Women's distance running produced mixed results in 2012, with three veteran stars dividing the year's biggest prizes.
Meseret Defar won the 5000-meter gold medal in London in a close race, edging Vivian Cheruiyot and Tirunesh Dibaba to regain the crown Defar first won in 2004. Cheruiyot won three times to take the Diamond League 5000-meter title, including the year's fastest race, in Rome on May 31. Cheruiyot won the race in a world-best 14:35.62, just .03 ahead of Defar. Kenyans and Ethiopians scored 30 of the world's 31 best 5000-meter times of 2012.
Dibaba easily defended her 10,000-meter Olympic title, beating Sally Kipyego by more than five seconds, with Cheruiyot earning the bronze. Dibaba posted the year's fastest two times, winning the Olympics in 30:20.75 and running 30:24.39 in Eugene on June 1.
Kenya's Hellen Obiri took indoor distance honors in 2012, winning the World Indoor Championships 3000-meter gold medal in 8:37.16, followed by Defar and Gelete Burka.
Mary Keitany ran the fastest marathon of the year, winning the London Marathon in April in 2:18:37. Tiki Gelana won London's other marathon this year - the Olympic marathon - in 2:23:07, beating Kenya's Priscah Jeptoo by five seconds. Kenyans and Ethiopians continued to dominate the women's marathon in 2012, posting the top 19 times of the year, although Tatyana Arkhipova earned Russia some recognition by taking the Olympic bronze medal.
Meseret Hailu won the World Half Marathon Championship in 1:08.55, edging fellow Ethiopian Feyse Tadese by one-hundredth of a second, with Kenya's Paskalia Chepkorir in third.
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