Kenyans reign supreme in Venice, Valencia marathon races
Kenyan athletes once again shone bright on the global stage, showcasing their long distance running prowess as they claimed top podium finishes in various races held on Sunday.
In Italy, Priscah Jepleting Cherono ran a personal best of 2:27:4 with Julius Chepkwony Rotich successfully defending his Venice Marathon honours while in Spain Stephen Kibet Kosgei and Peres Jepchichir stunned race favourites to clinch the Valencia Half Marathon titles.
Cherono, a Beijing Olympian, whose sensational race saw her run the last few kilometers all by herself finished seven minutes ahead of Easter Macharia Wanjiru (2:35:15) while home favourite Ivana Iozza (2:37:04) came in ten minutes later for third place.
“I am happy that I improved my personal best from last year,” Cherono said. “At 40 kilometres I saw that I could improve my personal best. I hope to return here next year and improve my record,” Cherono told the IAAF.
Pounding the Venice streets, Rotich confidently defended and claimed his title back in a tightly contested race between him and Ethiopian Adugna Bekele Chala (2:13:51) who also denied Kenya top most podium places as Titus Masai (2:15:34) settled for third place.
“I knew that I could repeat my win from last year,” said Rotich, who nabbed his second marathon win of the year after a victory in Geneva in May. “I received strong support along the course and I enjoyed this race.”
The father of two is already eager to take a third victory next year.
“I want to return to Venice next year with my kids,” Rotich told the IAAF.
Elsewhere in Valencia, Spain, in a tightly contested men’s race, the 30-year-old Stephen Kibet Kosgei stunned race favourites to cut the tape at 0:59:27, two seconds ahead of Moroccan Musptapha El Aziz (0:59:29) while Edwin Kipsang Rotich comfortably followed the two for third place in 0:59:32.
World Half Champion, Peres Jepchichir victoriously led compatriots to a clean podium sweep in the women’s race, setting a personal best of 1:07:09 as she pulled a fast one on race favourite Violah Jempchumba who clocked 1:08:22 while Rosa Chelimo stopped the timer at 1:09:36 for third place.
-Material sourced from the IAAF were used to compile this report.