Elisha Rotich wins the Paris Marathon (© AFP / Getty Images)
Elisha Rotich of Kenya produced a strong performance to clinch his first title at the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon on Sunday (17), while Ethiopia’s Tigist Memuye won the women’s contest at the World Athletics Elite Label road race.
The event’s 44th edition went off under perfect conditions. The leading pack, spearheaded by pacemakers Hillary Kipkoech and Cornelius Kangogo, passed 5km in 14:37, suggesting a possible final time of about 2:03:30, way below the course record of 2:05:03 set in 2014 by multiple world and Olympic gold medallist Kenenisa Bekele.
The Kenyan pair maintained a fast and steady pace, passing 10km and 15km in 29:17 and 44:01 respectively, before reaching half way in 1:01:51.
Twenty men were still in contention for victory at 25km, reached in 1:13:19, but the leading pack started to stretch over the next kilometres, suggesting the race of attrition had started to take its toll.
Kipkoech and Kangogo finished their work at the 30km mark, reached in 1:28:20. Joel Kimurer and Edwin Kimuta chose that moment to make their first move, but they didn’t manage to escape. Soon after the 35km checkpoint, Hillary Kipsambu and Elisha Rotich ratcheted up the pace, breaking up the group behind them.
Rotich then made a strong move five kilometres from home, and the 31-year-old Kenyan quickly opened an eight-second gap over Kipsambu, Hailemaryam Kiros and Tsegaye Getachew.
Rotich produced an impressive display of strength over the final kilometres to cross the line in 2:04:23, 40 seconds faster than Bekele’s previous course record.
Rotich not only improved his personal best by 55 seconds but he also produced the eighth fastest time of the year.
Kiros pushed hard in the waning stages to finish runner-up in 2:04:42 as Kipsambu took third place in 2:04:45.
“It was really great to run in Paris,” said a smiling Rotich. “I’m really happy for both the win and the record.”
In the women’s race, pacemakers Sharon Kemboi and Beatrice Cheserek were asked to set a 2:21 marathon pace. The Kenyan pair hurtled down the ‘Avenue des Champs Elysées’ but nobody followed their pace; by the time they reached 5km in 16:50, they were 47 seconds ahead of the main pack.
The principal contenders never really utilised the pacemakers, but Ethiopia’s Tigist Memuye and fellow Yeneshesh Tilahun Dinkesa finally forged ahead six kilometres from the finish line. Memuye upped the tempo again at 41km to break away from her compatriot before going on to win in 2:26:12.
Dinkesa finished just three seconds adrift in second place, while Fantu Jimma completed an Ethiopian sweep in 2:26:22.
Quentin Guillon for World Athletics
1 Tigist Memuye (ETH) 2:26:12
2 Yeneshesh Tilahun Dinkesa (ETH) 2:26:15
3 Fantu Jimma (ETH) 2:26:22
4 Waganesh Mekasha (ETH) 2:26:37
5 Janet Ruguru (KEN) 2:27:06
1 Elisha Rotich (KEN) 2:04:23
2 Hailemaryam Kiros (ETH) 2:04:42
3 Hillary Kipsambu (KEN) 2:04:45
4 Barselius Kipyego (KEN) 2:04:49
5 Abayneh Degu (ETH) 2:04:52
Debutant Teklu and Tuei reign at Barcelona Half Marathon
Ethiopia’s Haftu Teklu and Kenya’s Sandrafelis Chebet Tuei captured commanding titles at the eDreams Mitja Marato Barcelona, a World Athletics Gold Label road race, on Sunday (17).
On a perfect day for running (14C and very slight wind), 26-year-old Teklu triumphed in his first outing over the distance, clocking 59:39, while Tuei improved her career best by more than a minute to win in 1:07:12.
The leading pack in the men’s race went through the opening 5km in 14:05, well on schedule to break the 59:44 course record. Paced by Matthew Chekwunui, the heading group included the Kenyan pair of Daniel Kemoi and Abel Sikowo, Israel’s Maru Teferi, Eritrea’s Aron Kifle, Uganda’s last year’s runner-up Stephen Kissa and the eventual victor Teklu.
The 10km checkpoint was reached in 28:08 with the only withdrawal of Teferi. Once the pacesetter dropped out it was Teklu who took command of the race but only Kissa managed to live with his rhythm despite slowing down a bit over the third 5km segment covered in 14:16 for a 42:24 15km split. By then Kifle was in third, 22 seconds in arrears, and Sikowo another four seconds adrift.
The leading pair went through 20km in 56:43, putting them on course for a sub-60-minute finish. The experienced Kissa seemed to be the favourite to take the win, but Teklu unleashed an impressive change of speed in the final kilometre to open a huge margin on the Ugandan.
Teklu crossed the line in a course record of 59:39 while a fading Kissa had to settle for second place again, 40 seconds behind the winner. Surprisingly the third spot on the podium went for Ethiopia’s Chala Regasa who, coming from behind, overtook Kifle and Sikowo in the closing stages to clock 1:00:38.
The women’s event kicked off at a steady 3:12 pace, the heading group comprising the Ethiopians Asnakech Awoke, Tsege Melese and Alemaz Samuel plus the Kenyan trio of Tuei, Brillian Kipkoech and Mercyline Chelangat. That sextet timed 16:02 for the first 5km section. Tuei and Kipkoech led the field at 10km, reached in 31:56, and they maintained that pace through 15km (48:01), although only four women – Tuei, Kipkoech, Awoke and Alemaz – remained in contention.
Tuei, the 2015 world U18 steeplechase silver medallist, made her move some 17km into the race to easily break away from the rest. At the tape, the 23-year-old clocked a lifetime best of 1:07:12, her second PB of the month following a 30:45 10km effort in Valencia a fortnight ago. Kipkoech finished runner-up 19 seconds in arrears to secure a Kenyan double and Awoke placed third in 1:07:47.
Emeterio Valiente for World Athletics
1 Sandrafelis Tuei (KEN) 1:07:12
2 Brillian Kipkoech (KEN) 1:07:31
3 Asnakech Awoke (ETH) 1:07:47
4 Mercyline Chelangat (KEN) 1:08:27
5 Alemaz Samuel (ETH) 1:08:53
1 Haftu Teklu (ETH) 59:39
2 Stephen Kissa (UGA) 1:00:19
3 Chala Regasa (ETH) 1:00:38
4 Aron Kifle (ERI) 1:00:53
5 Abel Sikowo (KEN) 1:01:44
Chepkemoi breaks Roma-Ostia course record
Kenya’s Joyce Tele Chepkemoi won the Huawei Roma Ostia Half Marathon World Athletics Label Race in 1:06:35, beating compatriot Betty Chepkemoi Kibet by just two seconds.
Chepkemoi broke the course record that had been held by Florence Kiplagat, who clocked 1:06:38 in 2012. Runner-up Kibet also improved her PB to 1:06:37, while Gloria Kite completed an all-Kenyan podium, finishing third in 1:07:54.
And on the day his brother Tamirat won the Amsterdam Marathon, Abdera Adisa Tola triumphed in the men’s race on his debut at the distance, clocking 59:54.
Chepkemoi, Kibet and Kite set off at a swift pace in the women’s race, clocking 16:10 at 5km and 31:57 for 10km. With 42 minutes on the clock, Chepkemoi and Kibet broke away and ran neck and neck until the end. In a dramatic sprint finish, Chepkemoi held off Kibet and crossed the finish line in 1:06:35.
A five-man group formed by Tola, Kenya’s Kipkoech Cheruiyot, Maxwell Mbuleli Mathanga from South Africa, Daniele Meucci and 2018 world half marathon silver medallist Abraham Cheroben from Bahrain went through 5km in 14:23, 10km in 28:30 and 15km in 42:51.
Meucci produced the first attack at 15km, but Tola caught up with the 2014 European marathon champion. Meucci and Tola ran neck and neck until 19km when Tola launched a decisive kick to cross the finish line in 59:54 with Meucci 17 seconds adrift in second. Mbuleli finished third in 1:00:17.
Diego Sampaolo for World Athletics
1 Joyce Chepkemoi Tele (KEN) 1:06:35
2 Betty Chepkemoi (KEN) 1:06:37
3 Gloria Kite (KEN) 1:07:54
4 Moira Stewartowa (CZE) 1:10:16
5 Rebecca Lonedo (ITA) 1:11:45
1 Abdera Adisa Tola (ETH) 59:54
2 Daniele Meucci (ITA) 1:00:11
3 Mathanga Mbuleli (RSA) 1:00:17
4 Abraham Cheroben (KEN) 1:00:29
5 Lawi Kosgei (KEN) 1:01:21