Eric Kiptanui of Kenya and Ethiopia’s Roza Dereje take the crown in Barcelona Half-Marathon
Eric Kiptanui and Roza Dereje raced to victories at the Dreams Mitja Marato Barcelona, road race, on Sunday.
While the 21-year-old Dereje was an overwhelming winner ahead of her fellow Ethiopian Dibabe Kuma in the women’s race, Kiptanui took the top spot over Ethiopia’s Abebe Degefa after a thrilling sprint in the men’s.
The women’s race had been billed as a serious attack on the world record by the rising star Dereje. She came up short, but still clocked 1:06:01 to clip a full minute from her previous lifetime best. The Ethiopian came within 16 seconds off the national record set by Senbere Teferi in Ras Al Khaimah.
Paced throughout by her fellow Ethiopian Fekele Darsema, Dereje’s early rhythm proved too slow for the record assault, with the opening five kilometres covered in 15:37, some 15 seconds behind world record pace. By then only Kuma and Kenyan Lucy Cheruiyot remained with Dereje, with Kenya’s Sally Chepyego another 12 seconds back and her compatriot Celestine Chepchirchir a distant fifth, 48 seconds behind the leaders.
The following five kilometres section was covered slightly faster, with the leaders reaching the 10-kilometre point in 31:10 with Dereje at the front and Kuma, last year’s runner-up, tucked in behind. Chepyego travelled 24 seconds adrift.
Dereje found the required world-record pace (3:04/3:05/km) over the following kilometres to pass 15 kilometres in 46:51. Kuma couldn’t respond to that turn of speed, dropping some 30 metres behind with Chepyego now 1:16 behind Dereje.
Another 15:52 five kilometres split led the leader through 20 kilometres in 1:02:43, keeping prospects alive for a sub-1:06 performance. Dereje stepped up the pace in the waning stages but nonetheless just missed the barrier, clocking 1:06:01.
posted Monday February 11th