OTTAWA, Canada, May 26 – Despite heavy rainfall, 21-year-old Dorcas Kimeli was first past the finish line at the Ottawa 10k on Saturday night, setting a Personal Best time of of 31:09 at the IAAF Gold Label road race.
The Kenyan was at the front for most of the race, sharing the early spadework with her compatriots Valary Jemeli and Paskalia Kipkoech. After the first 5km was passed in a sedentary 15:57, one by one the pack was whittled down as Kimeli went to work.
Turning on to the final straight, only Jemeli was close and the gap between the two widened to the finish. Jemeli finished second in 31:12 which was also a personal best. Kipkoech came next in 31:30. The winner collected CDN$5000.
“This is my first time in Canada,” Kimeli acknowledged. “I was confident because of my training. I believed in myself and I won. I was thinking around 7km we would push and then go on to a good time. It was my plan.
“At first I was worried (about the competition) but when the race started I was confident and I dropped them one by one. I was thinking to win the race.”
Jemeli was gracious in second place and was clearly pleased with her effort which comes only 11 weeks after her third-place finish at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon.
-Pace was good
“The pace was good because I have not done any 10k in Canada or anywhere,” Jemeli said. “I was thinking I might win the race but in the last stretch my leg was in pain and she passed me. But I am very happy; it’s my personal best.”
Equally important to the Ottawa victory was the ‘gender gap’ contest which saw the elite women set out 3:40 ahead of the elite men. Spectators could follow the race on a split screen television as the men chased the women.
The men’s pack quickly evolved into five runners at the front with three Moroccans – Mohammed Ziani, Mohamed Reda El Aaraby and Abderrahmane Kachir – running alongside Kenya’s Moses Kibet and Wilfrid Kimetei.
Kibet did a lot of the early work, taking the pack through 5km in 14:19. Then Ziani went to the front a couple of times surging.
With two kilometres remaining it was the three Moroccans who appeared likely to fill the podium as Kibet and Kimetei went to the back. Kibet dropped well off the pace and out of contention but Kimetei had other ideas.
Ziani came around the final bend in front and sprinted away to a 28:12 victory.
Kimitei finished four seconds behind with El Aaraby third in 28:22 and Kachir, racing for the first time outside Morocco, fourth in 28:33.
This was the second time Ziani has won the Ottawa 10km and he was pleased with his race today.
However it was the second occasion where he has been unable to close the gap on the leading women. In 2016 it was Peres Jepchirchir who won the gender gap. Today Kimeli took the CDN$2000 gender gap bonus.
“First of all I am happy with my second victory here in Ottawa,” said Ziani, who has been fasting for Ramadan. “The rain was not a big problem. I had some good training so it’s not about the weather.
“At 9km I had the confidence that I would win and I increased my pace. I wasn’t worried. There were some very strong athletes though.”
“My body was not responding well so I was like jogging back so I could run at my own pace,” said Kimitei. “When they (the Moroccans) dropped their pace, that was the time I got those two guys.”