Kenyan Jackson Kotut, with a time of 2:07:30, currently the fourth best performance in the world this year, won Sunday’s the 30th Marató de Barcelona (7) in which 10,550 runner took part, smashing the race record and becoming the fastest ever race run in Spain.
The previous Barcelona race record was held by Moroccan Abdesalam Serrock (2:09:48; 15 March 1998), while the previous fastest time on Spanish soil was Kenyan Timothy Cherigat’s 2:09:34 run on 24 November 2002 in San Sebastián.
In the women’s category Ethiopian Debele Wudnesh Nega won in 2:31:51, a course record, beating her compatriot Roman Gebre by 37 seconds.
Kotut, 22-years-old, in a sprint to the line held off his compatriot Felix Keny by just 7 seconds, with Keny also beating his best personal best (2:08:07 – 2009).
African dominance was amazing. During most of the race a group of thirteen Kenyans, two Ethiopians and a Moroccan based on Barcelona, Mohamed Blal, set a devastating pace.
The half marathon was passed in 1:04:43 by a group led by Kenyans Jackson Kiprono, Kirui Kiriu, Cosmas Kigen and Mark Tanui, with another trio following them: Jackson Kotut, Félix Keny and Ethiopian Samuel Woldeamanuel.
The pace at the front of the race started to increase by the 30km point, and soon after, each kilometre was less than three minutes.
Félix Keny, Jackson Kotut and Ethiopian Hsailo Mekonnen were alone in the lead by 35km. Mekonnen, one of the pace makers had dropped out by 40km (2:00:52), with Keny and Kotut by then almost a minute ahead of third placed Samuel Woldeamanuel of Ethiopia.
The final result was decided in the last 100 metres when Kotut’s sprint prevailed and Keny who could not keep-up, finished second. Woldeamanuel took third, 2:08:45, followed by Kenyans Toek, Yator and Kiplagat. The first six beat the previous best time run in a marathon in Spain.
Jackson Kipkoech Kotut was born in the Kenyan city of Kapsabet in 12 February 1988, his coach is Mike Kosgei; Barcelona was his fifth marathon. Last year he was eleventh in the marathon of New York, fifth in Rotterdam (2:08:54) and he won the marathon of Tiberias, Israel with 2:08:07 (his previous PB). His next marathon will be Berlin next September.
The power of the African athletes was just as clear in the women’s race. Right from the start four runners imposed a strong pace. Ethiopians Debola Wudnesch, Roman Gebre and Yenealem Ayano, with Kenyan Serkalem Brist opened-up a wide gap over their rivals. They maintained this advantage all the way to the finish with Wudnesh outrunning Gebre, second, with Serkalem in third, two minutes behind the winner.
Gerardo Prieto (organisers) for the IAAF
1. Jackson Kotut (Ken) 2:07:30
2. Felix Keny (Ken) 2:07:37
3. Samuel Woldeamanuel (Eth) 2:08:45
4. Silas Toek (Ken) 2:09:10
5. Bellor Yator (Ken) 2:09:23
6. Raymond Kiplagat (Ken) 2:09:24
7. Siyum Debele (Eth) 2:11:26
8. Gebrselassie Tsegay (Eth) 2:12:17
1. Debele Wudnesh (Eth) 2:31:51
2. Roman Gebre (Eth) 2:32:28
3. Serkalem Bist (Ken) 2:33:52
4. Yenealem Ayano (Eth) 2:34:11
5. Salome Kimutai (Ken) 2:38:28