2:09:00 course record for Kosgei in Carpi (Freelance) © Copyright
Kosgei, the 2002 World Half Marathon champion, improved the previous Carpi record set by Haron Toroitich in 2004 by nine seconds.
Running alone in the women’s race, Kenyan Hellen Mugo Wajiku smashed her PB from 2:39:12 to 2:27:16 in a gun to tape victory. It was the third best time ever run in Carpi after Maria Guida’s 2:25:57 in 1999 and Aniko Kalovics’s 2:26:44 in 2006. Diana Lobacevske from Lithuania also dipped under 2:30 for the first time in her career clocking 2:28:03. Third was Giorgina Rono from Kenya in 2:30:55.
Men’s race -
The race started at a relatively slow pace (15:23 at 5Km, 30:51 at 10Km and 46:17 at 15Km) on schedule for a 2:10 finishing time. But after the 16th kilometre a 10-men group gradually increased the rhythm. Pacemakers Erastus Chirchir and Samson Bungei (brother of 800m Olympic champion Wilfred Bungei) did a good job going through in 1:04:48 at halfway, just according to the prerace game plan. The lead pack was formed by Nahashon Kimaiyo, Abdullah Dawit Shami, Abraham Potongole, Joshua Chelanga (2:07:05 PB in Berlin 2004), David Kiptanui Chepkwony, Paul Malakwen Kosgei, Felix Kandie and Dickson Chumba.
Bungei finished his pacemaking task at 28Km. A kilometre later five men broke away from the rest of the field after Kosgei and Chumba pushed the pace. The first athlete in the five-men leading pack who lost ground was Chelanga.
Twenty-four year-old Dickson Chumba, who trains with Martin Lel, injected a 2:59 split at 34 km and made an attempt to pull away but Kosgei and Shami quickly responded.
Kosgei ran a 39Km split in 2:56 which proved to be decisive. He then carved out a gap of 15 seconds over Chumba and Shami and went on to take the win in 2:09:00 which lowered his previous PB set in Paris in 2008 by 15 seconds. Chumba finished runner-up in 2:09:20 beating Ethiopian Dawit Abdullah Shami, third in 2:09:50. For the first time in the history of the Maratona d’Italia three men dipped under 2:10. Moroccan Aziz Naji El Idrissi, who lives in Genova, made a good debut finishing fourth in 2:11:09.
Kosgei, who is married and has two children, is coached by Italian Gabriele Nicola. It was his first ever win over the Marathon distance.
“I have never felt so well in my career as today,” said a delighted Kosgei. “This boosts my confidence for the future. The course was very nice. I have to thank the pacemakers for their good job.”
Chumba improved his PB from 2:11:54 to 2:09:20 in his second Marathon. This runner, who is coached by Italian Claudio Berardelli, worked as a gardener before focusing on training full time.
Women’s race -
Wajiku produced a remarkable solo race by setting a sensational pace in the early stages. She went through 5Km in 16:20 and 10Km in 32:33, inside 2:17 pace! Wajiku set her PB at halfway clocking 1:10:14, still on 2:20 pace. She built up a gap of more than three minutes over her compatriot Georgina Rono.
This fierce pace proved to be too fast for the 25-year-old Kenyan who entered the Carpi Marathon with a modest 2:39:00 best at the Mombasa Marathon in 2010, and it took its toll in the second half. Mugo managed to keep a margin of 3:06 over Rono.
In their wake Diana Lobacevske, who was only sixth at halfway 20 seconds behing the chasing group, managed to close the gap at 30Km and caught Rono in the final kilometres to take second. The Lithuanian smashed her previous PB by seven minutes from 2:35:06 to 2:28:03 thanks to a strong second half. Rono also lowered her PB to 2:30:55 to take third.
“I had planned to use a front running tactic,” Wajiku said. “My strategy was to start very fast and try to hold on until the end. I think that I can run 2:25 with the help of pacemakers.”
Wajiku is married to Ruben Mwaura and gave birth to her daughter Anne Muthoni four years ago. She won two Marathons in 2010 in Belgrade and Mombasa. She trains in the same group as Samuel Muturi, winner at the Beijing Marathon in 2009 in 2:08:20.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
1. Paul Kosgei Malakwen (Kenya) 2:09:00
2. Dickson Chumba (Kenya) 2:09:20
3. Abdullah Dawid Shami (Ethiopia) 2:09:50
4. Aziz Naji El Idrissi (Morocco) 2:11:09
5. Abraham Potongole (Kenya) 2:11:39
6. Joshua Chelanga Koech (Kenya) 2:12:27
7. Albert Kangoi Kipngetich (Kenya) 2:13:29
8. Nahashon Kimaiyo (Kenya) 2:14:23
1. Hellen Mugo Wajiku (Kenya) 2:27:16
2. Diana Lobacevske (Lithuania) 2:28:03
3. Georgina Rono (Kenya) 2:30:55
4. Hellen Gebremehdin Gebrehiwot (Ethiopia) 2:32:31
5. Amelework Bosho Fekadu (Ethiopia) 2:33:52
6. Gladys Chebet (Kenya) 2:34:1