Fourth time's the charm for Harroufi, 2011 winner of Zazzle Bay to Breakers 

For Ridouane Harroufi, it was about time.

The 29-year-old Moroccan speedster smiled wide after winning the Zazzle Bay to Breakers on Sunday for the first time in four straight tries.

Three years ago, Harroufi lost in the final stretch to Kenyan John Korir. On Sunday, the men’s race again came down to the final 100 meters. This time, Harroufi stepped on the gas and came out ahead, finishing in 34 minutes, 26 seconds, three seconds faster than 28-year-old Ethiopian Direba Merga.

“I didn’t want to lose today,” a panting and elated Harroufi said after the race. “When I saw the [finish line], I told my mind that I’m going to die today to win this race.”

Of any elite runner in Sunday’s field, Harroufi had run the most Bay to Breakers and owned the fastest 1,500-meter time.

Kenyan Allan Kiprono, 21, finished third in 34:31; Ethiopian Tesfaye Sendeku, 27, was fourth in 35:10; and Kenyan Lani Kiplagat, 22, fifth in 35:21.

U.S. marathon megastar runner Meb Keflezighi, 36, finished seventh in 35:34. Maybe the field’s greatest athlete, Keflezighi is an Olympic silver medalist in the marathon and in 2009 became the first American since 1982 to win the New York City Marathon.

It was the 100th running of the Bay to Breakers, which starts downtown at Howard and Beale streets and ends on the Great Highway at Ocean Beach. A field of 55,000 registered runners and walkers competed on a cold and windy morning.

The elite runners ran under dry skies. Until the end, the wind hit the runner’s backs, Harroufi said. The Moroccan said his strategy on the notoriously difficult Hayes Street Hill, a steep slope at the about the 2.5-mile marker, helped propel him to victory this year.

He said he drafted behind two Ethopian runners up most of the hill, then blew past them in the final 30 meters. By being the first to crest Hayes Street Hill, he netted a $5,000 prize in addition to the $32,000 he earned for crossing the finish line first.

A San Franciscan also had a good showing in the Bay to Breakers. Bolota Asmerom, 32, finished in 36:40, placing eighth.


Ridouane Harroufi    
Morocco 34:26
Direba Merga
Ethiopia 34:29
Allan Kiprono
Tesfaye Sendeku
Ethiopia 35:10
Lani Kiplagat Kenya
Jason Hartmann
Boulder, CO
Meb Keflezighi Mammoth Lakes 35:34
Bolota Asmerom
San Francisco 36:40
Neil McDonagh Pensacola, FL 36:53
Patrick Rizzo Boulder, CO 37:00
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