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Kenya’s Hillary Kimaiyo confirmed himself as the fastest marathon runner on Latin American soil as he improved his personal best by over a minute-and-a-half to take the 23rd LALA International Marathon on Sunday (6) in 2:08:17.
The 29-year-old better his own Latin America and Mexico-All comers’ record of 2:09:54, set in Monterrey in December 2008.
A familiar face on the Mexican circuit, Kimaiyo equalled the seventh fastest time this season, together with countrymen Evans Kiprop Cheruiyot and Paul Biwott.
Kimaiyo and Mexico’s Olympic 5000m finalist Juan Luis Barrios – making his marathon debut - set the tempo passing the first 10 kilometres in 29:53 and the 15km mark in 44:50, before the latter took a narrow lead at half way (1:03:09) and the 25km mark (1:22:07). At one point, Barrios enjoyed a 60-metre advantage.
The experienced Kenyan caught up with him a kilometre later and made a decisive break around the 29th km mark on Juarez Avenue.
It was his second LALA victory, having taken the 2008 edition. He previously dominated the marathons in Culiacán (2010) and Monterrey (2008), where he had run the first sub-2:10 on Latin American soil.
Kimaiyo, who trained two months at home and a month-and-a-half in Mexico before the race, earned 700,000 Mexican Pesos (USD 58,000) for his effort.
The previous course record was 2:10:57, set by Andres Espinosa in 2001.
“I am very happy with the win. I wanted to break the record and I did. I have accomplished my goal and managed to run a very smart race,” said Kimaiyo, who also holds the Mexican All-comers record in the Half Marathon (1:00:24), set in Monterrey in November 2008.
His compatriot Erick Monyenye Mose, 24, overtook Barrios after the 35km mark and secured second place in 2:12:10, over four minutes faster than his previous best. Barrios held on for third 2:14:20, ahead of Simon Kariuki Njoroge (2:14:39).
In the women’s race, Paola Apolonio ran a personal best to take her first LALA victory in 2:34:34, better than her 2:35:21 run on the same course in 2009.
The 32-year old shared the lead with Kenyan Neriah Nyaboke Asiba and they both covered the first half in 1:19:10, before the former moved ahead after the 25km mark.
Her second fastest 5km split of the day (18:12 in 30-35km) ensured a personal best for Apolonio.
Nyaboke Asiba held on for second in 2:37:43, followed by Mexican Angelica Sanchez (2:38:24). The course record of 2:29:00 set by Dulce Maria Rodriguez in 2005 remained intact.
Third at the 2010 CAC Games, Apolonio now targets the London Marathon, a Mexican qualifier for the Pan American Games, to be held at home in Guadalajara, 13-30 October.
Held since 1989, the LALA Marathon has become the fastest in Mexico and participation has increased from 434 in the first edition to nearly 4,000 on Sunday. Temperatures were ideal for swift times, 11 degree Celsius at the start and 15 towards the end. The course covers the northern states of Durango and Coahuila.