1:02:20 course record for Geoffrey Mutai at the Bogota Half Marathon (© Victah Sailer)
Bogota, ColombiaThe favorites prevailed in the 12th edition of the Media Maratón de Bogotá on Sunday (31) as 2011 Boston Marathon champion Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya took the men’s race in a course record 1:02:20, and 2011’s fastest woman over 10Km on the road, Joyce Chepkirui, took the women’s title in 1:13:34.
The Media Maratón de Bogotá is the only IAAF Gold Label Road Race in South America.
Men’s Race -
Pre-race publicity favored a prolonged battle between defending champion Deriba Merga of Ethiopia and Mutai. And the race did start out that way, with Merga and Mutai powering away from the rest of the field to have a substantial lead by 5km. They continued to run shoulder to shoulder past seven kilometres, but shortly after that Merga dropped behind Mutai briefly, and then quickly fell away.
Mutai passed 10Km in 29:07 with Merga already 20 seconds behind. Mutai was on a blistering 1:01:30 pace in Bogotá’s Oxygen deficient 2600m (8530 ft) altitude, though he was 11 seconds slower than Merga’s even more blistering opening the year before. In third place was Macharia, leading a small group that included Ridouane Harroufi of Morocco, Stephen Mokaka of South Africa and Colombia’s Diego Colorado.
Mutai passed 15Km in 44:10 running all alone, and at that stage was now 18 seconds behind Merga’s 2010 course record. But Mutai held his form well to breast the tape in 1:02:20, 11 seconds quicker than the 1:02:31 record from last year. And Mutai achieved the mark on a somewhat revised course considered tougher than last year’s by many of the runners, Merga included!
Merga held on to second place in 1:04:49 from the fast closing 2011 Rotterdam Marathon champion Wilson Chebet (1:04:57) with Colorado fourth in 1:05:11 and four-time champion Macharia fifth in 1:05:26.
Mutai’a margin of victory was an amazing 2 minutes and 27 seconds! Asked if he knew he was on record pace and if this was his goal, Mutai replied that he was running only for the victory and was pleasantly surprised to learn that he had captured the record.
Women’s Race –
Kenyan Joyce Chepkirui took the lead from the very start, and powered through the first kilometre in an eye-popping three minutes flat, with just fellow Kenyan Peninah Arusei (a Bronze medalist over the Half Marathon in the 2010 IAAF Half Marathon Championships in Nanning, China last year) and Ethiopian Mare Dibaba for company.
The company didn’t last long, as by 2Km Chepkirui was alone and rapidly building a massive lead. She passed through five kilometres in 16:28, by which time she had an almost 30 second lead over Ethiopians Dibaba and 2010 Bogotá champion Sherwage Alene.
By 10Km the lead was almost one minute, with Dibaba in second and 2010 IAAF World Cross Country champion Emily Chebet now in third.
The rapid early pace took a toll on Chepkirui, and her lead started to shrink, slowly at first and then more rapidly in the final kilometres. But she held on to win her first road race in South America with a time of 1:13:34. Dibaba crossed just 19 seconds later with 1:13:54 followed by Chebet in third with 1:15:41, Alene fourth in 1:16:26 and Peruvian Gladys Tejeda in fifth with 1:18:25.
Chepkirui commented that she found the altitude and the warm (16-20C), humid race-day weather to be more tiring than she had expected, but was happy that she held on to win.
The Media Maratón de Bogotá attracted 14,295 entrants thus year with another 29,903 registered in the accompanying 10K, for a grand race day total of 44,198.
Organisers for the IAAF
1. Geoffrey Mutai, KEN 1:02:20 CR* Car - Renault Logan
2. Deriba Merga, ETH 1:04:49 12,000,000 Pesos
3. Wilson Chebet, KEN 1:04:57 8,000,000
4. Diego Colorado, COL 1:05:11 5,500,000
5. Isaac Macharia, KEN 1:05:26 4,000,000
6. Constantino Leon, PER 1:06:04 3,000,000
7. Jason Gutierrez, COL 1:06:43 2,000,000
8. Stephen Mokaka, RSA 1:07:17 1,500,000
9. Ridouane Harroufi, MAR 1:07:21 800,000
10. Paulino Cachanya, PER 1:07:24 500,000
11. Wirimai Juwawo, ZIM 1:07:59
12. William Naranjo, COL 1:08:00
13. Javier Guarin, COL 1:08:53
14. Raul Pacheco, PER 1:09:11
15. Fabian Daza, COL 1:09:16
DNF Abderrahim Bouramdnae, MAR
DNS Marilson Dos Santos BRA
* Mutai won an additional 3,100,000 Pesos for the Course Record
1. Joyce Chepkirui, KEN 1:13:34 Car – Renault Logan
2. Mare Dibaba , ETH 1:13:54 12,000,000 pesos
3. Emily Chebet, KEN 1:15:41 8,000,000
4. Shewage Alene, ETH 1:16:26 5,500,000
5. Gladys Tejeda, PER 1:16:33 4,000,000
6. Peninah Arusei, KEN 1:18:16 3,000,000
7. Jemena Misayauri, PER 1:18:25 2,000,000
8. Erika Abril Suarez, COL 1:18:37 1,500,000
9. Bertha Sanchez, COL 1:19:34 800,000
10. Leidy Tobon, COL 1:19:43 500,000
DNS Atsede Baysa, ETH
DNS Yulia Gromova, RUS
Ed Note: 1 USD = 1753 Colombian Pesos; 1 EUR = 2534 Colombian Pesos