Ayele Feisha's Sunday started about 4:30 a.m. in New York City. He drove to Philadelphia, lined up at Broad Street and Fisher Avenue with tens of thousands of others who participated in the Broad Street Run, and started running at 8:31 a.m.
A little later, Feisha extended his arms and ran through the finish at the Navy Yard. His official time was 47 minutes, 3 seconds - 8 seconds better than the next-fastest runner in the 10-mile race.
The fastest female runner was Askale Merachi, who finished in 53:46. Both Feisha and Merachi are natives of Ethiopia. The fastest American-born runner was Cole Atkins, who finished in 47:44.
Through an interpreter, the 24-year-old Feisha said he "felt perfect" and "relaxed." He said it was cold, but he wore layers. This was his fourth race in the United States. The longest race he has ever run is a half-marathon (13.1 miles).
He kept pace with the other finishers in the top four (Eric Chirchir, 47:11; Girma Gebre, 47:17; and Abdelhadi El Mouaziz; 47:21) for much of the race before breaking away with about two miles remaining. He bested Chirchir two weeks ago in a race in Maryland, and was confident he would beat Chirchir again.
Feisha said he wanted to participate in the Broad Street Run because of the purse. He earned $3,000 by winning the race. So did Merachi, who is 26 and finished second last year.
"I'm happy," Merachi said.
Atkins ran out to a lead and held it for about three miles before he was passed by El Monaziz before reaching Temple's campus. The top four runners were together for much of South Broad Street before Feisha broke away. Atkins remained a few paces behind at that point.
"Even when I went to the front at the first couple of miles, it didn't feel that bad - I just wanted to get in my own rhythm and feel it," said Atkins, who was in Philadelphia for the first time and hoped to attend the Phillies game before returning to North Carolina. "It caught up to me in the end. I was catching them a little bit until around eight [miles], and then it got bigger."
Feisha's goal was to run in 46 minutes. The course record is 45:14, set by Patrick Cheriuyot in 2007. Feisha will have his opportunity when he returns to Philadelphia; he said after the race that he plans to run again.
"Yes," he confirmed. "Next year."