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Crater Lake Rim Runs get touch of (world) class

CRATER LAKE ­ Bekele Tesfaye's coach made it clear he wanted hisstar pupil to take a 26.2-mile training jog on Saturday.

In the Crater Lake Rim Runs marathon.

The 26-year-old Tesfaye set out on a six-minute-per-mile pace, sped upon the hills coming home and broke the course record to win in 2 hours,38 minutes, 34.3 seconds.

Still, he didn't disobey his coach, Dan Ashimine of the Reebok RunningClub of Gardena, Calif.

My coach told me not to race today, said Tesfaye, a buddingdistance runner from Ethiopia who ran away from the field in smashing JerrySpears' 1995 course record of 2:40:03. So I just tried to run at asteady pace.

Despite his easy victory, Tesfaye found running difficult in the highaltitude (6,200 to 8,000 feet) of the Crater Lake rim on a clear, cool morning.

It was so cold early, I pulled a muscle in my leg, said Tesfaye.I didn't warm up enough.

This is the toughest marathon course I've run. The altitude makesit hard to breathe. When it's hard to breathe, it makes it harder to controlyourself. I tried to relax and take water at every station.

Tesfaye, who won the Rhode Island Marathon in 1996 and the ScandinavianMarathon the past two years, finished second in the 1996 Los Angeles Marathonand 10th in the 1997 Boston Marathon. He says he will be shooting for atop-10 finish in the New York Marathon in November.

So what is a world-class runner doing running the Crater Lake Rim Runs?

It's good training because it's up and down so much, he said.When you get in a big race where the course is flat, it makes it thatmuch easier.

Ashimine says Tesfaye's goal of winning three Boston Marathons and threeNew York Marathons may be a little overzealous.

Every runner has dreams, said Ashimine. My job is tocontrol him and keep him progressing. He's a world-class runner, but runnerscan get a little wild.

He's a legitimate 2:12 runner, said Ashimine. He hasthe ability to get it down to 2:08, but it will take time. Probably aboutone minute per year.

David Petersen of Bend finished second in 2:55:36.03, Tim Bailey of KlamathFalls was third in 3:05:29.75 and John Greengo of Seattle finished fourthin 3:05:29.59.

Karen Rayle, an elementary school teacher in Beijing, China, and a formerUniversity of Oregon cross country runner, won the women's marathon in 3:32:21.9.It was her second straight victory here.

My time was about two minutes faster than last year, shesaid. I ran pretty well.

I like this race because of the beauty of the course and becauseit's a race that goes uphill so much, the pressure is off to run a greattime. I was comfortably ahead and I just relaxed and looked at the scenery.

I learned to run distances running up volcanoes in Taiwan and Hawaii.I learned real fast that there is enjoyment in just finishing a race. I'mhappy with what I did today.

Dee Vandenberg of Lakeview finished second.

There also were 13- and 6.7-mile races.

In the 13-mile event, Bobby Gomez of Corvallis was the men's winner ina time of 1:15:36.7. Linda Hartman of Malin won the women's race in 1:34:22.8,and Bonnie Havens of Medford finished second in 1:35:17.3.

The final four miles were uphill but bearable, said Gomez, because thesparkling blue waters of Crater Lake sparkled just to his left.

It was so scenic, it took my mind off the pain, said Gomez,a former Oregon runner who is transferring to the University of San Diegoin the fall. When you hit the downhill portions of the course, youfelt good enough to really enjoy the view.

Hartman, a registered nurse for Klamath Tribal Health and Family Services,said the 900-foot climb at the end of the race was tough, but she pacedherself and finished strong.

I felt I could go a whole marathon when I finished, she said.I'll try that one of these days.

With the continual climb and high altitude, it's an enduring racethat tests you. But the views make it worthwhile.

Hartman said she was bothered by a sore heel early in the race.

It felt like I needed to stop and adjust my shoe, but I ran throughit for a while and the pain went away. I hadn't run 13 miles before. That'slong for me, but it went really well.

Leonard Hill of Klamath Falls won the men's 6.7-mile race in 35:26 andLore Hancock took the women's race in 45:34.

CRATER LAKE RIM RUN RESULTS

MEN'S MARATHON ­ Bekele Tesfaye 2:38:34.3, David Petersen 2:55:36.03,Tim Bailey 3:05:29.79, Jose Moreno 3:07:14.67.

WOMEN'S MARATHON ­ Karen Rayle 3:22:21.09, Dee Vandenberg.

MEN'S 13 MILES ­ Bobby Gomez 1:15:56.7, Robinson Howell 1:26:19.8,Eric Jensen 1:26:43.7, Ted Parlak 1:26:51.9, Paul Imperia 1:29:37.3.

WOMEN'S 13 MILES ­ Linda Hartman 1:34:22.8, Bonnie Havens 1:35:17.3,Susanne Ferro 1:39:09.2.

MEN'S 6.7 MILES ­ Leonard Hill 35:26, Chris Redtfeldt 39:08, JeremyPark 39:39, David Moreno 52:32, Ti mRose 42:47.

WOMEN'S 6.7 MILES ­ Lore Hancock 42:37, Laura Imperia 45:34, MarshaSchlottmann 49:44, Mari Beedlow 51:22, Kristy Creed 52:32, Holly Tretten54:2.