Tesfaye Abera and Fantu Eticha achieved an Ethiopian sweep in Langueux on Saturday (22) evening for the 23rd “Corrida internationale de Langueux” – an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race.
190 runners took part in the 10km elite race in front of a huge crowd of 15,000 spectators around the streets of Langueux, a village located in the west of France.
The outcome of the men’s race remained undecided until the Hotel de Ville finish area. Nine runners were still in contention with 2km to go with the tallest of those, Tesfaye Abera from Ethiopia, leading with France’s Abdellatif Meftah.
Kenya’s Milton Rotich made an attempt to accelerate, but it only seemed to fuel Abera’s motivation to remain in front. The Ethiopian did just that, and produced a thrilling sprint kick in the last section of the race.
With a winning time of 28:21, the 21-year-old smashed his previous personal best of 28:55 with the first significant race of his career, a few months after showing up on the international scene with his 14th place at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
Kiplagat finished second in 28:23, just one second ahead of Ethiopia’s Tola Aderatamirat.
Defending champion Daunay beaten in close race
In the women’s race, pre-race favourite Christelle Daunay led for 9.5km before surrendering her lead in the final stages.
“I felt good and I wanted to find some rhythm, so I decided to run in front,” said the French athlete who had some doubts about her current form after a couple of races run in abysmal conditions. In Langueux, the chilly temperature and violent bursts of wind didn’t help.
The lead pack of women dropped away from the men after a few kilometres, and Daunay was clocked in 16:10 at half way. Ethiopians Fantu Eticha, Zeleke Etalemahu, Selam Abere and Kenya’s Leonidah Mosop remained hidden in the pack and, much to Daunay’s frustration, refused to share the leading duties.
At 8km Daunay still had Eticha and Etalemahu on her back. “I knew that they would pass me at one point and sprint away,” she said afterwards. And she was right – it happened with 500m to go.
Eticha’s acceleration was too strong and she won in 32:22. It was a PB for the 2:28:03 marathon runner, but well outside the course record of 31:48 set by Daunay last year. The title defender managed to hold on to second place in 32:25 from Mosop, 32:28.
“The time is satisfying, given that there were no men around to pace us,” said Daunay. “The wind prevented us from running faster, but the atmosphere was great with all the public joined around the loop.”
Pierre-Jean Vazel for the IAAF
1 Tesfaye Abera (ETH) 28:21
2 Milton Rotich (KEN) 28:23
3 Tola Aderatamirat (ETH) 28:24
4 Samson Gebreyohannes (ERI) 28:26
5 Alfred Cherop (KEN) 28:30
6 Abraham Niyonkuru (BDI) 28:38
7 Abdellatif Meftah (FRA) 28:44
8 Yetwale Kende (ETH) 28:45
9 Timothy Kiptoo (KEN) 28:46
10 Yonas Habtemicael (ERI) 28:51
1 Fantu Eticha (ETH) 32:22
2 Christelle Daunay (FRA) 32:24
3 Leonidah Mosop (KEN) 32:28
4 Zeleke Etalemahu (FRA) 32:30
5 Khadija Sammah (MAR) 33:27
6 Selam Abere (ETH) 33:49
7 Kateryna Karmanenko (UKR) 34:00
8 Fatiha Klilech Fauvel (FRA) 34:09
9 Olena Serdiuk (UKR) 34:40
10 Godelievre Nizigiyiamana (BDI) 35:10