Former champion Abebe Dinkesa and three other previous winners of the Obudu international mountain race have confirmed their participation in this year’s race which holds at the Obudu Ranch Resort in Obudu, Cross River state this weekend.
Ethiopia’s triple winner, Dinkesa will be gunning for an historic fourth title at the race tagged Mountain Rcae for the Stars to celebrate the 10th year of hosting Africa’s first ever mountain race championships.
He won the men’s title and the accompanying $50,000 top prize in 2008, 2010 and 2012.
Also staging a return to challenge for the top prize is the men’s defending champion, Kenya’s Philemon Rono who ran 1:00:43, the fastest time by any man at the race since the course changed from 11.25km to 13km to win last year.
Rono will also be hoping to become the first man to successfully defend the men’s title at the championship. Dinkesa holds the former course record and the fastest winning time at 41.45 seconds which he ran in winning his first title in 2008.
Another athlete staging a return is Ethiopia’s Hunegnaw Mesfin who won the men’s title in 2011 with 41:50, the second fastest winning time of the old course.
Also, Ethiopian marathoner Genet Yalew is the only former female winner making a return for the top prize and honour of being crowned Obudu mountain race queen.
Yalew will be aiming for a hat-trick of titles after winning in 2011 and 2013. She won her first title in a record setting fashion, shattering the 48:57 course record set by her compatriot, Meselech Melkamu a year earlier.
She repeated as winners two years later on an expanded course with a new course record of 58:55.
Like Rono for men, Yalew will also be aiming to become the first woman in the history of the race to successfully defend the women’s title.
Meanwhile the vice-chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the race, Partrick Ugbe has revealed that full doping control will be carried out during the race.