Lisbon, PortugalTaking command from the start, World Half Marathon record holder Mary Keitany smashed her own race record at the Vodafone RTP Portugal Half-Marathon on Sunday (25) while Silas Sang won the men’s contest at this IAAF Gold Label Road Race.
As predicted, Keitany returned to Lisbon to show her skills. The 29-year-old Kenyan, who broke the World record in Ras Al Khaimah in February, never faced serious opposition en route to her 1:07:54 performance to improved the race record that she established last year (1:08:50) by almost one minute!
After the race, Keitany shared her delight to be back in Lisbon and to collect the win, “despite the weather not being very good” due to the morning’s rising temperatures. In fact, the 26 ºC and 60% of humidity was the runners’ strongest opponent, but didn’t break the goals of the elite athletes.
Now Keitany, who won the London Marathon last April in 2:19:19 in just her second race over the distance, said her focus is now on her third Marathon experience, “in New York, where I will try to win”.
Behind her, two other Kenyans pushed their pace to a maximum level but not enough to upset Keitany. Helena Kiprop, winner in this race in 2009 (1:10:26), crossed the line 1:03 after Keitany and Caroline Kilel, the winner of this year’s Boston Marathon in 2:22:36, rounded out the podium in 1:10:03.
Ana Dulce Félix was the first Portuguese, finishing ninth (1:13:34), while Analia Rosa closed out the top-10 in 1:14:44.
Third win for Sang
Silas Sang, the race record holder, won for the third time in four appearances but it didn’t come without some drama.
In the race’s early stages, Kenyan Silas Kipruto moved to the front to push a race record pace. By 12 kilometres he had built a gap of 28 seconds on the pursuing group. But he paid dearly for his audacity in the last five kilometres, as he slowed dramatically before crossing the finish line in 15th place almost walking.
Knowing the course and running much more conservatively at the start, Sang didn’t make his move until after the 15th kilometre.
“I noticed that the gap to Kipruto was smaller and at 16k I realised that I could win again and then I ran with conviction to victory,” said Sang.
“I’m very happy to be here for the fourth time and win for the third. From 16th kilometre I began to narrow the distance to the front of the race and then went on."
The podium was completed by Kenyans Lucas Rotich (1:01:38) and Benson Olanakery (1:02:19).
Hermano Ferreira was the best Portuguese finishing seventh in (1:03:56), ahead of Luis Feiteira who was 10th (1:04:33).
António Manuel Fernandes for the IAAF
1. Silas Sang KEN 1:01:13
2. Lucas Rotich KEN 1:01:38
3. Benson Olenakery KEN 1:02:19
4. Sammy Kigen KEN 1:02:31
5. Dickson Marwa TAN 1:03:10
6. Ezekiel Chebii KEN 1:03:21
7. Hermano Ferreira POR 1:03:56
8. Kiprono Menjo KEN 1:04:27
1. Mary Keitany KEN 1:07:54
2. Helena Kiprop KEN 1:08:57
3. Caroline Kilel KEN 1:10:03
4. Rita Jeptoo KEN 1:10:34
5. Desiree Davila USA 1:11:27
6. Magdalene Mukunzi KEN 1:11:54
7. Salina Kosgei KEN 1:11:55
8. Hellen Kimutai KEN 1:12:29