Comfortable victory for Geoffrey Kipsang in Bangalore (Organisers) © Copyright
An early morning shower which left the course wet coupled with a stretch narrowed by prolonged metro rail construction work left the course records undisturbed. Thus a pre-race prediction of a world lead in the men’s race became unrealistic at this juncture.
About 15 runners were in the lead group when they reached the first kilometre. The group began to split in two, while eight remain in lead bunch when they were approached the third kilometre mark. Before the next km arrived the leaders become visible. Dennis Kipruto Kimetto, who set a World record for 25Km earlier this month, did the front running along with Ethiopian Feyisa Lelisa and Moses Kipsiro from Uganda.
The leaders crossed the half-way mark in 14:08 and Kimetto started trailing afterwards. Kipsiro continued in the lead along with Kenyans Bernard Koech and Alex Korir during the third quarter of the race.
Two other Kenyans, Geoffrey Kipsang and Victor Kipchirchir, surged past the trio at the eight kilometre mark when the race entered Cubbon Park and remained at the helm of affairs thereafter. With just one kilometre to go, Korir was once again on the core group and began charging after the other two for the top spot.
Kipsang entered the stadium first, with teammate Korir 50 metres behind and Kipchirchir on their tail. He went on to win the USD 21,000 prize purse clocking exactly 28:00, leaving the course record of 27:51 set by Eritrean Zersenay Tadese in the inaugural edition here in 2008 intact. It was indeed the fourth fastest time in this race.
"The record, and even a world lead, could have possible had there been an ideal condition," Kipsang said. "I am happy that I stood on top of the podium this time. Korir and Kipchirchir filled the other two places in the podium.
Pre-race favourite Kimetto finished well back in 27th in 30:51 while 2009 winner Deriba Merga from Ethiopia failed in his bid to recapture the title, ending well behind in 51st place clocking 32:28.
Kiprop takes women’s honours
Unlike in the men’s race which saw changes in the lead throughout the contest, the women’s race was straight business between three Kenyans: Helah Kiprop, Esther Chemutai and Doris Changeiywo.
Ethiopian Fatuma Sado, runner-up in this year’s Mumbai Marathon who went on to conquer the title in Los Angeles thereafter, did make a challenge to the trio in the middle of the race along with compatriot Selam Abere. However the Kenyans thwarted the challenge as they shifted the pace between themselves.
Kiprop, who came second behind teammate Fyles Ongori in the Berlin Half Marathon earlier this year, kicked away in the last kilometer to win in 32:22. "I could have easily broken the course record had there been anyone to charge me in the final stages of the race," she said.
Grace Momanyi, the joint winner of the inaugural women’s race in 2008 finished sixth in her third appearance this year. Momanyi was a Commonwealth Games gold medallist for this distance on the track in Delhi two years ago. However her teammate and Delhi runner-up Changeiywo made it to podium today with a 32:44 clocking while Chemutai finished second, 10 seconds faster.
Among other pre-race favourites, Ongori finished eighth—one place ahead of last year’s runner-up Merima Mohammed of Ethiopia.
Pal, Athre win the Indian division
National junior champion Rahul Kumar Pal, who already qualified for this year’s World Junior Championships in Barcelona, was top among the Indians when he finished 21st overall in the men’s race in 30:15. The top Indian in the women's race was Monika Athre who finished 17th in 36:46. Pal was a cadet of Pune-based Army Sports Institute while Athre hails from Nasik, another city in Maharashtra. Their top finishes helped Maharastra state claim the Nations Challenge as the duo clocked 1:37:16 along with teammate Mohammed Yunus, to achieve the honour.
Former Olympic champion Linford Christie was the brand ambassador for this year’s event. Arriving here on Thursady (24), Christie interacted with young enthusiasts from in and around Bangalore and explained the importance of taking part in sports as well as maintaining physical fitness when attended various programmes held in the past three days. "I am happy to be the part of this race organisation and looking forward to visiting this beautiful country again," he said.
Christie, along with Karnataka Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, were the prize presenters.
Ram. Murali Krishnan for the IAAF
1. Geoffrey Kipsang KEN 28:00
2. Alex Korir KEN 28:09
3. Victor Kipchirchir KEN 28:15
4. Feyisa Lelisa ETH 28:30
5. Leonard Langat KEN 28:33
6. Bernard Koech KEN 28:34
7. Tim Kiptoo KEN 28:43
8. Moses Kipsiro UGA 28:49
9. Silas Kipruto KEN 29:00
10. Lucku Modike RSA 29:03
11. Merkebu Birke ETH 29:06
12. Betitus Masai KEN 29:07
13. Haille Tollesa ETH 29:10
14. Dino Sefer ETH 29:18
15. Sisay Jisa ETH 29:21
16. John Kyui KEN 29:21
17. Nicholas Kirui KEN 29:42
18. Ronald Kurgat KEN 29:43
19. Nicholas Kemboi QAT 30:14
20. Timothy Kipkosgei KEN 30:15
1. Helah Kiprop KEN 32:22
2. Esther Chemutai KEN 32:34
3. Doris Chengeiywo KEN 32:44
4. Ababel Yesganeh ETH 33:04
5. Selam Abere ETH 33:08
6. Grace Momanyi KEN 33:24
7. Helaria Hohannes NAM 33:31
8. Fyles Ongori KEN 33:36
9. Merima Mohammed ETH 33:50
10. Peninah Arusei KEN 33:58
11. Alice Mogire KEN 34:03
12. Ferhiwat Gashu ETH 34:15
13. Gulume Tollessa ETH 34:30
14. Tiblet Dirriba ETH 35:23
15. Aniko Kalovics HUN 36:37
16. Jane Kingiori KEN 36:43
17. Monika Athre IND 36:46
18. Swati Gadhave IND 37:14
19. Priyanka Singh Patel IND 37:23
20. Jhuma Khatun IND 37:26