Kenyans Wilson Chebet and Philes Ongori produced impressive runs to claim victories at the ABN AMRO Rotterdam Marathon, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, on Sunday (10).
Running in sunny and humid conditions and in a two-way battle, Chebet took broke away from compatriot Vincent Kipruto the final stages to win with a fast 2:05:27 career best, the fastest time in the world this year. Ongori made her debut over the distance an auspicious one, clocking 2:24:20 to beat Dutchwoman Hilda Kibet, who reached the finish in 2:24:27, also a personal best.
It seemed that the Rotterdam organizers had made a clever move by insuring a possible World record for USD $350,000, with the hopes for a new World mark in the men's race living on until the 25th kilometer. The "Magnificent Seven", as the first seven on the starting list - Kenyans Kipruto, Eliud Kiptanui, Chebet, Gilbert Kirwa and Ethiopians Feyisa Lilesa, Getu Feleke and Chele Dechasa - were nicknamed, alone with debutante Kenyan Michael Kipyego, went out very fast with six pace makers. The group passed the five-kilometre marker in 14:38, three seconds shy of Haile Gebrselassie's split in the World record he set in Berlin in 2008. Then the pace increased.
The group passed went through the first 10Km in 29:09 four seconds faster than Gebrselassie. At 15Km, they had won 14 seconds (43:49) on the World record splits. Although the group reached 20Km in 58:40, still ten seconds ahead of record pace, it became clear that the pace was too high. By the midway point the leaders had lost two seconds on their tartet with a 1:02:07 split.
Although at 25 kilometers, where the leaders passed in 1:13:42, just one second shy of the world record split, the pace slipped. At 30Km (1:28:42) the leaders were Feleke, Chebet, Kipruto and Dechase with the pace makers Sammy Kitwara and Peter Kirui. In the next five kilometres the Etiopians Feleke and Dechase dropped back. The very strong looking Kitwara led Kipruto and Chebet in 1:43:44 through 35Kms before ending his chores. Kipruto and Chebet now were on their own.
They passed 40Km in 1:58:47. Chebet accelerated around 41 kilometres and immediately opened a gap. At the finish on the Coolsingel where tens of thousand of spectators were cheering he became with his 2:05:27 run the fastest marathoner of 2011.
In the womens' race, Kibet lead from the gun, running in a lead group of four with Ongori, Lishan Dula of Bahrain, and Shetaye Bedasa at 30Km, reached in 1:43:17. At this Dula and Bedasa could not follow and it became a two-woman affair. The debutante Ongori made her attack int he final kilometer and left Kibet behind.
Wim van Hemert for the IAAF
Leading Results: MEN - 1. Wilson Chebet KEN 2:05:27 PB (splits: 14:38-29:09-43:49-58:40-:1:02:07-1:13:42-1:28:41-1:43:44-1:58:47) 2. Vincent Kipruto KEN 2:05:33 3. Chele Dechasa ETH 2:08:47 4. Elius Kiptanui KEN 2:09:08 5. Alemayehu Shumye ETH 2:09:36 6. Michael Kipyego KEN 2:11:03 7. Feyisa Lilesa ETH 2:11:42 8. Koen Raymaekers NED 2:13:41 9. Julius Kanghethe Mbugua KEN 2:14:11 10. Zemiro Zohar ISR 2:14:28 PB 11. Gilbert Kirwa KEN 2:14:29 12. Miguel Barzola ESP 2:15:00 13. Marius Ionescu ROU 2:16:11 PB 14. Brihun Weva ISR 2:17:17 15. Sean Conolly IRE 2:17:23 16. Jaume Leiva ESP 2:17:57 17. Ruben Sanca USA 2:18:47 18. Seteng Ayale ISR 2:19:32 19. Ivan Galan ESP 2:20:27 PB 20. Pablo Lopez Sanchez ESP 2:20:58
WOMEN - 1. Phils Ongori KEN 2:24:20 debut 2. Hilda Kibet NED 2:24:27 PB 3. Lishan Dula BHR 2:26:56 PB 4. Alessandra Aguilar ESP 2:27:00 PB 5. Rita Jeptoo KEN 2:28:09 6. Shetaye Bedasa ETH 2:29:52 7. Maria Jose Pueyo ESP 2:34:52 8. Xenia Luxem BEL 2:35:48 PB 9. Christina Bus Holth NOR 2:37:12 PB 10. Lindsay van Marrewijk NED 2:37:40 PB 11. Irene Limika KEN 2:38:53 12. Raquel Maraviglia ??? 2:41:23 13. Kelly Calway USA 2:44:47 14. Johanna Kykyri FIN 2:46:27 15. Loretta Kilmer USA 2:46:27 correct