Weekend of surprises as Kenyans post mixed results in Road Races

Mercyline Chelangat from Uganda wins the women's event of the Dam tot Damloop, a 10-mile (16 ...
Mercyline Chelangat from Uganda wins the women's event of the Dam tot Damloop, a 10-mile (16 km) road running race from Amsterdam to Zaandam. PHOTO /AFP

It was a bitter-sweet weekend for Kenyan road racers as they posted mixed results.

In South Africa, Kenyan athletes were humbled at the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Races as Duncan Maiyo and Agnes Jepkemboi Kiprop settled for the third podium places on Sunday 17.

Asefa Mengstu Negewo (2:10.01) of Ethiopia successively defended his title leading his compatriot, Katema Bekele Negessa (2:11.26) to a 1, 2 finish.  Maiyo settled for the least podium place in 2:11.26. Debutant Ezekiel Tarus was the seventh to cross the finish line in 2:13.18 as race favorite Laban Mutai finished  ninth in 2:15.26.

There was drama in the women’s race after pace maker Helalia Johannes  of Namibia went out at a blistering pace, beating the main protagonists by the halfway mark, in 1:15.22.  Johannes had a lead of 38 minutes from the chasing pack led by, Agnes Kiprop.

At the 35 Km mark, Johannes was done with her rabbit duties and was going for  victory but Ethiopian  Betelhem Moges denied her the moment of glory with less than a kilometre to go.  Moges claimed top price in 2:30:22. Johannes settled for the second spot six seconds later at 2:30.28 while Kiprop came third in 2:31:00.

In the half marathon road races, Barselius Kipyego and Kenyan born Bahraini Violah Jepchumba started off the action packed weekend with titles from Mattoni Usti and Labem Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race on Saturday 16.

Kipyego successfully defended his title and managed to shed a second to set a new course record of 59:14 as countryman Josphat Kimutai Tanui stopped the timer at 59:22 for second place.

Tanzanian Ismail juma settled for third place in 59.27, while Wilfred Kimeli Kimitei (1:00:12) and Philip Kibungei Tarbei (1:00:13) finished fourth and fifth out of the medal bracket.

Good course and weather

“The pacemaker wasn’t the best, so I tried to push because I wanted to break my Personal Best and the course record,” said Kipyego. “The course was very nice and the weather was good.

Jepchumba denied Kipyego’s counterparts a clean podium sweep and also lowered the CR with 71 seconds to take the race top honors in 1:06.06.  Nevertheless, Nancy Kiprop (1:07.22) and Lucy Cheruiyot (1:07.23) took the second and third podium places as Stacy Ndiwa finished fourth in 1:09.09.

Elsewhere, in the Danish capital, Kenyan runners were beaten by Abraham Cheroben and Eunice Chumba, both former Kenyans and now turning out for Bahraini who denied them Copenhagen Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race on Sunday.

Cheroben ended the Kenyan dominance over the distance since its inaugural edition in 2015 to claim top price in 58:40. Jorum Lumbasi Okombo (58.48) led Alex Oloitiptip Korio (58:51), Albert Kangogo ((59:25) and All African Games 10,000m silver medalist Leonard Barsoton (59:28) to a 2,3,4,5 finish.

In the women’s race Chumba took top podium place in 1:06.11 about 14 second ahead of Joan Chelimo (1:06.25) and Brigid Kosgei (1:06.35) who settled for second and third podium places.

Top honours

In Netherlands, Marceline Chelangat claimed top honors in the Dam tot Damloop, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race as Ediwn Kiptoo relinquished his title to Birhanu Legese of Ethiopia.

Chelangat, who finished 13th in the 10,000m at the World Championships in London in August and 12th at the World Cross Championships in March, prevailed to take the victory in 53:08. Ethiopian Sofia Assefa (53.13) and Japanese Risa Takenaka (53:18) finished second and third respectively.

“It was a bit difficult with the bridges and the big tunnel in the beginning of the race, but at 10-kilomtres I knew I could win here,” said Chelangat.

In the men’s race, Dam tot Damloop two time champion Edwin Kiptoo who will be making his full marathon debut in Amsterdam on October 15, finished fourth in 45:53 in the 10km distance between the Amsterdam and Zaandam, Dutch cities.

The 24-year-old Kiptoo, who has a personal best of 45:19, opted to reserve energy for the 42 km race, as he gauged his training progress.

“I asked the others to take over several times, but they decided to wait and see,” he said. Kiptoo eventually finished fourth but wasn’t too disappointed. “In four weeks I will have my debut in the marathon in Amsterdam, so I did a lot of endurance training as preparation and I haven’t the speed that I had in the last two years.”

Birhanu Legese of Ethiopia lead countryman Yenew Alamirev for another second 1, 2 finish in 45:38 and 45:45 respectively as Jiks Tadesse followed third in 45:51.

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Story By Charity Wanja
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