Kenyan duo Abraham Cheroben and Rose Chelimo fulfilled their role as race favourites at the fourth edition of the Mattoni Ceske Budejovice Half Marathon but failed in their ambition to lower the course records at the IAAF Silver Label Road Race on Saturday (6).
Both Cheroben and Chelimo were convincing winners, crossing the line in 1:01:24 and 1:12:02 respectively.
The lead pack in the men’s race went through 5km in 14:36, but was reduced to a quartet of runner which reached 10km in 29:19.
Cheroben’s fellow Kenyan Cheshari Jacob was pushing the pace while the Ethiopia’s Abera Kuma, winner of the Rotterdam Marathon eight weeks ago, was moving smoothly alongside another Kenyan, Benjamin Ngandu, with the eventual but rather ungainly winner tucked in beside them.
Increasing the tempo, Cheroben went clear shortly afterwards and by 15km, reached in 43:40, he was half-a-minute clear of Ngandu, with Kuma almost a minute behind the leader.
Increasing his advantage as he headed for the finish in King Ottakar Square, Cheroben put 1:33 between himself Ngandu, who was second in 1:02:57.
Kuma slowed during the closing stages of the race to finish a distant third in 1:04:17.
Abraham Cheroben choose his words carefully after the race and gave a succinct view of his victory and the warm conditions.
“Yes, it was very hard but when I broke away I was confident I would win,” said the man who ran a personal best of 58:48 in Valencia last year and who was the fastest man in the world over the distance in 2014.
Making his first competitive appearance of the year after injury, Ethiopia’s marathon talent Ayele Abshero made a steady return to finish sixth in 1:06:10, moving up the field towards in the final kilometres.
Chelimo achieved her fourth consecutive half marathon win of 2015 with a commanding performance in the women’s race.
She was running clear from five kilometres, extending her lead over her fellow Kenyan Viola Jelagat to over two minutes by the finish.
“It was tough in those conditions, especially running solo from early on. After winning four half marathons, I shall take a rest for a couple of weeks. My aim is build towards the marathon and run my debut next year,” reflected Chelimo.
Jelagat was second in 1:14:38.
Organisers for the IAAF