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Get to know Mengistu Emebet, the surprise 2019 Around the Bay winner

Emebet has had some impressive road results and is hoping to compete for Canada one day

Mengistu Emebet, 27, of Mississauga was the surprise winner of Around the Bay in Hamilton, Ont. last weekend in 1:45:57, less than a minute and a half off Lanni Marchant’s course record of 1:44:40. Emebet handily won the race, beating second-place finish Dayna Pidhoresky by more than three minutes. In third place was Salome Nyirarukundo of Ottawa in 1:50:03.

Sarah Inglis with Mengistu Emebet and Tamara Jewett at Spring Run-off 2019. Photo: Maxine Gravina

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Emebet is relatively new to the Canadian scene. She ran a strong Boxing Day 10-miler to finish third in 59:34. Yesterday, the runner finished second at the Spring Run-Off 8K. She told Paul Gains of Canada Running Series post-race that she’s only been in Canada for one year. “I am not a Canadian citizen I am a landed immigrant but not citizen. But [if] I want (citizenship) I have to run for Canada. I want to run world cross country and the Olympics and the world championships for Canada. I would do them all.”

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Photo: Maxine Gravina

As a junior, Emebet ran for Ethiopia three times at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships on the same team as both Genzebe Dibaba and Tirunesh Dibaba. She currently trains with coach Paul Poce out of the Toronto Olympic Club. 

The Canadian women’s distance running scene has had a huge upswing in the past two years. Not only has the Canadian women’s marathon record gone down in 2019, but in 2018 there were several Canadian women who were breaking master’s records, and an unprecedented number of Canadian women ran in and around 2:30. Of the 20 fastest Canadian women in history, six have run their best times in the past 16 months. The addition of a woman like Emebet would be a huge get for an already thriving women’s running scene.

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