02 AUG 2009 General News Bogota, Columbia

Macharia and Cheromei victorious in Bogota

A comfortable nine second victory for Lydia Cheromei in Bogota (Victah Sailer)A comfortable nine second victory for Lydia Cheromei in Bogota (Victah Sailer) © Copyright
Isaac Macharia notched his third straight win and Lydia Cheromei took the women’s race from more illustrious competition here as the Bogota International Half Marathon celebrated its 10th year anniversary.

The Bogota International Half Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

Macharia Wins Again

In the men’s race a talked about duel between Macharia and the year’s fastest half marathoner Patrick Makau never materialized. Makau showed up in Bogota with an injured left knee and from the gun he was never a factor.

Instead, it started off as a three-man race with Macharia, sub-one hour half marathoner Wilson Chebet and late entry Patrick Nthlwa forming a small pack at 5K.  At 7K Nthlwa was off the pace and Macharia squared off with Chebet.

The two ran side by side through the middle miles of the race past thick crowds on a clear temperate day. Chebet had broken on hour at the Ras Al Khaimah half marathon earlier this year and that made him a serious contender to Macharia’s crown.

Yet that fact didn’t seem to bother Macharia. The recent economics graduate of Nairobi University simply bided his time until the 14th kilometre.  There, a bride forms the only hill on the course and it was there that Macharia made his move—again. It is where he has won Bogota Half Marathons before. “It is my place to go,” he said with a smile after the race.

The move gapped Chebet instantly and Chebet couldn’t recover. “This is my first time running this race and when Isaac went I was feeling the altitude,” he said. Bogota is run at an elevation of 2600 metres.

Macharia crossed in 1:02:49 and Chebet followed in 103:14. Nthlwa held on for third in 1:04:52.

Cheromei dominates

The women’s elite race was highlighted by a special start, five minutes ahead of the rest of the field. Kenya’s Cheromei wasted no time taking advantage of the open concrete, surging at 3K to break up a small pack.

Behind her was defending champion Pamela Chepchumba, Mexico’s Maria Dulce Rodriguez, Ethiopia’s Genet Getaneh and Catherine Ndereba.

Ndereba came to Bogota with high hopes of repeating her win from 2006 but early on you could tell that it wasn’t her day. Soon after Cheromei’s surge it was Ndereba, the two-time IAAF World Marathon Champion, who dropped off the pace. She was never again a factor. “It was tough,” she said. “After a while I just wanted to pace myself.”

Up front Cheromei reached 5K in 16:05. Ten meters back Rodriguez was gamely giving chase. The Mexican stayed in contact as Cheromei went through 8K (26:10) and 10K (33:10) before drifting back.

Then it was just a matter of Cheromei and the rest of the Bogota race course. Her head bobbed with the effort but she stayed smooth and controlled to the finish in 1:12:29.  “The race was very tough,” she said. “I am happy to be the winner.”

Behind her Rodriguez closed a bit but was still 11 seconds back (1:12:38). Chepchumba (1:14:18) never looked on form and she had to be carried from the finish in a stretcher. “I didn’t train well,” she said. “I didn’t train at altitude.”

More than 45,000 runners in a combined half marathon 10K toured Bogota to finish in Simon Bolivar Park. 

Dave Kuehls for the IAAF

Leading Results –
Men:
1) Isaac Macharia  1:02:49
2) Wilson chebet 1:03:14
3) Patrick Nthlwa  1;04:52
4) Abraham Tadesse  1:05:35
5) William Naranjo  1:05:43
6) Worku Beyi     1:05:55
7) Giovanni Amador  1:06:05

Women:
1) Lydia Cheromei  1:12:29
2) Maria Dulce Rodriguez  1:12:38
3) Pamela Chepchumba   1:14:18
4) Olga Jeranno  1:14:34
5) Catherine Ndereba  1:16:07
6) Yolanda Fernandez  1:16:37
7) Marta Ronceria  1:17:57