The pace was fast, the conditions were prefect and Gosa Girma Tefera took advantage of both.

The 32-year old from Ethiopia, running in his first Fairfield Half Marathon, broke away from Josphat Kiptanui Too of Kenya with just over a mile to go and captured the 35th running of the race on a cool, overcast Sunday morning, finishing with a time of 1:04.05 over the 13.1-mile course.

“I felt strong the whole race,” Tefera said, who won $2,000 for finishing first overall. “The conditions were very good. The hills didn’t bother me. It was not a problem. It was a very good race.”

Kiptanui Too, who finished in 1:04.09, won $1,000 for taking second. He hung stride for stride with Tefera for almost the entire race before not being able to match the Ethiopian’s final burst.

“He stayed right with me. I tried to push but he had good speed,” Kiptanui Too said. ““I wanted a fast pace but he had a good finishing kick.”

Another Kenyan, Eluid Ngetich, placed third in 1:04.20. He was in the lead pack until the final mile and like Kiptanui Too, couldn’t keep up with the explosive Tefera.

“I was right there until about eight miles when the guy started pushing it. It wasn’t a good pace for me,” Ngetich said. “I knew I couldn’t stay with them so I just wanted to run my own race and enjoy. I was content with (finishing) third.”

Rounding out the Top 10 men’s finishers were: Najim El Qady (1:05.56), Birhanu Dare Kemal (1:07.05), Tyler McCandless (1:07.55), John Raneri (1:08.06), Thomas Young (1:10.04), Daniel Daly (1:11.09) and Daniel Grosvenor (1:13.45).

The top female finisher was Ethiopia’s Etaferahu Temesgen, who crossed the finish line in 1:14.09, beating fellow Ethiopian Elfnesh Melaku by 25 seconds.

“She had been training well coming into this race and she felt she could win,” Temesgen said through a translater. “She was expecting to beat the record but this was an up and down course, it was a bit difficult for her but she was always confident that she would win the race.”

So confident was Temesgen, she went out expecting to break the female course record of 1:12.06 set by Elaine Van Blank in 1993, but the hilly course proved to be too much.

“It (the weather) wasn’t difficult for her. The hills were,” the translator said. “She’s very happy.”

Tefera’s strategy was to stay with the lead pack until about the halfway point in the race and then make a move to see what the response was. He took the lead with about five miles to go and never lost it.

“He was good today,” Ngetich said of Tefera. “I’ve raced against him three times before and I’ve finished ahead of him. But today was a good day today for him.”

It might have been a good day for Kiptanui Too, who was running for the first time in America, had he checked out the course before running it.

“I only entered four days ago. I thought the course was flat,” Kiptanui Too said. “I didn’t see the course before. I was not expecting that. I’m satisfied with my race. I had heard good things, it was a nice race.”

celsberry@ctpost.com; @elsctpost/Twitter