Stellar Kenya dominate weekend road races
Kenyan athletes dominated the weekend road races starting with Lawrence Cherono, who set a new TCS Amsterdam Marathon course record of 2 hours 5 minutes and 9 seconds and led compatriots to a clean podium finish in Netherlands on Sunday.
Cherono added the Dutch title to his Honolulu Marathon title, pushing countryman Nobert Kigen (2:05.13) to also break the course record (2:05.21) of London Marathon champion, Daniel Wanjiru.
Abraham Kiptum followed Kigen after five seconds to stop the timer at 2:05.26 for third place.
In the women’s race, Gladys Chesir added cherry on the Kenyan performance in the Dutch City with a podium finish. Chesir clocked 2:24.54 for the runner’s up position behind Ethiopian Tadelech Bekele who took the race honours with a personal best of 2:21.54. Her compatriot Azmera Abreha settled for third place in 2:25.54.
Meanwhile, in Portugal, Kenyan runners had a good day in office as they dominated the Rock’n’Roll Lisbon Marathon EDP and Rock’n’Roll Lisbon Half Marathon Santander Totta RTP on Sunday.
Former Paris Marathon title holder Visiline Jepkesho withheld pressure from race favourites, Kenya born Bahrainis Rose Chelimo and Eunice Chumba to make her first international podium finish this season at the Rock’n’Roll Lisbon Half Marathon Santander Totta RTP an IAAF Gold Label road race.
Kiptum in a past race.IMAGE/360NOBS.COM
Chumba crossed the finish line in 1:08:48, ahead of Jepkesho who clocked 1:09:31, for second place. Chelimo who was making a return from a long rest after bagging the IAAF World Championships title in marathon, finished third in 1:09:48.
On a part of the course which involves a long uphill followed by a fast downhill section, Chelimo who was leading dropped back from her two opponents. Chumba had some gas in her tank and took advantage of the situation to give Jepkesho a run for her money, claiming a podium finish.
“This was a thought course, especially the last few kilometers,” said Chumba, who set an Asian record of 1hour 6minutes 11seconds last month when she won in Copenhagen. “I couldn’t do better because of the wind and the hot weather conditions.”
The men’s race played out in a similar fashion with three athletes running together into the second half of the race, before the big changes reverberated in the closing stages.
Eritrea’s Goitom Kifle and Ethiopian duo Birhan Nebebew and Tadu Abate covered the first 10 kilometres in 28:36.
In the full- marathon, Sarah Chepchirchir successfully defended her title, but the weather prevented her from improving on her course record set last year.
The 33-year-old, who earlier this year won the Tokyo Marathon in 2:19:47, reached the half-way point in 1:12:48, but with the temperatures rising, she sensibly controlled her effort in the second half to finish in 2:27:57, winning by 49 seconds ahead of Ethiopia’s Godfay Abera.
“I expected to improve on the previous course record (2:24:13), but it was impossible in these conditions,” said Chepchirchir. “But I’m very happy to have won the race for the second consecutive year,”
In the men’s race, Kenya’s Ishhimael Bushendich Chemtan and Daniel Kiprop Limo had a 41-second advantage over Bahrain’s El Hassan Elabassi at the half way stage. Limo, however, was unable to maintain that pace in the second half, while Elabassi closed in on Chemtan and almost took the lead at 40 kilometres.
But Chemtan had saved enough to hold off the Bahraini runner and won in 2:10:51, with Elabassi finishing second in 2:10:57.
“I’m happy with this victory, even though I expected to finish with a better performance,” said Chemtan. “But today was very hot and the things were very difficult. When I saw he was near me, I made the last effort to run harder.”
Additional reporting by iaaf.org
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