Duncan Maiyo overcame a tightening left hamstring to retain the men’s title at the 2016 Brighton Marathon while Grace Momanyi made it a Kenyan double as she claimed the women’s crown at this IAAF Bronze Label Road Race on Sunday (17).
Maiyo made the most of the sunshine on Britain’s south coast as he stormed clear of his rivals over the final miles to win by almost a minute from Raymond Chemungor in 2:09:56, a personal best for the second year in a row but an agonising 31 seconds outside the course record.
It was an impressive victory for the 30-year-old who exploded away from a group of four, clocking 4:44 and 4:41 for the 23rd and 24th miles as he strode towards the finish along Brighton’s famous seafront, spurred on by large crowds and the nagging pain in the top of his left leg.
“My aim was to break the record but I missed it by a few seconds because I had hamstring problems from 30km,” said Maiyo. “If it wasn’t for my injury I would have run 2:08 and broken the record.”
Chemungor had started as the fastest man in the field, but despite leading for much of the race, he had to settle for second when the champion put his foot down on the long run for home.
“In the end I am happy to be second,” said Chemungor, who has won the Lens and Toulouse Marathons in recent years. “I tried to take control but Duncan was very fast at the end. I thought I had a chance but it was very difficult at that stage.”
He crossed the line in 2:10:55 while Edwin Kiptoo completed the Kenyan medal sweep, finishing third in a personal best of 2:11:29 ahead of Joel Kimutai.
Momanyi battles the pain for first marathon win
If Maiyo’s victory was a painful one, Momanyi’s was even more agonising as the 2010 Commonwealth 10,000m champion slowed dramatically from 2:27 pace at 30km, where she took the lead from Ethiopian Asnakech Mengistu, to cross the line with a grimace across her face in 2:34:16.
Momanyi was barely at jogging pace as she struggled over the line, explaining later that she simply ran out of energy over the last five miles.
“The last 7km was really hard,” said Momanyi, whose credentials included runner-up finishes at marathons in Dublin and Florence. “I am happy to get my first marathon win but the end was really tough. I was feeling very strong until 35k but then I just had no energy at all.
“I am not happy with the time but I know that today I gave everything,” added Momanyi, whose career best is 2:32:16 set in Dublin last year. “I was just praying ‘Oh God, I want to win'.
“It was the toughest marathon I have done but the crowds really helped me in the final miles when I was very tired. I was always sure I could finish and kept thinking ‘I am almost there’.
“I never thought I was going to drop out and I will learn from this. It was still a good experience.”
Behind her, the also tiring Mengistu hung on to second place, clocking 2:35:42 while last year’s champion Pennina Wanjiru had her own day to forget. The Kenyan dropped off the pace before half way and eventually finished third in 2:43:38.
Organisers for the IAAF