Jeptoo Seals Stramilano Half Kenyan Double On Maternity Leave Return

Mar 25 - by IAAF for SportPesa News

London 2012 Olympics and Daegu 2011 Worlds silver medallist in 1:08:26 victory in her first race since 2016 Amsterdam Marathon

Priscah Jeptoo wins the 2019 Stramilano Half Marathon. PHOTO/IAAF

  • Held in warm weather conditions with a temperature of 22C, Jeptoo returned from a two-year maternity break to win the women’s race in 1:08:26
  • Kenya’s Paul Tiongik took the early lead in the men’s race, clocking 13:55 for the first five kilometres. He was followed 15 seconds later by a chasing group comprising Rerimoi, Birech, James Kibet and James Mburugu
  • Birech, competing in his first half marathon and just his third road race at any distance, finished second in 1:00:32 ahead of Tiongik (1:02:07) and Joel Mwangi (1:02:15). Italy’s Lorenzo Dini was fifth in a PB of 1:03:35

MILAN, Italy- London 2012 Olympics silver medallist, Priscah Jeptoo and Vincent Rerimoi claimed a Kenyan double at the 44th edition of the Stramilano Half Marathon in Milan on Sunday.

Held in warm weather conditions with a temperature of 22C, Jeptoo returned from a two-year maternity break to win the women’s race in 1:08:26.

Rerimoi, meanwhile, was a surprising winner of the men’s race in 1:00:10, beating steeplechase specialist Jairus Birech, who finished runner-up in 1:00:32 on his debut at the distance.

Jeptoo and Ethiopia’s Meseret Meleka took an early lead in the women’s race, covering the first five kilometres in 16:10 and 10 kilometres in 32:16. Kenya’s Lucy Murigi Wambui, twice world mountain champion and Stramilano winner in 2014, was in third place at that point with 33:07.

Jeptoo, the 2011 world and 2012 Olympic silver medallist, pulled away from Meleka after the half-way point and went through 15 kilometres in 48:27. The 2013 London and New York City marathon champion stepped up her pace in the final six kilometres and romped home in 1:08:26 in Piazza Castello in the centre of Milan. Meleka finished second in 1:10:39, ahead of Wambui (1:11:47).

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Jeptoo, now 34, hadn’t raced since October 2016 when she finished fourth at the Amsterdam Marathon in 2:25:57.

“I have dedicated the past two years to my family and I did not compete due to maternity leave,” she said. “I am happy with my come-back. Last week I fell during training and I was not in my top shape. I will run a half marathon in Gothenburg in May and possibly a marathon in the autumn.”

Maternity leave

Kenya’s Paul Tiongik took the early lead in the men’s race, clocking 13:55 for the first five kilometres. He was followed 15 seconds later by a chasing group comprising Rerimoi, Birech, James Kibet and James Mburugu.

Birech, a two-time Diamond League champion in the steeplechase, had a five-second lead over Rerimoi at 10 kilometres, reached in 28:14. His lead grew to 17 seconds at 15 kilometres, which he passed in 42:32.

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Rerimoi came from behind in the closing stages and overtook Birech at 18 kilometres. He crossed the finish line in 1:00:10, smashing his previous of 1:01:19 set last year in Japan, where he lives and trains.

Birech, competing in his first half marathon and just his third road race at any distance, finished second in 1:00:32 ahead of Tiongik (1:02:07) and Joel Mwangi (1:02:15). Italy’s Lorenzo Dini was fifth in a PB of 1:03:35.

“It’s the best race of my career,” said Rerimoi. “I realised at 16 kilometres that I could win. It was a good course but it was hot. I have a 5000m PB of 13:35, but I prefer running road races. I hope this win will start a new stage in my career.”

-Report by Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF

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LEADING RESULTS

Men

1 Vincent Rerimoi (KEN) 1:00:10

2 Jairus Birech Kipchoge (KEN) 1:00:32

3 Paul Tiongik (KEN) 1:02:07

4 Joel Maina Mwangi (KEN) 1:02:15

5 Lorenzo Dini (Italy) 1:03:35

Women

1 Priscah Jeptoo (KEN) 1:08:26

2 Meseret Meleka (ETH) 1:10:39

3 Lucy Murigi Wambui (KEN) 1:11:47

4 Ziporah Kingori Wanjiru (KEN) 1:12:21

5 Maude Mathys (SUI) 1:13:46