Czech Mate! Kimeli Defends, Chepkoech Seals Kenyan Double In Prague

Apr 06 - by IAAF for SportPesa News

The 23-year-old men's titleholder clocked 59:07 to prevail in a tight dual over compatriot Felix Kibitok, who finished one step and one second behind

Another Prague Half Marathon victory for Benard Kimeli. PHOTO/IAAF

  • The 23-year-old Kenyan clocked 59:07 to prevail in a tight dual over compatriot Felix Kibitok, who finished one step and one second behind
  • Some muscle problems forced Fancy Chemutai, the second fastest woman in history over the distance, to drop out

PRAGUE, Czech Republic- Bernard Kimeli successfully defended his title at the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on Saturday as Caroline Chepkoech completed the Kenyan double by taking the honours in the women's race.

The 23-year-old Kenyan clocked 59:07 to prevail in a tight dual over compatriot Felix Kibitok, who finished one step and one second behind.

"I was well prepared, and the pacemakers did a good job and I am also happy with the time," said Kimeli, who clipped 40 seconds from his previous career best.

Kibitok also put in a strong performance, improving his lifetime best by 13 seconds.

READ ALSO: It's 'Mission Impossible 2' For Depleted Gor In Berhane Confed Cup Clash

The fastest half marathon runner of the year, Stephen Kiprop, finished third in 59:20. From the opening metres, the favoured Kenyan contingent broke away and ran together until the 15th kilometre.

Caroline Kipkirui clocked 1:05:44 to win the women's race by nearly half a minute over Lonah Salpeter of Israel, who clocked 1:06:09 to improve her own national record by 31 seconds. 

"I am happy to be able to improve my performance here, and I really did the best I was able to do," said Kipkirui, who holds a 1:05:07 personal best set last year to currently sit in the sixth position on the all-time list.

"Although I was running almost the whole race myself, it was not easy, but I am glad that I could do it."

Lydia Mathathi was a distant third in 1:07:52.

The three ran together until they reached ten kilometres. Kipkirui then took the lead and was never threatened.

Some muscle problems forced Fancy Chemutai, the second fastest woman in history over the distance, to drop out.

READ ALSO: Kipserem Eyes Rotterdam Glory, Nancy Kiprop Chases Vienna History