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Adugna and Kipkoech were first across the finish line at the Marseille Cassis 20k in France

Olika Adugna of Ethiopia became the first runner in more than a decade to retain a Marseille Cassis 20km title, while Brillian Jepkorir Kipkoech prevailed for the first time in the challenging French race on Sunday (27).

A group of eight runners – Shadrack Korir Kipyegon, who entered the race at last minute, Joseph Koech, Gilbert Korir, Gerald Vincent, Dennis Rutoh, Josphat Kiprono Menjo, Adugna and his compatriot Yasin Haji – went through 5km in 15:09.

The leading pack then tackled the first slopes of the tough 327-metre climb up to the Col de la Gineste. Adugna changed gears on the steepest slopes of the Col de la Gineste, breaking the field and building a small lead from the first chasers to hit the summit 10km into the race in 32:15, 11 seconds ahead of Kipyegon and 12 seconds ahead of Haji.

Adugna covered the next five kilometres – mainly downhill – in 14:26 to reach the 15km checkpoint in 46:41, nine seconds ahead of Haji. Kipyegon started to fade and was now 23 seconds adrift the leader.

Adugna held on to capture his second win at this race in 1:01:10, 41 seconds slower than last year.

Haji was eventually forced to withdraw in the waning stages. Menjo, who was fourth at 10km, finished strongly to place second in 1:01:50 as Korir Kipyegon rounded the podium in 1:02:13.

In the women’s race, a trio of Kenyans –Brillian Jepkorir Kipkoech, Lucy Macharia and Lydia Nialaka Simiyu – separated themselves from the gun and hit 5km in 16:49, 37 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.

As expected, pre-race favourite Jepkorir ratcheted up the pace in the Col de la Gineste and reached the summit and the 10km mark in 35:52, almost one minute ahead of Simiyu and 1:04 ahead of Macharia. The gap continued to grow over the next kilometres.

Jepkorir Kipkoech, who improved her half marathon PB to 1:07:12 one month ago, didn’t fade in the closing stages to seal the win in 1:07:54, 2:23 ahead of Simiyu and 2:42 ahead of Macharia.

(10/27/2019) Views: 737 ⚡AMP
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Marseille Cassis

Marseille Cassis

Once upon a time…How could we imagine one day of March 1979, the idea of organizing a race opened to everyone between Marseilles and Cassis could take such an International dimension? A very young athletic section, a group of close friends and the unfailing support of every sections of an “omnisport” club, the SCO Ste Marguerite, gave birth...

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Olika Adugna of Ethiopia will be aiming to defend his title at the 41st edition of Marseille Cassis 20km

It’s been 12 years since Wilson Chebet retained his title in the race, the last runner to do so. Last year the 20-year-old Adugna defeated Amera Kuma following a fierce sprint. But Adugna, who clocked a half marathon PB of 1:01:43 one year ago, has a season’s best of just 1:04:23 from August, so doesn’t seem to his in his best shape.

One of Adugna’s rivals will be Vincent Gerald of Kenya, who also knows the challenging course along the French Mediterranean coastline. He rounded out the podium last year in 1:00:33, just four seconds behind Adugna.

Yasin Haji, who’ll be making his debut in this event, will be another strong contender. The Ethiopian, 23, is the fastest man on the field courtesy of a 1:01:19 half marathon career best, a time he ran just two weeks ago.

Josphat Kiproo Menjo should also be a threat, on paper, as he is the fastest man in the field over 10km, although his 27:04 came nine years ago.

The Kenyan, who turned 40 in August, set his half marathon best in March 2018 when running 1:01:36. In 2019 he clocked season’s best of 28:37 and 1:06:23.

Dennis Rutoh will have a role to play following his victory at the Montbéliard half marathon last September in a new lifetime best of 1:01:44. He also set his 10 km best in July with 28:21. 

French hopes will rest on Mohammed Serghini and Julien Devanne. The latter won within a month both half marathon and marathon national titles.

On the women’s side, Brillian Jepkorir Kipkoech looks to be the favourite to succeed to Gete Alemayehu. 

The Kenyan, 24, improved her half marathon best one month ago with a 1:07:12 run. She also bettered her 10km best to 31:04 in July. She seems to have a big margin over the rest of the field.

Compatriots Susan Kipsang Jeptoo and Lucy Macharia should be her main rivals. The former improved her 10km, half marathon and marathon bests in 2019 while the latter finished fourth at last year’s event.

French hopes will rest on the shoulders of Elodie Normand and Leonie Periault.

The start takes place near Marseille’s well-known Velodrome Stadium and then follows the Mediterranean coast before a tough 327-metre climb up to the Col de la Gineste halfway through the race. Runners then wind down a long descent towards the finish line in the port town of Cassis.

(10/25/2019) Views: 706 ⚡AMP
by IAAF
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Marseille Cassis

Marseille Cassis

Once upon a time…How could we imagine one day of March 1979, the idea of organizing a race opened to everyone between Marseilles and Cassis could take such an International dimension? A very young athletic section, a group of close friends and the unfailing support of every sections of an “omnisport” club, the SCO Ste Marguerite, gave birth...

more...
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