On a rather windy but not too cold day Moses Kigen returned to successfully defend his title at the 32nd edition of the City-Pier-City Half Marathon at The Hague (Den Haag). The Kenyan clocked a time of 1:01:17, almost half a minute faster than his winning time of last year (1:01:45). Simone Staicu of Hungary took the women's honours in 1:12:49.
The half marathoners went on their way nearly half an hour later due to a car accident somewhere on the course, but the delay did not however, hamper the elite runners to set a fast pace.
A group of five Kenyans, pacemaker Benson Barus along with Moses Kigen, Solomon Busendich, Kimwole Kimattai and William Chebon Chebor lead from the start, reaching five kilometres in 14:10. Barus brought Kigen, Busendich and Kimattai through 10Km in 28:21, a section of the course set among sand dunes close to the North Sea. Busendich led the leaders through 15 kilometres (43:38), with none of the leading trio wanting to make a decisive move. Finally Chebor and Kimattai were the first to drop back. In the final 500 metres, Kigen finally took the lead and hung on for the win, four seconds ahead of Busendich. The race also hosted the national championship, won by Koem Raymaekers, who finished twelfth overall.
Seven days after her second place in the 20 kilometres of Alphen race, Simone Staicu was the fastest of the women. The Hungarian, who was out of competition for 14 months after the birth of her daughter, ran most of the race in company with young Dutchwoman Selma Borst. The experienced Staicu left her last opponent in the final kilometres to win in 1:12:49. Borst came home second 42 seconds later to win the national title.
Nearly 20,000 runners, contesting several distances, particpated in the race along a course that took them from the city centre to the North Sea coast and back.
Wim van Hemert for the IAAF
1. Moses Kigen, KEN 1:01:17
2. Solomon Busendich, KEN 1:01:21
3. Kimwole Kimattai, KEN 1:01:34
4. Patrick Ivuti, KEN 1:01:50
5. William Chebon Chebor, KEN 1:01:53
6. Ridouane Harroufi, MAR 1:01:55
7. James Mwangi, KEN 1:02:16
8. Sammy Chumba, KEN 1:02:45
9. Peter Kiprotich, KEN 1:02:47
10. David Mutai, KEN 1:03:36
11. Tom van Hooste, BEL 1:03:53
12. Koen Raymaekers, NED 1:04:13 (National champion)
1. Simone Staicu, HUN 1:12:49
2. Selma Borst, NED 1:13:31 (National champion)
3. Lisa Wiklund, SWE 1:16:52
4. Kristijna Loonen, NED 1:18:22 (2nd NC)
5. Merel de Knegt, NED 1:18:49 (3rd NC)
6. Barbara Zutt, NED 1:19:58