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March 22, 2018

Kiptanui defies all odds to rule Lisbon Half Marathon

Eric Kiptanui clocked 1:00:05 to clinch the Lisbon Half Marathon on Sunday./COURTESY
Eric Kiptanui clocked 1:00:05 to clinch the Lisbon Half Marathon on Sunday./COURTESY

Eric Kiptanui clocked 1:00:05 to clinch the Lisbon Half Marathon on Sunday in Portugal. Eritrea’s Yohanes Gebregergish finished second in 1:00:16 with Moses Gachanga of Kenya completing the podium in 1:00:17. Another Kenyan Nicholas Kosimbei, who placed fourth in 1:00:21

Despite the poor weather that combined rain and wind, the men’s race still witnessed deep results with the first 12 running under 61 minutes.

From the start to the first turn, a stretch of about 7kms, the runners forged on with a tailwind, but over the next 10km they faced a headwind, with the final 4km again run with the wind. Until that second turn point, more than 15 runners remained in the lead group. It was only after the 17km that the race started to change.

That was the moment Kiptanui upped the tempo to built a small lead. The challengers tried to make up ground at different points in the waning different stages, but they couldn’t catch up Kiptanui who closed with a 2:47 final kilometre en-route to 1:00:05 victory in his debut over the distance.

“I’m really happy with this result,” said the unheralded Kiptanui, whose biggest career win came at the San Silverstre 10km in Madrid on the New Year’s Eve.

“I must thank the organisation for inviting me and trusting that I can run at this level. I think I could have achieved a better result if there were no strong wind.

“In future races, I believe I can run under one hour, and of course, if I return to Lisbon, I’m sure I will run faster than today, because this is a great course.”

In the women’s event, Etagegn Woldu led an Ethiopian 1-2-3-finish. Woldu posted 1:11:27 with Belainesh Oljira second in 1:11:29. Helen Bekele clocked 1:11:33 to place third. Bahrain’s Mimi Blete (1:11:38) and Kenya’s Magdaline Masai (1:11:49) completed the top five places.

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