Kenya’s Gladys Cherono and Ethiopia’s Guye Adola triumphed at the 43rd edition of the Rome-Ostia Half Marathon on Sunday (12), producing some of the fastest times ever recorded at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
During the early stages of the women’s race, Rebecca Kangogo Chesir led a six-woman pack which also featured Cherono, Angela Tanui, Dekebo Haylemariyam, Aselefech Mergia and Kuma Dibaba.
They covered the first five kilometres in 15:50 before the Kenyan trio of Chesir, Cherono and Tanui pulled away from the rest of the pack, passing 10km in 31:42.
Cherono forced the pace at 15km mark, which she went through in 47:29. The 2014 world half-marathon champion broke away from Tanui and went on to increase her lead by more than 40 seconds before crossing the finish-line in 1:07:01.
“I enjoyed good support from the crowd along the course,” said Cherono, who is preparing for the Boston Marathon next month. “The weather conditions were ideal.”
Tanui crossed the finish-line in 1:07:43, while 2009 world bronze medallist Mergia finished third in 1:08:46, 15 seconds ahead of Chesir. Rosaria Console was the first Italian runner in seventh place in 1:12:19.
Tola catches pace-maker Kangogo
In the men’s race, Adola, Justus Kangogo, Philip Kangogo, Peter Kwemoi and Langat Kipkiru set off at a fast pace, covering the first five kilometres in 13:48 to open up a five-second gap over 2014 winner Aziz Lahbabi from Morocco and Geoffrey Kusuro from Uganda.
The lead group was whittled down to three men – Adola, Justus Kangogo and Kwemoi – and they passed through 10km in 27:42, 18 seconds ahead of Philip Kangogo. The pace in the first half suggested a possible attack on the 59-minute barrier.
Justus Kangogo, who started as a pacemaker, forced the pace, creating a three-second gap over Adola and went through 15km in 41:52. But having held the lead from the early stages, the Kenyan’s efforts started to take its toll and he was caught by Adola with just two kilometres remaining.
Although the pace slowed down during the final quarter of the race, Adola crossed the finish-line in 59:18 to become the first Ethiopian man to win the Rome-Ostia Half Marathon since 2011. For the seventh time in the history of the popular Italian race, the winner finished within one hour.
Runner-up Justus Kangogo also finished within 60 minutes, clocking 59:31. Kwemoi improved on his fourth place from last year by taking third place in 1:00:13, 44 seconds ahead of compatriot Philip Kangogo.
“I am very happy with the win,” said Adola. “The conditions along the course and the weather were perfect. The Roma Ostia was the perfect preparation for my next race at the Hamburg Marathon.”
As a point-to-point course with a net drop, times achieved at the Rome-Ostia Marathon aren’t valid for record purposes.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
1 Guye Adola (ETH) 59:18
2 Justus Kangogo (KEN) 59:31
3 Peter Kwemoi (KEN) 1:00:13
4 Philip Kangogo (KEN) 1:00:57
5 Geoffrey Kusuro (UGA) 1:01:15
6 Aziz Lahbabi (MAR) 1:02:41
7 Hassan Chahdi (FRA) 1:02:51
8 Langat Kipkirui (KEN) 1:03:25
1 Gladys Cherono (KEN) 1:07:01
2 Angela Tanui (KEN) 1:07:43
3 Aselfech Mergia (ETH) 1:08:46
4 Rebecca Chesir Kangogo (KEN) 1:09:01
5 Muliye Dekebo Haylemaryam (ETH) 1:09:10
6 Izabela Trzaskalska (POL) 1:12:02
7 Rosaria Console (ITA) 1:12:19
8 Kuma Dibaba (ETH) 1:12:30