Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa and Kenyan Filomena Chepchirchir were the winners of the 37th edition of ABN AMRO City-Pier-City half Marathon in The Hague on Sunday (13).
After a thrilling five-man sprint the 21-year-old Desisa prevailed with a 59:37 personal best. The 29-year-old Chepchirchir also set a personal best of 1:09:06 beating Ethiopian Tsegereda Girma who clocked 1:10:30, by nearly one-and-a-half-minutes. Over 30,000 competitors took part over several distances on a day that greeted them with calm conditions, temperatures of 12 C and only a light wind.
In the men’s race, a large group of nearly twenty set out on a fast pace passing the five kilometres marker in 14:13. Kenyan Peter Kirui then pressed the pace and brought the leaders through 10 kilometres in 28:29. Around the half way point the leading group splintered although the pre-race favourites, Sammy Kitwara and James Kwambai, were still in front.
Eight men were at the head of the pack as they passed 15 kilometres in 42:36. The Kenyans Kirui, Lucas Rotich, Kwambai and Kitwara were doing most of the leading with the Ethiopians Desisa, Azmeraw Bekele and Ayele Abshero at the back of the group. At around the 17th kilometre Kitwara, winner of the World’s Best 10K in Puerto Rico last month and winner of this race last year after beating Haile Gebrselassie into second place, lost contact. Kwambai also couldn’t follow the pace after passing the 20 kilometres marker in 56:40 when five were still in contention for the victory. In the final stage it became a long sprint which was won by Desisa, who was third in Puerto Rico last month.
“I am very happy with this victory and my personal best time,” Desisa said. “Just before I went to Puerto Rico I had a car accident, The air bag pressed hard against my chest. Now I am felling fine. I love this course, it is very fast. The wind was a little bit cold. But I am feeling fine.”
On the fast flat course the first five finishers all broke the 60-minute barrier.
In the women’s race, Chepchirchir was never in danger.
Wim van Hemert for the IAAF
Men - 1. Lelisa Desisa Benti, ETH 59:37 PB (splits: 14:13-28:29-42:36-56:40) 2. Azmeraw Kekele Molalign, ETH 59:39 PB 3. Peter Kirui, KEN 59:40 PB 4. Ayele Abshero, ETH 59:42 PB 5. Lucas Rotich, KEN 59:44 PB debut 6. James Kwambai, KEN 1:00:01 7. Sammy Kitwara, KEN 1:00:26 8. Shadrack Kemboi, KEN 1:01:02 PB 9. Joseph Birech, KEN 1:01:03 10. Jairus Chanchima, KEN 1:01:19 11. Francis Kosgei, KEN 1:02:00 12. Koen Raymaekers, NED 1:02:09 PB 13. Patrick Stitzinger, NED 1:03:17 14. Joseph Aperumoi, KEN 1:03:39 15. Charles Kibet, KEN 1:03:57 PR debut
Women - 1. Philomena Chepchirchir, KEN 1:09:06 PB 2. Tsegereda Girma, ETH 1:10:30 PB 3. Joyce Kandie, KEN 1:11:50 4. Lisa Stublic, CRO 1:14:15 PB 5. Mariska Kramer, NED 1:14:24 PB 6. KjerstiKarolin Danielsen, NOR 1:14:25 PB 7. Christina Bus Holth , NOR 1:14:31 PB 8. Lindsay van Marrewijk, NED 1:16:19