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Ethiopia’s Senbere Teferi and world indoor 3000m champion Yomif Kejelcha were victorious at the Medio Maratón Valencia Trinidad Alfonso EDP on Sunday (27), winning in 1:05:32 and 59:05 respectively at the IAAF Gold Label road race.
At yesterday’s technical meeting, pre-race favourite Sifan Hassan was cautious on her chances of breaking the world record. “I don’t know how my body has recovered from the Doha efforts,” said Hassan, who won the 1500m and 10,000m at the recent World Championships.
But right from the start, perfectly paced by compatriot Roy Hoornweg and Morocco’s Yakoub Labquira, Hassan seemed determined to chase the record as she went through the opening 5km in 15:19 with only Teferi and Kenya’s Joan Chelimo for company as the women-only record holder and world half marathon champion Netsanet Gudeta ran eight seconds in arrears.
With exactly 22:15 on the clock, Hassan tripped and fell hard, losing ground on the leaders. Even though the pacemakers didn’t seem to notice her fall, the European record-holder soon re-joined the lead group.
The lead trio reached 10km in 30:43 – still inside world record pace – with Teferi and Chelimo heading the race while Hassan trailed by four seconds, likely hampered by her fall.
Although Hoornweg remained pacing Hassan throughout, Teferi and Chelimo’s leading margin increased to 16 seconds by the 15km checkpoint, which the lead duo reached in 46:16.
Chelimo began to fade shortly afterwards and Teferi went on to win by a clear margin. The 24-year-old reached the finish in 1:05:32, taking 13 seconds off the Ethiopian record she had set in Ras Al Khaimah earlier this year. Hassan, who overtook Chelimo just before 20km, finished second in 1:05:53 with Chelimo finishing third in 1:06:09.
“I’m really satisfied with my performance,” said Teferi, the 2015 world 5000m silver medallist. “In addition to winning the race, I managed to improve my PB so I can’t ask for more.”
On a perfect day for road running (a slight wind and 12C), the men’s race opened according to plan with the main pack passing the opening 5km in 13:55. By the 10th kilometre, the pace had dropped slightly as the leading pack went through that checkpoint in 27:56. By then, only the Ethiopian duo of Jemal Yimer and Kejelcha plus the Kenyan quartet of Benard Ngeno, Albert Kangogo, Leonard Barsoton and Geoffrey Koech remained with winning chances.
Once the pacemakers had dropped out, the leading quintet of Ngeno, Kejelcha, Yimer, Barsoton and Koech passed 15km in 42:09, indicating the course record of 58:18 would remain intact.
Once Koech lost ground, Kejelcha, Yimer, Ngeno and Barsoton fought hard for the victory in the closing stages after passing 20km in 56:15. Kejelcha unleashed a significant change of pace with about 700 metres to go and went on to cross the finish line in 59:05.
Ngeno was runner-up in a lifetime best of 59:07 while Yimer completed the podium after a thrilling sprint finish with Barsoton, both being credited in 59:09, a PB for the Kenyan.(10/27/2019) ⚡AMP
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