Ethiopia's Mamitu Daska wins record sixth Bolder Boulder

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Ethiopia's Mamitu Daska wins record sixth Bolder Boulder

Ethiopian holds off USA Red's Aliphine Tuliamuk by 11 seconds

By Brian Howell  05/28/2018 06:27:19 PM MDT

Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska crosses the finish line on Monday during the Women’s International Team Challenge at the 2018 Bolder Boulder
‍Ethiopia's Mamitu Daska crosses the finish line on Monday during the Women's International Team Challenge at the 2018 Bolder Boulder (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

Going into Monday, Aliphine Tuliamuk was a Bolder Boulder rookie, but she knew how to give herself a chance at victory: stay close to Ethiopian Mamitu Daska for as long as possible.

"To beat her, I would have had to have an awesome day and she's really good when it comes to the hills," said Tuliamuk, a Kenyan native who ran for the USA Red team. "I wanted to stay with her as long as I could and I really wanted to win, but I also said, 'If I don't win, it would be nice to be second place.'"

Tuliamuk pushed her, but Daska was once again brilliant, winning the Bolder Boulder women's International Team Challenge for a record sixth time, covering the 10K course in 32 minutes, 36 seconds.

"First of all, I would like to thank the Bolder Boulder," Daska said through an interpreter. "I'm very happy to come and win this once again, for the sixth time."

Tuliamuk was just 11 seconds back, making this the smallest margin of victory for Daska. Still, Daska's time was the seventh-fastest in Bolder Boulder history, and she now owns four of the top seven — and five of the top 10 — times in this event.

Most importantly, Daska broke a tie with legendary Rosa Mota for the most career wins in event history. Mota won five titles from 1984-90.

"(Daska) put Rosa into second place on the all-time winners list; that's some feat," USA Track and Field official Bill Roe said. "It's incredible to win any race in this day and age. With the competitiveness and the access that people have to races, for somebody to win the same race six times with the level of competition that's here, that's an amazing feat."

Daska has now won six of the seven times she has entered the Bolder Boulder, while also placing second in 2011.

"I tried to run my best from the beginning and it was very competitive from the start," Daska said. "After nine kilometers, I got a little bit tired. I was also planning to make a good time, a record time. I wasn't able to do that, but I'm very happy to still be the winner of this race."

Daska gave Ethiopia its seventh consecutive individual victory. Ethiopia also won the international team challenge for the ninth time in 10 years, with all three runners finishing in the top four.

Tuliamuk led U.S.A. Red to a runner-up finish for the second year in a row. Emma Bates was seventh and Cally Macumber ninth.

Through nine kilometers, Tuliamuk was right with Daska and poised to make a push for the individual title.

"I wish I was stronger and held on longer, but I am so happy because two months ago today, I didn't even know I would be able to run fast," said Tuliamuk, 29, who moved to the U.S. nine years ago to attend Wichita State. "I had a herniated disc, so I'm coming back from injury. To be able to run a 10K like this without a lot of speed, it makes me happy. To break 33 minutes is even better."

Now living in Flagstaff, Ariz., which has an elevation of roughly 6,900 feet, Tuliamuk said she was prepared to handle altitude. She was blown away by the atmosphere, however.

"It doesn't get any better than this," she said as the crowd in Folsom Field roared for the finish of the men's race. "I have never been in a race where they cheer like this. It's crazy. Everybody told me this is a beautiful race, that the cheering is amazing, but I had to experience this to believe it."

Former CU star Shalaya Kipp felt the same way. She was a standout in cross country and track & field for the Buffaloes, but Monday was her first Bolder Boulder. She was 10th overall.

"First time doing the Bolder Boulder, first time doing a 10K ; it felt long," she said.

Kipp, who won the NCAA steeplechase title and competed in the Olympics in 2012, was a nine-time All-American with the Buffs and got a loud ovation as she entered the stadium for the finish.

"I've never been in a race where so many spectators know my name and are cheering," she said. "It's fantastic. Grabbing the U.S. flag and running into the stadium, people compare it to an Olympic stadium, but when it's your home turf, it's something else."

While Kipp said she would have loved to have had a better time, she was all smiles after the race.

"Any time you can wear USA across your chest, especially on Memorial Day, that's something really special," she said. "I can't really put it into words what it means."

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.

Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska, right, and USA Red’s Aliphine Tuliamuk head to the finish line on Monday at the 2018 Bolder Boulder.

Ethiopia's Mamitu Daska, right, and USA Red's Aliphine Tuliamuk head to the finish line on Monday at the 2018 Bolder Boulder. (Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer)

SOURCE : CANNON CITY DAILY RECORD

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