Kipkemboi smashes course record at Liupanshui Marathon

In Summary

• Kipkemboi led a Kenyan 1-2-3 finish in the men's category. 

• Eunice Chumba of Bahrain wins the women's category. 

Robert Kipkemboi at a past event
File Robert Kipkemboi at a past event

Robert Kipkemboi smashed the Liupanshui Summer International Marathon course record in China yesterday.

Kipkemboi's winning mark of 2:14:58 also beat the 2:16:10 course record set by 2018 winner Kipsaat Mathew of Kenya as he led a Kenya 1-2-3 to finish in the event.

David Kipkoech came second in 2:16:44, which is the first podium finish in five years for the 35-year-old, while Evans Sambu came took the final podium position in 2:17:50.

A leading pack of 13 runners paced the race to 10 kilometres in 32:03. The group was cut to 10 men after another five kilometres in 48:11 before being further cut to seven at the halfway point.

Kipkoech, whose PB of 2:15:47 was set last October in Nairobi, tried to pull away after 25 kilometres but was soon caught by compatriots Kipkemboi, Evans Sambu and Thomas Ekiru. After another two kilometres, Kipkemboi’s effort finally counted as he pulled clear to take the sole lead and never looked back before hitting the finish line.

In the women's category Eunice Chumba of Bahrain.

The 26-year-old Chumba, the fourth-place finisher at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships Valencia 2018, led virtually from the start to score her convincing victory in 2:32:25, trimming more than four minutes off the course record of 2:36:49 set last year by Kenya’s Naomi Jepkogei Maiyo.

Chumba took pole position in a leading group soon after the gun with only Yetsehay Desalegn of Ethiopia managing to keep up with her pace after five kilometres.

The leading duo continued to widen the gap between them and the chasers, passing 15 kilometres in 54:13, 20 kilometres in 1:12:21 and 25 kilometres in 1:30:16.

After the water tables at 30 kilometres were reached in 1:47:05, Chumba launched a powerful charge and soon cut the binds between her and the 27-year-old Ethiopian. It was Chumba’s first victory over the classic distance in 20 months after her win at the 2017 Beirut Marathon.

Desalegn finished second in 2:34:47, which is her third consecutive runner-up finish as she also took the second place in Los Angeles and Hangzhou last year. Her compatriot Alemaz Negede, the 2018 Rennes Marathon winner, finished as a remote third finisher in 2:50:30.