The newest member of the Mammoth Track Club did not take long to make a bold statement last weekend.
Shadrack Biwott, who until recently ran for the University of Oregon, was the top American male in the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon on Sunday, June 1 took 6th place, with MTC’s Gabe Proctor placing 8th, in a field of nearly 25,000 runners.
Meanwhile, former Mammoth Track Club member Meb Keflezighi, the winner of the Boston Marathon, paced a group of runners on their way to personal bests, even though Meb himself was not an official entrant.
Biwott, however, was among the revelations in a race dominated by Ethiopian runners.
Biwott ran the course in 1:01:25, under the watchful eye of coach Andrew Kastor, in cool, humid conditions.
His teammate, Proctor, broke 62 minutes for the first time, finishing eighth in 1:01:40.
Overall, 20-year-old Solomon Deksisa of Ethiopia broke away from Kenyan Geoffrey Bundi near Mile 11 and sped to victory, running the 13.1 miles in 1 hour, 10 seconds. Bundi, 26, finished second in 1:00:26.
In the women’s race, three-time Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo, 33, of Kenya entered the race as the star, but it was 20-year-old Ethiopian Birhane Dibaba who won the race.
About 50 meters from the tape on the downhill finish, Dibaba pulled away to win in 1:09:34. Jeptoo settled for second in 1:09:37.
The main attraction, though, was Keflezighi, now living in his hometown and whose high and high school are near the course.
Meb helped runners trying to break 1 hour, 30 minutes. As he did at his emotional April performance in Boston, when he became the first American male to win the historic Patriots Day race in 31 years, Meb set the pace.
Drafting off Keflezighi and motivated by his encouragement, numerous runners set half-marathon personal records.
As for the Mammoth Track Club, Biwott’s race was one more notch on its belt, by someone whose name residents had better get used to—in a hurry.