Kenya dominated the 15th edition of the “Maratona d’Italia Memorial Enzo Ferrari” from Maranello to Carpi with wins by Philemon Rotich (2:12:13), and the 23 year-old Jennifer Chesinon who smashed her previous personal best by 14 minutes from 2:45:18 (set this spring in Turin) to 2:31:39.
Rotich, 25 years-old from Eldoret, competes for the Fila Team and is a teammate of Paul Tergat. He ran as a pacemaker in Berlin only two weeks ago when the five-time World cross country champion Tergat ran a sensational 2:04:55.
In Carpi today, eight athletes from Kenya kept a fast pace in the first part of the race (15:20 in the first 5 km, 30:10 at 10 km and 45:14 at 15 km, well inside the course record held by the spaniard Fabian Roncero who ran 2:09:43 in the Northern italian city in 1996, three years before improving this time by three seconds to 2:07:23 in Rotterdam.
At the half marathon point Kiplimo Mutai and Benson Barus, the 1998 World Junior 10,000 metres champion, finished their task as pacemakers. A leading pack of 11 athletes set an official split of 1:04:27 at halfway.
The 34 km became crucial to the race’s outcome as it was then that Philemon Rotich broke away and only Kororia Godwin, Michael Kapkiai, the pre-race favourite with a PB of 2:10:07 set in Turin 1994, and Francis Kipketer managed to stay with him.
The pace then considerably slowed (1:49:20 at 35 km) and the race became tactical. Rotich led the four-men group ahead of Kapkiai with Kipketer who struggled behind but managed to remain in contention for the final victory. Rotich and Kipketer produced their final attack and battled for the win when they entered into Carpi.
Rotich pulled away in the final metres and crossed the line in 2:12:13 in his debut over the distance. Second was Francis Kipketer with 2:12:17 ahead of Michael Kapkiai who completed the kenyan sweep with 2:12:52.
Jennifer Chesinon, coached by the Italian Renato Canova, won another Kenyan battle in the women’s race ahead of the pre-race favourite Anne Kosgei (PB 2:30:09 set in Venice 2002). Kosgei led at halway (split time 1:14:17) some metres in front of Chesinon and Fabiola William of Tanzania.
Chesinon caught up with Kosgei at 25 km (1:28:25) while the tanzanian lost ground on the kenyan pair. At 40 km Chesinon increased her lead over Kosgei to 2 seconds and secured her win in 2:31:39. Kosgei finished runner-up with 2:33:43.
Top Results from the Carpi marathon:
1 Philemon Rotich (Kenya) 2:12:13
2 Francis Kipketer (Kenya) 2:12:17
3 Michael Kapkiai (Kenya) 2:12:52
1 Jennifer Chesinon (Kenya) 2:31:39
2 Anne Kosgei (Kenya) 2:33:43
3 Romina Sedoni (Italy) 2:36:33