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A large, enthusiastic crowd lining the finish line erupted as Daniel Tapia became the first-ever Monterey County native to win the 15-year-old event.
Tapia grew up in nearby Prunedale and ran a personal best to beat runner-up Futsum Zienasellassie, a six-time All-American at Northern Arizona University, in his debut half marathon.
Bekele had briefly drifted off the back of the lead pack around 12km when his compatriot Asefa Diro went through seven seconds ahead of him.
But he soon got back on level terms before surging away just after 18km and leaving his pursuers in disarray.
In fifth place emerging local star Loganathan Suriya continued her run of fine form to set another national record following her at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon last month.
The race started at city hall and finished at the center of Port Island while good weather prevailed.
Tapia also bested the women’s winner to nearly double his prize money in the battle-of-the-sexes “Equalizer Challenge”.
3861 were competing in the Monterey Bay Half Marathon for the first time, and 1231 had never competed at the distance before.Yeshaneh finished second for the second time in a row but improved her personal best by 33 seconds.Loganathan Suriya, in eighth, finished in an Indian half marathon record of , breaking the record set by Lalita Babar in this same race in 2015 by 33 seconds.A special ceremony was staged just before the start: “Raise hands with yellow gloves” which was observed by all participants and organizing teams.The raised yellow gloves represented sunflowers which are the symbol of reconstruction following the Great Earthquake which destroyed Kobe and left 6400 dead when it struck 22 years ago.