Ethiopians Come Long Way, Then Go to Win Atlantic City Marathon

Berhanu Mekonen crosses the Boardwalk finish line to win the 54th Atlantic City Marathon in i2 hours, 22 minutes, 55.54 seconds Sunday. ‘This course is a bit hard and windy,’ Mekonen said of a layout that began and ended on the city’ s seaside wooden planks. (Press of Atlantic City)

Press of Atlantic City

By JASON MAZDA

ATLANTIC CITY – Four years ago, Berhanu Mekonen might not have chosen the Atlantic City Marathon for his first marathon since moving to the United States from Ethiopia.

But the once-struggling event is again among the nation’s premier races.

Mekonen won the 54th Atlantic City Marathon and fellow Ethiopian Gedese Edeto was the women’s champion Sunday. The event, which also included a half-marathon Sunday and a 10K (6.2 miles), 5K and kids 1-mile run Saturday, drew about 4,000 entrants.

The Ethiopian contingent, which included several runners besides Mekonen and Edeto, was evidence of the resurgence of the nation’s third-longest-running marathon, which was taken over in 2009 by the Milton and Betty Katz Jewish Community Center in Margate.

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