An up-and-coming runner from Ethiopia conquered his first Bay to Breakers and Olympian Ryan Hall placed as high as any American since 1986.
Tolossa Gedefa Fufi, 23, won the men’s field in the 102nd Craigslist Bay to Breakers on Sunday, finishing the 12-kilometer race through the heart of The City in 35 minutes 1 second. Hall finished in second place 39 seconds later.
Like Gedefa Fufi, Hall was competing in his first-ever Bay to Breakers and his runner-up finish was the highest placement by an American since Ed Eyestone won the race 27 years ago.
“I’d love to come back here and take another swing at this after running it once,” Hall said. “I’d love to come back and try to win it.”
For the first 2.7 miles of the course, Gedafa Fufi ran neck-and-neck with fellow Ethiopian Tesfaye Sendeku Alemayehu, who finished fifth in last year’s race. The runners trudged up the Hayes Street Hill elbow-to-elbow, with Sendeku Alemayehu reaching the top first.
But Gedefa Fufi pulled ahead on the way down the hill and led by about a half-block by the time he reached the Panhandle. He cruised through Golden Gate Park more than 30 seconds ahead of Hall, 30, who eventually pulled into second place.
“[Gedefa Fufi] is just in phenomenal shape and he was not coming back,” Hall said.
Sendeku Alemayehu finished third with a time of 36:04.
The race was Hall’s first since the 2012 Olympic marathon. The Redding resident spent the year recovering from platar fasciitis, right hamstring tendinitis and two torn quadriceps muscles.
“I haven’t had a good race since Olympic trials, so to be out there and be like, ‘Oh, I’m actually running well’ was great,” he said.
Hall said he’d like to come back in better shape next year and win the race for his country.
“I think we’re the third-best country in the world right now,” he said in reference to running. “And even today it showed. We’re getting deeper and deeper, and it’s great to be a part of that.”