Kosice, Slovakia30yearold Ethiopian Dejene Yirdawe dominated the 85th International Peace Marathon in Kosice, East Slovakia. The oldest Marathon in Europe was staged this morning in cold conditions (8-10 degrees) and in strong winds (partly up to 8 metres/second), but there was no rain as on Saturday.
Yirdawe increased the pace after the 24th kilometre, leaving even pacemaker David Makori behind when the tempo became faster than the required 3:05 per kilometre. Yirdawe ended his solo successfully in 2:10:51, a personal best and the second best ever in the history of the event after last year's course record 2:09:53 by Kenyan William Biama.
The Ethiopian was competing in his third Marathon (2:11:08 last year in Dublin and 2:14:11 this year in Tempe) and became the third Ethiopian male to win in Kosice after such legends as Abebe Bikila (1961) and Demissie Wolde (1969).
In a close battle for second three Kenyans finished within eight seconds of each other. Second place went to Jonathan Kibet who clocked his second best ever 2:12:23, beating Joseph Mutiso to third (2:12:25) and Sammy Rotich to fourth (2:12:31), who missed his PB by only 26 seconds). The winner won 12,000 Euro.
"It was great race for me, without the wind I think I would be able to run under 2:09," Yirdawe said. The top four times were included into top-6 of all-time in Kosice.
The city course (2 laps) proved to be fast, the first sign of which came back in 1997 at IAAF World Half Marathon Championships when for the first time the one hour barrier was broken at this event.
Top three women registered new personal bests. Winner Selina Chelimo of Kenya in her fifth Marathon achieved 2:34:23, the third fastest in the history of the event. It was also first Kenyan female victory here. A pari of Ethiopians, finishing second and third, debuted well in difficult windy conditions. Firehiwot Dado clocked 2:37:34 and junior Radiya Adlo (born 1989) 2:39:21. Kenyan Eunice Korir, who was fourth, achieved 2:42:34, but she hoped for her first sub-2:40. For the female winner the prize money was 6000 Euro.
The Slovak national champions were Imrich Pastor (he was also best European) who defended his title in ninth (2:26:05), and surprisingly Ingrid Petnuchova (6th) who improved to 2:48:23, to become the sixth best Slovak woman of all-time. In total more than 4000 runners from 34 countries competed in all races and categories.
Alfons Juck for the IAAF
1. Dejene Yirdawe, ETH 2:10:51 PB (12,000 E)
2. Jonathan Kibet, KEN 2:12:23 (5000)
3. Joseph Mutiso, KEN 2:12:25 (3000)
4. Sammy Rotich, KEN 2:12:31 (2000)
5. Benson Cheruiyot, KEN 2:15:56 (1000)
6. Hussan Adelo, ETH 2:16:21 (600)
7. Joseph Lagat, KEN 2:16:46 (500)
8. Philip Bandawe, ZIM 2:24:13 (200)
9. Imrich Pastor, SVK 2:26:05 nat. champion (150)
10. William Kiptoo, KEN 2:26:09 (100)
1. Selina Chelimo, KEN 2:34:23 PB (6000)
2. Firehiwot Dado, ETH 2:37:34 PB (debut, 2500)
3. Radiya Adlo, ETH 2:39:21 PB (debut, junior, 1500)
4. Eunice Korir, KEN 2:42:34 (1000)
5. Mariya Butakova, BLR 2:46:15 (500)
6. Ingrid Petnuchova, SVK 2:48:23 PB, nat. champion (300)
7. Ivana Martincova, CZE 2:49:24
8. Nataliya Lehonkova, UKR 2:53:06
9. Valentina Delion, MDA 2:53:46
- (no others sub-3:00)