Running in wet and slippery conditions, Italy’s Ruggero Pertile won the 24th edition of the Turin Marathon Gran Premio La Stampa on Sunday (14) clocking 2:10:58.
It was the second marathon race in less than four months for Pertile who finished fourth at the European Championships in Barcelona after fighting for the podium until the final kilometres while struggling with cramps.
Thirty-six year-old Pertile, who clocked his PB in the 2009 edition of this IAAF Silver Label Road Race running 2:09:53 (the fastest time for a European runner that year), beat young Kenyan Lawrence Kimaiyo (born in 1990) who ran in the leading four-men group for most of the race but had to settle with second place with 2:11:46. Habteselassie Lemma from Ethiopia took third place in 2:12:21.
Priscah Jeptoo took the win in the women’s race in 2:27:02, the second fastest time ever recorded in Turin after Agnes Kiprop’s 2:26:22 set last year when the Turin Marathon was scheduled in spring.
Men’s Race -
A four-man pack formed by two pacemakers Robert Ndiwa and John Kiprotich, Kimaiyo and Lemma went to the front reaching the 15 km in 45:55 and 1:04:24 at halfway. Pertile chose not to follow the pace set by the leading group opting to keep his own pace and his tactic paid off in the decisive stages of the race. The Italian went through the 21 km mark in 1:04:45 but he was well in control of the race.
Kiprotich led at 30 km passing in 1:32:09 with a gap of 23 seconds over Lemma and Kimayio. Pertile began to close the gap on chasing duo Lemma and Kimaiyo and managed to catch them after the 35th kilometre. Kiprotich, who started as pacemaker but decided to continue until the end crossing the finish-line in ninth place, was still leading at 37 km but Pertile and Kimaiyo began reducing their gap on Kiprotich who was fading dramatically. Pertile caught up with Kiprotich overtaking him at 38 km with 1:59:20 on the clock.
Pertile broke away from Kimaiyo building a gap of 22 seconds at 39 km and continued to increase his lead over Kimaiyo. The marathon runner from Padua crossed the finish line in 2:10:58.
“I came here to set my PB but weather conditions were not ideal,” an emotional Pertile said. “It was a difficult race from the beginning because the pace was uneven. I knew Kimaiyo and Lemma were strong athletes but I felt that the race was getting better and better and I could push the pace.
“I have come back from a difficult 2009 year in which I ran 2:09:53 but then I underwent surgery last December. I have to thank my club Assindustria Sport Padova, my wife and my daughter Alice who were here to support me,” Pertile said, adding that the 2012 Olympic Marathon in London is in his plans.
The Italian became the first non-African winner in a major autumn Marathon in 2010 after the rest of marathon races were totally dominated by Kenyan or Ethiopian runners.
Kimaiyo was delighted with his 2:11:45 PB. “My target was to run under 2:10 but I am happy with my race. The course was made more difficult because it was slippery. I thank the Turin organisers for giving me the opportunity to run here and I promise them I will run under 2:10 next year.”
Women’s race -
Kenyan Priscah Jeptoo and Ethiopian Fate Tola took the lead from the early stages of the race and ran a neck and neck race at the front. Tola, seventh at the IAAF / Sinopec World Half Marathon in Nanning last month in 1:09:38, took the lead by a slight margin over Jeptoo at 10 km which she passed in 34:05.
Tola and Jeptoo led together for most of the race at a fast pace (1:12:52 for Tola to 1:12:54 for Jeptoo) until 38 km when Jeptoo began pushing breaking away from Tola. Jeptoo reached the 30 km in 1:45:42 which indicated a 2:28:25 pace before forcing the pace in the final 12 km.
Jeptoo, who entered the Turin Marathon with a previous PB of 2:30:40 set in 2009 when she won the Marathon Cidade de Porto in 2009 and finished second in Padua last April in 2:30:53, smashed the 2:30 barrier for the first time in her career clocking 2:27:02.
“I thank the organisers for giving me the opportunity to run in Turin. I am happy with my PB and the second fastest time in the history of this race,” said 26-year-old Jeptoo.
Fate Tola also lowered her PB from 2:28:58 set last March at last March’s Rome Marathon to 2:28:22 despite some physical problems during the race. No less than 2501 runners started off from the Central Piazza Castello on a cloudy and wet morning. About 7000 participants took part in the 7.5 km Stratorino and about 12000 children enjoyed running the popular Junior Marathon event for families and children.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
Leading Results: Men - 1 Ruggero Pertile (Italy) 2:10:58 2 Lawrence Kimaiyo (Kenya) 2:11:46 3 Habteselasie Lemma (Ethiopia) 2:12:21 4 Peter Kurui (Kenya) 2:13:06 5 Danilo Goffi (Italy) 2:14:38 6 John Komen (Kenya) 2:15:20 7 Daniel Limo (Kenya) 2:15:45 8 Negash Abebe (Ethiopia) 2:15:49 9 John Kiprotich (Kenya) 2:15:56 10 Richard Rotich (Kenya) 2:16:15