Padua, ItalyRobert Kwambai Kipkorir made a winning debut over the marathon distance clocking 2:09.14 at the 13th edition of the Maratona Sant’Antonio from Campodarsego to Padua on Sunday (22).
In the women’s race Brazilian Marily Dos Santos smashed her PB from 2:35:31 to 2:31:55 to take the win over Kenyan Frida Domongole who finished second in 2:34:48 in her debut over the distance.
Ben Chebet, who won in Padua in 2009 and finished second last year in 2:09:26, finished runner-up in the men’s race clocking 2:10:02. Brazilian Paulo Roberto Paula completed the podium in third place in 2:10:23.
Men’s contest -
The race set off from Campodarsego and finished in the big square Prato della Valle in Padua after crossing six more neighbouring towns. The 10 km mark was reached in 30:43 before seven men went to the lead at 15 km which was passed in 46:07. The leading group was formed by Chebet, Kwambai Kipkorir, Ethiopians Asefa Wakeyo Abtamu, Worana Tumicha and Genemo Gesera, Eritrean Kifom Sium and Brazilain Paulo Roberto Paula.
They went through the 21 km mark in 1:04:48 before it started raining briefly at 22 km. The rain stopped falling at 25 km reached in 1:16:24.
The leading pack was whittled down to four men who changed gears breaking away from the rest of the pack after 30 km. Kwambai, Chebet, Asefa Wakeyo and Tumicha remained in the lead at 30 km which was passed in 1:31:58.
Kwambai and Chebet increased the pace at 31 km opening up a decisive gap and battled it out until 35 km when Kwambai broke away from Chebet with a decisive attack. Kwambai, who set a half-marathon PB of 1:01:47 at halfway in Zhuhai (China) in 2011, was still fresh as shown by two kilometre splits run under 3 minutes and pushed hard in the final seven kilometres and romped home in 2:09:14, missing the 2:09:02 course record set by Ethiopian Aredo Tadese by 12 seconds. Kwambai ran a negative split in the second half in 1:04:26.
Kwambai hails from Eldoret and trains with the group guided by Italian coach Claudio Berardelli.
“It was a flat and fast course, the acemakers did a good job,” Kwambai said. “I pulled away with Chebet at 34 km, and at 35 km I began pushing and I realized I could win. I thank the support from the crowd along the course and the good job made by the organisers. I want to come back next year.”
The decision of the Assindustria Sport Padova which organises the Marathon to change the course last year paid off. There was no course record this year but there was good depth of results compared to the past as shown by the fact that for the first time in the history of the Padua Marathon the top four men dipped under 2:11.
Four women formed the leading group at 15 km which was reached in 53:30. They were Marily Dos Santos, Frida Domongole, Ethiopian Elfenesh Melaku and Brazilian Michele Das Chagas. They went through the halfway mark in 1:15:20.
At 25 km only Dos Santos, Domongole and Melaku remained in contention. Dos Santos and Domongole were left alone in the lead at 30 km (1:47:16) before the Brazilian pulled away at 36 km to romp home unchallenged in 2:31:55 which improved her previous PB set last year in Frankfurt by 3:36.
She hails from a family of farmers and helped her parents working in the farm. She lives with her husband Gilmario Mendes in Salvador Bahia. Dos Santos represented Brazil at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
Leading results from the Maratona Sant’Antonio in Padua:
1 Robert Kwambai (Kenya) 2:09:14
2 Ben Kipruto Chebet (Kenya) 2:10:02
3 Paulo Roberto Paula (Brazil) 2:10:23
4 Tumicha Worana (Ethiopia) 2:10:35
5 Kiflom Sium (Eritrea) 2:11:09
1 Marily Dos Santos (Brazil) 2:31:55
2 Frida Domongole (Kenya) 2:34:49
3 Melaku Elfenesh (Ethiopia) 2:36:43
4 Michele Das Chagas (Brazil) 2:42:55