The men’s contest at the Lagos City Marathon may have been a tactical race rather than a quick one, but France’s Abraham Kiprotich still managed to take 19 seconds off the course record at the IAAF Bronze Label road race on Saturday (10).
Relative newcomer Almenesh Herpha, competing in just her third marathon to date, won the women’s race in 2:38:25, missing the course record by just half a minute.
In the men’s race, a pacemaker led the relatively large lead pack through to the half-way point in little more than 68 minutes before making an exit. But despite having to run a large portion of the race without a pacemaker, the leaders managed to maintain – and even slightly increase – the tempo during the second half.
Twelve runners were still in contention at 35 kilometres, but only four of those remained in the lead pack five kilometres later.
Ronny Kiboss, in a bid to improve on his runner-up finish from last year, tried to break away on several occasions during the closing stages, but each time he was reeled back in by Kiprotich. With 600 metres remaining, the 32-year-old put in a controlled surge before going on to win in 2:15:04, bettering the course record of 2:15:23 set last year by Abraham Kiptum.
His winning time was just one second shy of the Nigerian all-comers' record of 2:15:03 set in Kaduna in 1971 by Ireland’s Sean Healy.
Kiboss held on to take his second successive runner-up spot in 2:15:26, one second slower than his time from 12 months ago. Fellow Kenyan Benjamin Bitok was third in 2:15:29.
In the women’s race, defending champion Rodah Jepkorir – who set a Nigerian all-comers’ record of 2:37:52 last year – finished a distant ninth this time as Herpha led an Ethiopian sweep of the podium.
Herpha had made it on to the podium in her two other marathons to date, finishing second in Copenhagen in 2016 and third in Beirut later that year. But her performance in Lagos represented her first victory over the classic distance.
She finished 11 seconds ahead of Tigist Girma, her more favoured compatriot, who had beaten Herpha in Beirut and retained her title in the Lebanese capital last year in a PB of 2:29:05. Ayelu Abele Hordofa was a further five seconds back in third place, clocking 2:38:41.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF