Commonwealth 10,000m silver medalist Irene Cheptai took the honors at the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon
Cheptai claims Vedanta Half Marathon title a World Athletics Elite Label Race when she crossed the line in a new personal best time of 1:06:42 on Sunday.
By contrast, the women’s race was a one-woman show from the halfway mark. A group of 10 women went through 5km in 15:40 and, despite a slowing down the pace over the next five kilometers, there were still six together at 10km, which they covered in 31:42.
However, Cheptai made a decisive move just after 12 kilometers and was never headed before reducing her personal best by one second.
Cheptai finished more than a minute in front of Ethiopia’s World 5000m bronze medalist Dawit Seyaum, who finished second in 1:08:02, while Stella Chesang set a Ugandan record of 1:08:11 in third place. Another Kenyan in the race was Faith Chepkoech who placed ninth in 1:10:34.
In the men’s race, Ethiopia’s Chala Regasa won the race in 1:00:30 edging out Felix Kipkoech to second place in 1:00:33. Debutant Boki Diriba, the Ethiopian U20 5000m champion, settled for third place in 1:00:34.
Other Kenyans in the race were Joshua Belet, Moses Koech and Michael Kamau who placed fourth (1:00:43), sixth (1:00:56) and seventh (1:01:02) respectively.
Regasa, 25, came out on top of a thrilling three-man battle over the final kilometre on a misty morning in the Indian capital, sprinting away from Kipkoech and Diriba with 400m to go to take the US $27,000 first prize.
A relatively sedate early pace in the men’s race saw a large group of the elite international field go through 5km in 14:21 and then 10km in 28:48.
This meant that the course record— 58:53 set by Ethiopia’s Amedework Walelegn in 2020—was unlikely to be challenged despite the classy field with 11 men who had run under one hour and who had gathered to contest one of the world’s leading half marathon races.
Koech made a noticeable surge just before the 12km checkpoint and was accompanied by Kipkoech, who was frequent to the fore of the main group but couldn’t shake off any of the main contenders.
Nine men were still in contention as 15km was passed in 43:22, guaranteeing a thrilling finale over the final quarter of the race. Shortly after 15km, Kipkoech increased the tempo which splintered the leading pack as one-by-one runners drifted away from the front.
One of the first to be detached was Ethiopia’s two-time world 5000m champion Muktar Edris, who came home eighth. By 19km, the leading group was reduced to just four men, with Kipkoech still doing the majority of the work.
Regasa and Diriba, both looking comfortable, watched Kipkoech's every move, with Belet also gamely hanging on before having to relinquish his place on the podium just before 20km.
The leading trio passed 20km in 57:31 and dueled almost all the way to the finish line at the famous Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
posted Monday October 17th
by Abigael Wuafula