Philomena Cheyech yesterday led a 1-2 sweep and became Kenya’s second woman to win the Commonwealth Games marathon title here in Glasgow, Scotland.
Caroline Kilel, the 2011 Boston Marathon winner and a late inclusion into the Commonwealth Games team, settled for silver under drizzling weather conditions.
The two blew away a star-studded field to retain Irene Jerotich’s title, which she won in New Delhi, India, in 2010.
Cheyech, who returned to UK five years after finishing ninth at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham, formed the leading pack which had a dozen runners that included Trengove Jesse of Australia and Canadian Marchant Lanni.
They held on up to half way mark when they produced a sudden burst of speed that tore the line up into shreds, opening a 80-metre gap to win in 2:26.45.
Kilel returned second in 2:27.10 as Jesse (2:30.12) settled for bronze. Namibia’s Johannes Helalia (2:32.02), homegirl Partridge Susan (2:32.18) and Damen Louise (2:32.59) followed.
Cheyech, the 2012 Porto-Alegre-marathon winner, said: “We had planned to compete as a team and ensure we are in good position up to 21km, which we crossed at 1:14 and then the final five kilometres was to decide on who wins the gold. And the tact worked well for us,” said Cheyech.
Cheyech, from West Pokot, went on: “It’s regrettable that Philes Ongori could not make it to compete here. I am sure we could take the three podium positions easily. Initially, I was worried of the rainy weather conditions here but it did not affect us much like the men team.”
At the 25km, Cheyech and Kilel signaled each other as Namibia’s Helalia produced a sudden surge. “We could not leave her advances lying, and I told Kilel that we need to step up the pace,” said Cheyech, who first came to UK as a member of the 1999 World cross-country junior team.
Cheyech said she was happy upon seeing Tegla Loroupe, who inspired her into athletics standing among the crowds that lined up in the streets. “I am happy to have her here. I will decide on my next race when I reach home.” Cheyech and Kilel exchanges the lead up to 38 kilometre before Kilel seemed to have lost energy.
“By that time, I felt a bit tired and could not hold on to Cheyech. I was already grateful that the gold and silver was ours. We planned this race well,” said Cheyech.
Cheyech was among the lead racers from the start of the women’s race and eventually had a lonely run to the finish line after breaking away from teammate Kilel with seven kilometers left.
The marathon marked the start of the athletics competition at the Glasgow games, which conclude next Saturday. It will include an appearance by Jamaican Usain Bolt in 4×100-meter relay team.
Courtesy of Standard Digital News