Peuerbach, AustriaLeonard Komon of Kenya and Ethiopian Asmerawork Bekele celebrated highly acclaimed victories at the 31st edition of the Silvester race in Peuerbach on Saturday (31).
Located in a small village of just over 2000 people the road running event on New Year’s eve attracted a high quality elite field and some 10,000 fans to watch the race.
Komon went to the front right after the start of the 6.8Km run that was contested over eight laps. Temperatures of 2°C allowed for a fast pace. Early in the race Komon, the World record holder at 10Km and 15Km, shared the lead with his compatriot Josphat Bett Kipkoech, World Junior Champion from 2008 and number six in the world at 10,000m in 2011, and the Ethiopians Million Zewdie Yehualashet and Zelalem-Bacha Regasa. Then Komon and Yehualashet left the others behind. The overwhelming favourite Komon fully lived up to the expectations and made a decisive move two laps before the finish. The 23-year-old went on to celebrate a clear victory in 18:51. A strong finish by Kipkoech brought him into second place (18:58) just ahead of Yehualashet (18:59).
Multiple Austrian record holder Günther Weidlinger finished a creditable fifth in 19:23. Now focusing on the Marathon the former steeplechaser was cheered on as best European runner in front of his home crowd. Steffen Uliczka of Germany took sixth place (19:41), just ahead of promising Austrian 1500m specialist Andreas Vojta (19:46).
In a thrilling women’s contest Ethiopian Asmerawork Bekele edged out her fellow running colleague Alem Fikre Kifle. The 20-year-old Bekele celebrated her third straight victory in Peuerbach. Both were timed in 16:25 for the 5.1Km run over six laps. German runner Irina Mikitenko, a two-time winner of the World Marathon Majors series, took third place clocking an encouraging 16:31.
Austrian Marathon runner and World mountain running champion Andrea Mayr ran a strong race to finish fourth in 16:46. Both German Denise Krebs and Latvian Agatha Strausa got 16:48 in places five and six. Aniko Kalovics of Hungary finished seventh in 16:50 and beat course record holder Serbian Sonja Stolic (16:52) into eight place.
Andreas Maier for the IAAF