Eldoret, KenyaLittle-known Edwin Kipyego blew away a classy field to win the 21st edition of the Discovery Half Marathon in Eldoret, Kenya, on Sunday (29).
The 24 year-old Kipyego emerged the best in a stellar line-up that included the London Marathon champion Emmanuel Mutai, by clocking 1:02:30 during the race held under clear skies.
The winner, who trains in the athletics rich Iten, remained in a group of leading runners for the better part of the race held in the streets of Eldoret town.
The lead pack included Mutai, the 2009 Rotterdam Marathon runner-up James Kwambai and World Half Marathon bronze medallist Bernard Kiprop until half-way.
At the 15kKm mark Kipyego started gaining ground over Mutai, Kwambai and Kiprop but two-time World Cross Country participant Enock Mitei, who was racing for the first time in five years, was able to keep up with the winner’s pace for a second position finish in 1:02:41.
The 32-year-old Mitei, a member of the national teams to the 2001 and 2002 World Cross Country in Oostende, Belgium, and Dublin, respectively, was conspicuous in the lead group because of his beard.
Kipyego, who has a 1:01:23 Half Marathon personal best time he posted early last year at the Ribarroja de Turia in Spain, said he was racing for the first time since picking an injury on October last year.
Victor Kipchirchir, 1:02:47.4, Anthony Maritim 1:02:51.1 and Jackson Limo 1:02:54.3 followed in that order for third, fourth and fifth places.
Mutai clocked 1:02:55.2 for sixth place as new find Loritanya Komon (1:02:57.7) and Cross Country sensation Bernard Koech (1:03:03) wound up seventh and eighth.
Daniel Kipkemei (1:03:14.4) and wWorld Cross Country runner Peter Kimeli (1:03:26.20) followed to close the top ten slots. Kwambai disappeared off the radar.
Foreign runners, Ruggero Pertice from Italy, Garvin Smith and William Saugadu from Brazil put up a good showing by finishing in the middle of the 523 athletes who stepped at the start line.
Kipyego said: “I never expected to win the race. I just wanted to test how an injury I picked up last October was responding. Despite my good showing today, I have no plans to step up to full Marathon soon.”
Most marathoners in the race said they were here to gauge their form in the run-up to the Boston, London and Rotterdam marathons due in April.
David Macharia (Daily Nation) for the IAAF
Leading results (extended times):
1. Edwin Kipyego 1:02:30.28
2 Enock Mitei 1:02:41.25
3. Victor Kipchirchir 1:02:47.4
4. Anthony Maritim 1:02:51.1
5. Jackson Limo 1:02:54.3
6. Emmanuel Mutai 1:02:55.2
7. Loritonya Komon 1:02:57.7
8. Bernard Koech 1:03:03.0
9. Daniel Kipkemei 1:03:14.4
10. Peter Kimeli 1:03:26.2