Aziz Naji Idrissi of Morocco took an overwhelming victory in the Casblanca International Marathon on Sunday (23) clocking 2:12:55 in a race dominated by Moroccan athletes.
Running as pacemakers, Idrissi and his compatriot Mustapha El Azizi ran shoulder-to-shoulder along much of the route and found themselves alone by the 25th kilometre.
Almost a minute after Idrissi's victorious finish, El Azizi, a cross country specialist running his first Marathon, crossed the finish line second in 2:13.54, followed by Hicham El Barouki (2:14:38), Abderrahim Moatassim (2:15:05) and Noureddine Bouchamama (2:16:21) to complete a top-five finish for the host nation.
"It is a pleasant surprise to win this marathon, the second of my career," Idrissi said. "At the start of the race, I was planning to prepare for the Turin Marathon, scheduled for 13 November, and I was one of the rabbits here to assist with improving the course record."
"But I found myself in the lead two-thirds of the way into the race, and a strong believer in my opportunity, I continued, especially since I still felt fresh physically and could go all the way. "
In the women's race, it was Ethiopia that dominated but the results were quite modest and well off the 2:31:10 course record set by Tadesse Yeshimebet in 2010.
The winner was Wudnesh Nega Debele in 2:50:05, finishing more than a minute ahead of compatriot Amane Seid Chow (2:51:10).
The men's course record of 2:09:03 is held by the Ethiopian Shumi Gerbal.
The Half Marathon races, won by Haddouchi Mossaad (1:06:33) and Hafida Izem (1:14:42), featured only domestic fields.
Mohammed Benchrif for the IAAF
1. Aziz Naji Idrissi (MAR) 2:12:55
2. Mustapha El Azizi (MAR) 2:13:54
3. Hicham El Barouki (MAR) 2:14:38
4. Abderrahim Moatassim (MAR) 2:15:05
5. Nourreddine Bouchamama (MAR) 2:16:21
6. Chemoi (KEN) 2:16:38
7. G. Kiplagat (KEN) 2:17:52
8. Mengistu Tessema (ETH) 2:19:54
9. Hassan Ihmach (MAR) 2:20:13
1. Wudnesh Nega Debele (ETH) 2:50:05
2. Amane Seid Cheweo (ETH) 2:51:10
3. Alina Gherasim (ROU) 2:58:34
4. Tadelech Birugudeta (ETH) 3:05:06
Half Marathon -
1. Haddouchi Mossaad (MAR) 1:06:33
2. Omar Tioratine (MAR) 1:06:42
3. Abdelkarim Boubker (MAR) 1:07:59
4. Mustapha Morchid Alaoui (MAR) 1:08:36
1. Hafida Izem (MAR) 1:14:42
2. Hanane El Bajjaoui (MAR) 1:23:00
3. Mhih Amina (MAR) 1:25:23