Kenya’s John Kyalo Kyui took the victory at the Siberian International Marathon on Sunday (21) while Purity Kimetto became the first non-European winner of the IAAF Bronze Label Road Race on a day when cold conditions prevented fast times.
Their respective times of 2:14:50 and 2:38:53 didn’t threaten the course records, but were respectable in the circumstances.
After hearing that snow and a temperature of 8°C had been forecast, the Kenyan contingent in Omsk was a little bit worried, and at the pre-event press conference they even said they were going to run in their own clothes underneath their racing vests.
But the reality was not that fierce. Though the air was as cold as it had been expected, the snowfall did not come and there was even some sun.
Kyui was running among a group of four that included three other Kenyans: Nicholas Kemboi, Emmanuel Sikuku and David Toniok.
Kyui increased the pace after 30km as his opponents faded one by one until Kyui was left alone. By the time he reached the finish line, his overwhelming advantage had grown to almost 10 minutes as Toniok finished second in 2:24:15.
Much to the delight of the local crowd, Russia’s Barkhat Bazarbaev passed Sikuku in the closing kilometres to take third place in 2:29:05.
“It was very unusual for me to run in such cold conditions, because usually I have to fight against heat, not frost,” said Kyui. “I’ve run marathons in India and Europe, but never experienced such weather.
“I have been training for this marathon since 15 July, doing three good sessions a week. Now I am very happy to take the first prize, as it will let me to go on with my training for future races.”
Kimetto used the help of the male athlete
Of the 11,000 people who were racing in Omsk today – either in the marathon or the 5km or 10km – women’s winner Purity Kimetto had one person to thank for her victory.
While her female competitors were busy fighting in the group, the Kenyan followed Russian amateur runner Anton Golovin with every step. They ran together almost all the distance, and it was only when they reached the final straight when Kimetto accelerated and hit the front, leaving Golovin with a solid eight-place finish in the men’s race.
This is the first career victory for the 29-year-old Kenyan, who in 2013 was second in Macau and finished fourth this year in Brighton. She crossed the line a comfortable winner in 2:38:53, just 93 seconds off her PB.
The two remaining podium places went to local Siberian runners Mariya Kiseleva and Yuliya Smirnova, who were prepared for the weather conditions – and the new race route – better than anyone else.
Natalia Maryanchik for the IAAF
1 John Kyalo Kyui (KEN) 2:14:50
2 David Toniok (KEN) 2:24:15
3 Barkhat Bazarbaev (RUS) 2:29:05
4 Sergey Nechpai (RUS) 2:29:22
5 Emmanuel Sikuku (KEN) 2:30:15
1 Purity Kimetto (KEN) 2:38:53
2 Mariya Kiseleva (RUS) 2:41:02
3 Yuliya Smirnova (RUS) 2:43:40
4 Alexandra Kalanova (RUS) 2:54:38
5 Alsu Asanova (RUS) 2:56:04