Kenyans Kimutai, Jerotich Drop Wuhan, Warsaw Marathon Course Records

Apr 14 - by IAAF for SportPesa News

Ethiopian runners share top honours on Sunday in the IAAF Bronze, Silver Label races in China and Poland

Andrew Ben Kimutai winning the Wuhan Marathon. PHOTO/Organisers

  • The 29-year-old Kimutai built a comfortable lead after 28 kilometres and crossed the line in 2:10:06, beating the course record of 2:11:15 set in the race’s inaugural edition in 2016 in the IAAF Bronze Label event
  • Soon after came the decisive move. Jerotich pulled away shortly before the 35km mark and ran an impressive 17:06, the fastest split of the race, over the next 5km
  • Mindaye’s winning time was a new personal best for the Ethiopian who sliced more than minute from his two-year old mark of 2:10:51. Seyoum held on for third, exactly one minute behind the winner

MONACO, Principality of Monaco- Kenyans Andrew Kimutai and Sheila Jerotich smashed the men and women course records of the Orlen Warsaw and Dongfeng Renault Wuhan marathons on Sunday where they shared the top honours with Ethiopians.

The 29-year-old Kimutai built a comfortable lead after 28 kilometres and crossed the line in 2:10:06, beating the course record of 2:11:15 set in the race’s inaugural edition in 2016 in the IAAF Bronze Label event.

It was Kimutai’s first victory in four races in China for Kimutai following his third-place finish in Chongqing, a runner-up finish in Taiyuan in 2017, and an eighth-place finish in Lanzhou last year.

The winning mark was Kimutai’s second fastest after the 2:08:32 personal best he achieved last year in Seville.

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Staged under cloudy and cool conditions, the race was paced by a crowded leading group of 15 runners in the early stages.

The leaders passed 10 kilometres in 31:06, 15 in 46:49 and 20 in 1:02:42. After passing the water tables at the 25 kilometre mark in 1:17:52, the leading pack was trimmed to 11 runners.

Kimutai launched his powerful charge after another three kilometres to seize the lead and when he hit the 30 kilometre mark the Kenyan was already 15 seconds ahead of the chasers.

The unchallenged Kimutai widened the gap to 41 seconds at 35km, followed by countryman Edwin Kirwa and Belachew Alemayehu of Ethiopia, and never looked back before breaking the tape.

Alemayehu, a 2:09:49 performer who set his PB in Dubai in 2016, clocked 2:10:59 to finish second. The 39-year-old Kirwa took the third place in 2:11:26.

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Unlike the lopsided men’s race, the women’s race was only decided after the 40 kilometre mark. Pre-race favourite Fantu Jimma of Ethiopia emerged victorious from a four-woman battle to notch the win in 2:28:25.

Classic distance

It is the first marathon title achieved by the 31-year-old since her debut over the classic distance in 2011. Her winning mark is some two minutes shy of her 2:26:14 PB set in 2016 but is her fastest time since 2017.

A group of eight led the race to 10 kilometres in 34:43 and 15 kilometres in 52:20. When they passed the 20km mark in 1:10:00 the leader’s group was reduced to four: Jimma, fellow Ethiopian Tsehay Maru as well as Kenyan duo Kellen Waithira and Tecla Kirongo.

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The quartet remained together for another 20km. When they reached the 40km water station, Maru was in front but Jimma soon caught up and pulled away for the win.

The 25-year-old Maru was 24 seconds behind Jimma to finish second in 2:28:49, improving her PB by more than five minutes. Kirongo also cut her PB by more than three minutes as she clocked 2:29:02 to finish third.

In the women's race of the IAAF Silver Label race in Poland, a lead group of five emerged early on, composed of Kenyans Jerotich, Kwambai, and Gladys Yator and Ethiopians Fantu Zewude Jifar and Hemila Wortessa. The leaders built more than a minute's lead by the halfway point, reached in 1:13:09. 

Yator and Zewude started to lose ground soon after, with Wortesa the next to be dropped. By the time the Kenyan duo reached 30km in 1:44:15, their lead was already 42 seconds.

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Soon after came the decisive move. Jerotich pulled away shortly before the 35km mark and ran an impressive 17:06, the fastest split of the race, over the next 5km.

Already assured of the win, Jerotich continued to push the pace to the finish, intent on earning a course record bonus.

That effort was well rewarded, as she finished in 2:26:06, 19 seconds under the old mark set by Fatuma Sado in 2015. The time was also a big personal best for the winner, whose previous fastest was 2:27:34, and a new Polish all-comers record.

Personal best

Kwambai was well beaten in the end, but could nonetheless be pleased with a second place and a time of 2:27:43 in her marathon debut.

With Wortesa a non-finisher, Nina Savina of Belarus came through for third in 2:29:06, a personal best by more than four and a half minutes. Another debutante, Viktoriya Kalyuzhna of Ukraine, was fourth in 2:30:04.

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Regasa Mindaye of Ethiopia prevailed in a sprint finish against Kenyan Ezekiel Omullo to take victory in 2:09:42.

A brisk pace was set in the initial kilometres of the men's race, with the leaders reaching 10km in 30:28 and the midway point in 1:04:05.

By that point, the lead group was reduced to three: defending champion Omullo, Mindaye and Werkunesh Seyoum of Ethiopia, with the nearest pursuers, including Berhane Tsegay of Eritrea and the leading Pole Marcin Chabowski, nearly half a minute in arrears.

The pace slowed somewhat in the second half, but the top three continued to build on their lead. At 30km, it was nearly a minute, and it grew to more than a minute and half by 35km, reached by the leaders in 1:47:31.

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It was around that point that Seyoum started to lose contact. Meanwhile, Mindaye and Omullo stayed together over the remaining kilometres, running neck and neck with 300 metres to go.

Sheila Jerotich breaks the course record at the Orlen Warsaw Marathon. PHOTO/Organisers

Then, the Ethiopian launched his kick and it gradually became clear his rival was unable to respond.

Mindaye pulled away in the finishing straight crossing the finish line seven seconds ahead of Omullo, who clocked 2:09:49.

Mindaye’s winning time was a new personal best for the Ethiopian who sliced more than minute from his two-year old mark of 2:10:51. Seyoum held on for third, exactly one minute behind the winner.

Further back, Chabowski finished fourth in 2:13:10 to add the national marathon title to his long lost of national titles he has accumulated over shorter distances.

-Report by Pawel Jackowski and Vincent Wu for the IAAF

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