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Bloomsday elite men’s, women’s winners prevail in sprint finishes

UPDATED: Sun., May 7, 2017

From staff reports

Running for the second time in three days, Tanzanian Gabriel Geay surged to victory in the 41st Bloomsday on Sunday.

In his first visit to Spokane, Geay, 20, outsprinted Philemon Cheboi, 23, of Kenya to win the 12K race in a time of 34 minutes, 31 seconds.

As the leaders turned onto Monroe Street, Geay pulled away in the final 200 meters. Philip Langat, the 2016 champ, finished a distant fifth (35:07).

Geay finished fifth in a college/pro 5,000-meter race in Palo Alto, California, on Friday before arriving in Spokane on Saturday evening.

In the women’s elite race, Ethiopa’s Buze Diriba made a final push with the finish line just steps away, passing up Mamitu Daska, also of Ethiopia, on the right. Diriba won in 40:19.

The times were unofficial until Bloomsday officials confirmed them Sunday afternoon.

Diriba crossed over the finish line several steps ahead of Daska.

It was one of the slowest runs for Bloomsday in recent years. Diriba’s time tied the final time of last year’s fourth-place runner, almost two minutes slower than Cynthia Limo’s 2016 Bloomsday record time of 38:03.

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