Sheila Jerotich wins the Istanbul Marathon (© Spor Istanbul)
Kenya’s Sheila Jerotich led a sibling 1-2, while Uganda’s Victor Kiplangat claimed a debut win at the N Kolay Istanbul Marathon, a World Athletics Elite Label road race, on Sunday (7).
With just 500m to go in the women's race, Jerotich came through to triumph on Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Square in 2:24:15 and the athlete she overtook shortly before the finish was her sister, Jackline Chepngeno.
Kiplangat, meanwhile, was a surprise winner of the men’s race as the 21-year-old clocked 2:10:18 after battling with three other contenders in the final mile.
The women’s race had started fast and a group of 10 passed the 10km point in 32:48, which pointed towards a 2:18:30 finishing time. Three years earlier Kenya’s world champion Ruth Chepngetich had set the course record of 2:18:35, and while the leaders were not able to hold on to that sort of pace, they reached half way in 70:19 and then passed the 30km mark in 1:40:48.
Four runners were left in the leading group at this stage: Jerotich, Chepngeno, Ethiopia’s Ayantu Abdi and Judith Cherono of Kenya. Cherono soon dropped back and then it was Chepngeno who moved clear. By 40km she was 22 seconds ahead but during the final uphill stretch Jerotich edged closer and finally overtook her sister with 500m remaining.
“I am not disappointed at all,” said Chepngeno, who improved her PB by 17 seconds with 2:24:21 for second place.
“My aim was to finish on the podium and I have achieved that.”
On Jerotich, she added: “We are best friends, we train together and we are actually sisters. Since we are both married we have different names.”
Jerotich, who improved her PB from 2:26:06 to 2:24:15 in Istanbul, had her comments translated by her sister and said: “I am really happy to have won the race. Next year we both want to come back to Istanbul.”
Finishing third was Abdi, who clocked 2:24:45.
In the men’s event the favourites opted for a tactical race instead of following the pace to target the Turkish all-comers’ record of 2:09:35.
A group of 17 passed the half way mark in 65:21 and there was no proper attack until late in the race. Runners knew about the steep climb up to the finish that waited for them in Istanbul’s historic centre and held back. Records were out of reach, but a thrilling race for victory developed.
It was Robert Kipkemboi who finally made a move with around 5km to go. His fellow Kenyan Bernard Sang, the defending champion, lost contact with the group and when the 38th kilometre was covered in 2:53, course record-holder Daniel Kibet was also not able to remain with the leaders.
Four runners were in contention when the climb began with around a mile to go: Kenyans Kipkemboi and Moses Kemei as well as Ugandans Kiplangat and Solomon Mutai. Surprisingly it was the debutant who took the lead and pushed hard all the way up the hill. Kiplangat, who has a half marathon PB of 59:26, was rewarded with his biggest career win so far.
“I am thrilled to have won my debut marathon, but I knew that I was in good shape,” said Kiplangat, who is a training partner of Olympic 5000m champion and world record-holder Joshua Cheptegei.
“I train in very hilly terrain and was confident that I would be strong in the final section. Joshua is my idol and he helps me a lot."
Kiplangat believes he now has the potential to run 2:05 to 2:06 in his next marathon next year. “If I achieve such a time on a flat course, I hope to get selected for the World Championships marathon next summer,” he said. “And then I would love to come back to Istanbul to defend my title.”
Behind him Kipkemboi took second place with 2:10:23, while Mutai was third in 2:10:25.
Organisers for World Athletics
1 Sheila Jerotich (KEN) 2:24:15
2 Jackline Chepngeno (KEN) 2:24:21
3 Ayantu Abdi (ETH) 2:24:45
4 Judith Cherono (KEN) 2:27:23
5 Fetale Tsegaye (ETH) 2:28:53
6 Zinash Debebe (ETH) 2:29:45
7 Emily Kipchumba (KEN) 2:30:25
8 Betty Chepkwony (KEN) 2:30:28
1 Victor Kiplangat (UGA) 2:10:18
2 Robert Kipkemboi (KEN) 2:10:23
3 Solomon Mutai (UGA) 2:10:25
4 Moses Kemei (KEN) 2:10:28
5 Bernard Sang (KEN) 2:10:59
6 Daniel Kibet (KEN) 2:11:09
7 Mengistu Nigatu (ETH) 2:11:15
8 Tiruneh Chalachev (ETH) 2:11:21
Course records for Kosgei and Teshome in Barcelona
Kenya’s Samuel Kosgei and Ethiopia’s Tadu Teshome both claimed course record-breaking victories at the Zurich Marato Barcelona, a World Athletics Label road race, on Sunday (7).
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Kosgei broke away over the final kilometres and sprinted for the finish line with the course record of 2:06:04 set by Bahrain’s Alemu Bekele in 2019 in his sights. He achieved it, just. Crossing the line with his arms in the air and 2:06:03 on the clock, he improved the mark by a single second to win by almost half a minute.
Teshome, meanwhile, led an Ethiopian clean sweep on her marathon debut, clocking 2:23:53 as her compatriots Sisay Meseret Gola and Meseret Belete ran respective times of 2:24:09 and 2:24:25 to also finish inside the previous course record of 2:24:44 set by their fellow Ethiopian Kuftu Tahir in 2019.
Kosgei had formed part of the large lead men's pack which passed 10km in 29:45 and went through half way in 1:03:06. He began to break away with around 5km remaining and had a 16-second lead by 40km. He moved further ahead in the closing stages to win by 27 seconds from Morocco’s Othmane El Goumri and Mohamed Ziani, who was a further three seconds back.
Eritrea’s Filmon Ande finished fourth in 2:06:38 and Kenya’s David Kiprono Kipkemoi fifth in 2:06:45 as the top six all dipped under 2:07, with Bahrain’s Marius Kimutai next thanks to his time of 2:06:54.
The women’s race had seen 20-year-old Teshome – who had started her year with a fourth place finish over 1500m at the Olympic candidate trial – form part of a pack which clocked 34:06 at the 10km mark and then went through half way in 1:12:08.
Teshome and her compatriots Gola, Belete and Bekelech Gudeta plus Kenya’s Vane Nyaboke Nyanamba were still together as the race entered the final miles but then Teshome pushed ahead, eventually finishing 16 seconds clear. Behind runner-up Gola and Belete, who had placed ninth in the Chicago Marathon less than a month before, was Gudeta with her time of 2:24:51, while Nyanamba ran 2:25:32 for fifth place.
1 Tadu Teshome (ETH) 2:23:53
2 Sisay Meseret Gola (ETH) 2:24:09
3 Meseret Belete (ETH) 2:24:25
4 Bekelech Gudeta (ETH) 2:24:51
5 Vane Nyaboke Nyanamba (KEN) 2:25:32
1 Samuel Kosgei (KEN) 2:06:03
2 Othmane El Goumri (MAR) 2:06:30
3 Mohamed Ziani (MAR) 2:06:33
4 Filmon Ande (ERI) 2:06:38
5 David Kiprono Kipkemoi (KEN) 2:06:45