By AYUMBA AYODI
Felix Kipchirchir Kandie and Naomi Jepkogei Maiyo orchestrated a Kenyan podium sweep in both men and women races at the Athens Classis Marathon on Sunday.
The 37-year-old Kandie swept to a course record of 2:10.37, shaving 18 seconds off the course record set during the Athens 2004 Olympics by Italian Stefano Baldini.
Kandie was followed across the finish line by three of his countrymen, Raymond Kimutai Bett (2:12.34), Josphat Kiptanui Too Chobei (2:15.38) and Julius Kiplagat Korir (2:15.51).
Maiyo, 25, won women’s race in 2:41.06 and was 20th overall as she guided Nancy Joan Rotich (2:41.29) and Linah Jerop Chirchir (2:42.41) in a 1-2-3 finish.
Kenyan Naomi Jepkogei Maiyo crosses the finish line to win the women’s race of the 32st Athens marathon on November 9, 2014 in Athens. Some 35,000 runners from 102 countries took part in the classic marathon. PHOTO | ANGELOS TZORTZINIS | AFP
KENYANS FAULTER IN BEIRUT
However, it wasn’t a good day for Kenyans at the Beirut Marathon as William Kipsang relinquished his title to Ethiopian Fikadu Girma. Kenya’s Monica Jepkoech finished second behind Mulahabt Tsega in the women’s race.
Girma and Tsega triumphed at the Beirut Marathon, winning at the IAAF Bronze Label Road Race in 2:12:26 and 2:29:15 respectively.
Girma, in just his second marathon after finishing third in 2:09:34 at the Dusseldorf Marathon earlier this year, clocked the second fastest winning time in the Beirut Marathon’s 12-year history, while Tsega took more than two minutes off the former course record of 2:31:38, set by her compatriot Seada Kedir in 2011, in what will have been a highly satisfying debut over the classic distance, especially in the warm conditions.
In the men’s race, a three-man all-Ethiopian trio of Girma, Abdela Godana and Legese Adungna went through 20km in 1:01:53 with Morocco’s Mohammed Blal and another Ethiopian Damte Taye just 20 metres in arrears, giving rise to hopes that the course record of 2:11:14, that had belonged to Ethiopia’s Tariku Jufar since 2011, might fall.
The pace started to slacken although Godana did manage to pull away from his compatriot Girma, who was slow between kilometres 32 and 33, and went through the 35km mark in 1:49:09 with a 15-second lead over Girma.
By 37km it became apparent that possibility of the course record was starting to seriously ebb away and that both men were concentrating their own race rather than having a duel with the clock, as Girma reeled his countryman and then pulled away from him.
Godana hung on to finish second in 2:13:28 while Adungna, who went through a bad patch between 28 and 30 kilometres, came through strongly in the final 10km to finish third in 2:17:31.
In the women’s race, four women – Tsega, Kenya’s Monica Jepkoech, two-time former winner Kedir and a third Ethiopian Makida Abdela – went through 20km in 1:11:11 but from 25km onwards Tsega and Koech started to put daylight between themselves and the other two.
The Ethiopian passed the 35km mark in 2:04:00, 18 seconds ahead of Jepkoech and just continued to increase her lead over the final kilometres.
Jepkoech eventually finished second in 2:30:53. Although more than a minute behind the winner, she was also inside the old course record and took more than two minutes off her personal best.
ATHENS CLASSIC MARATHON RESULTS
Felix Kipchirchir Kandie (KEN) 2:10.37, Raymond Kimutai Bett (KEN) 2:12.34, Josphat Kiptanui Too Chobei (KEN) 2:15.38, Julius Kiplagat Korir (KEN) 2:15.51, Amare Eneayehu Abebe (ETH) 2:16.31
Naomi Jepkogei Maiyo (KEN) 2:41.06, Nancy Joan Rotich (KEN) 2:41.29, Linah Jerop Chirchir (KEN) 2:42.41, Kidist Fiseha Tedla (ETH) 2:43.46, Yumiko Kinoshita (JPN) 2:44.18.
Courtesy of nation.co.ke