USTI NAD LABEM, Czech Republic, Sep 17 – Kenyans Stephen Kiprop and Diana Chemtai Kipyokei raced to comfortable victories at the Mattoni Usti nad Labem Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Saturday.
Kiprop took the men’s race in 59:41 while Kipyokei clocked 1:07:17 to equal the race record set by Peres Jepchirchir in 2015.
A strong wind and warm temperatures of 20 degrees-plus did not help fulfill the expectations of the strong international elite field gathered but the race did provide some surprising results and personal bests.
In the men’s contest, Kiprop, at 19 the youngest in the elite field, took control of the race in the 12th kilometre to finish unchallenged, clipping three seconds from his personal best in the process in his fourth half marathon of the year.
His compatriot Barselius Kipyego was second in 1:00:25 with Abel Kipchumba, also of Kenya, third in 1:00:39.
In the women’s race, Kipyokei improved her personal best by 18 seconds just a week after improving her career best over 10k to 30:23 in Prague. Nancy Jepkosgei Kiprop was second in 1:07:32, followed by Lucy Cheruiyot who clocked 1:09:52 to complete a Kenyan podium sweep.
-Murigi defends World Mountain Running Championship
Kenya’s Lucy Murigi successfully defended her senior title at the IAAF/WMRA World Mountain Running Championships in Andorra on Sunday.
With the championships held in Andorra for the first time, the senior runners were greeted with a sometimes steep but generally fast course over 12km with 1028m ascent.
Although mainly uphill – these championships alternate year by year between up-only and up-and-down – it contained 100m of elevation drop and the terrain was a mixture of forest trail, mountain path, gravel tracks, stony paths and meadow.
Murigi, who had come into the race having retained her title at the high-class Sierre Zinal mountain race, quickly established a lead, reaching the midway checkpoint at 4.72km in 26:25 with a margin of 25 seconds over compatriot Viola Jelagat and Austria’s six-time champion Andrea Mayr.
Uganda’s Patricia Chepkwemboi was following 14 seconds behind, three seconds ahead of Britain’s Emily Collinge, who was runner-up in 2015.
Murigi, who won by 78 seconds last year, was able to extend her lead on the subsequent slight descent and final climb, reaching the finish in 1:04:55 at Forn de Canillo cable car lift 65 seconds clear.
Switzerland’s Maude Mathys, who won the European title this summer, covered the second half almost as quickly. Moving up from seventh at the first checkpoint, 29 seconds behind Jelagat, she took silver 26 seconds ahead of Jelagat, who earned bronze.
With Joyce Njeru in 13th, Kenya comfortably won the team gold.
“It was not an easy race because there were many strong runners from around the world,” said Murigi, who boasts a half marathon PB of 1:10:52. “From the first kilometre to two kilometres I was feeling strong and so I pushed until the end. I am very happy to be a winner.”