ONEONTA _ Not even a bout with the flu could slow Ethiopian Alene Reta.
Two days after flu-like symptoms landed him in a hospital, New York City resident Reta competed in the 14th annual Pit Run on Sunday and ran away with his second straight title.
Reta, 26, finished the 10-kilometer course in 30 minutes, 19 seconds _ six seconds shy of the course record set by Paul Mwangi in 2003. Mwangi, who guaranteed his return after Reta snapped his five-year reign last October, did not show up Sunday.
Reta blew away the field of 540 finishers en route to a victory by 3:12 over runner-up Aaron Robertson, a Bainbridge-Guilford graduate.
"I let him go from the beginning," said Robertson, one of 613 entrants in the 10K event. "I was actually in 15th or 20th place at the first mile, running about (a pace of) 5:35. I just started picking it up and we got to the (Bugbee Hill) section and I started passing people. I worked my way into second place and cruised down the hill and back into the park. But I never saw (Reta). I got to the top of the hill expecting to see a glimpse of him, but he was already gone."
Reta, who beat Mwangi by 13 seconds last year, took off from the start, led the entire race and earned a total of $800 _ $500 for winning and $300 for being the first to reach mile markers 1, 3 and 5 ($100 apiece).
"My body hasn't recovered (from being ill) and I was stiff," Reta said. "I just came to race and wanted to win. I looked after the first four miles and I was warmed up, so I pushed the last two miles and missed the course record.
"Nobody went together and nobody was with me," Reta continued. "Somebody needs to be with me to beat the course record. Six seconds is easy. I'm supposed to run under 30 (minutes), but nobody is with me, I was just by myself."