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G. Mutai warms up for NY with Udine win

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GEOFFREYMUTAIUDINE, Italy- Geoffrey Mutai won the Udine Half Marathon on Sunday in 59:06, one of the fastest times ever on Italian soil and the fourth-fastest time in the world this year.

The 2007 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, which was held on the same course in Udine, is the only Half-marathon in Italy that has produced faster times than today’s race.

Mutai, whose last loss in the Marathon was in 2010, set a fierce pace from the beginning.

The Kenyan ran the opening kilometres at 2:45 pace and reached the 9km mark in 25:11, 30 seconds ahead of his compatriot Nicholas Togom.

By the time he crossed the finish line – stopping the clock at 59:06 – Mutai was almost two minutes ahead of Togom.

The 21-year-old took more than half a minute off his PB, clocking 1:01:02, while Simon Ndirangu completed the Kenyan sweep in third with 1:01:35.

“I felt tired from 15km,” said Mutai, who becomes just the sixth man in history to achieve three sub-60-minute performances in the Half-marathon within one season.

“I was aiming at breaking my personal best (58:58 set in Ras Al Khaimah this February) but I narrowly missed it. I thank the fans for their warm support along the course.”

Mutai will seek to reclaim his New York Marathon title on November 3, having set a course record of 2:05:06 two years ago.

Judging by his performance in Udine, he looks to be reaching the same kind of form.

Kenyan junior Goretti Jepkoech dominated the women’s race from the first kilometre to take the win in a personal best of 1:10:06 ahead of her compatriot Joyce Jemutai Kiplimo (1:10:24) and Hungary’s Krisztina Papp (1:11:59).

“This year it was a record edition for Udine with the fastest time of the year in Italy and one of the fastest times in the world,” said Paolo Bordon, president of the Associazione Maratonina Udinese. “We also achieved a good result of participation with 2162 runners taking part in the Half-marathon race and 1080 participants who took part in the popular mass Stra Udine race.”

LEADING RESULTS

Men

1 Geoffrey Mutai (KEN) 59:06

2 Nicholas Togom (KEN) 1:01:02

3 Simon Ndirangu (KEN) 1:01:35

4 Simon Sikuku (KEN) 1:01:37

5 Peter Kororia (KEN) 1:02:20

6 Daniel Wanjiru (KEN) 1:02:27

7 Andrea Lalli (ITA) 1:02:30

8 Henry Kibet (KEN) 1:03:02

Women

1 Goretti Jepkoech (KEN) 1:10:06

2 Joyce Jemutai Kiplimo (KEN) 1:10:24

3 Krisztina Papp (HUN) 1:11:59

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