The young Kenyan Martin Lel, and the women's World & Olympic 10,000m champion Derartu Tulu of Ethiopia, were respectively the winners of the men’s and women’s contests at the 13th Lisbon Half Marathon yesterday (16 March). With over 35,000 participants the competition once again, brought athletics to the heart of the Portuguese capital.
Both races were quite fast even though the course records (59:06) of Paul Tergat, and (65:44) of Susan Chepkemei were not beaten, as Lel won in 60:10 and Tulu 69:20.
The men's race resulted in seven athletes finishing in under 61:00: Martin Lel, Hendrick Ramaala (last year's winner), Robert Cheruyot (2002 Milan marathon champion), Nicholas Kemboi, Christopher Cheboiboch, Rogers Rop (2002 New York and Boston marathon winner) and Paul Tergat.
Only in the final metres did Lel and the South African Ramaala begin a very sharp sprint to the finish with the decisive advantage eventually being taken by the Kenyan.
Paul Tergat, who established the course record in the 2000 edition of the race, ended up in a disappointing 7th position in 60:51.
Lel, confirmed, "it was my first time at the Lisbon Half Marathon and it was a great experience to open with a victory and a personal best, especially competing against such strong opponents. Next, I will run the full marathon in Boston. Once there I intend to do my best. Lisbon, with very nice course and weather, was great to preparation for Boston."
Derartu Tulu was the winner of the women’s race, after she, Leah Malot and Joyce Chepchumba easily broke away from the rest of the field who found it impossible to live with this trio's attack, even though runners of the class of Esther Kiplagat and Tegla Loroupe were among the defeated opposition.
Tulu said, “It was very good. I had no problem during the race, which confirmed my good shape for the London Marathon, where I intend to run again this year."
35,000 running across the Tagus river
The Lisbon Half Marathon was started in 1990 with a field of 3000 runners. Thirteen years later, the organising committee looks after the needs of 35,000 participants. The race has it’s starting point on the ‘25 de Abril’ bridge which connects Almada and Lisbon, with the course crossing the bridge providing one of the most beautiful moments of the event.
Paulo Costa for IAAF
1 Martin Lel KEN 60:10
2 Hendrick Ramaala RSA 60:14
3 Robert Cheruyot KEN 60:25
4 Nicholas Kemboi KEN 60:31
5 Christopher Cheboiboch KEN 60:33
6 Rogers Rop KEN 60:50
7 Paul Tergat KEN 60:51
8 Rachid Ziar ALG 61:35
9 Paulo Gomes POR 61:38
10 Ben Kimutai KEN 61.52
1 Derartu Tulu ETH 69:20
2 Leah Malot KEN 69:47
3 Joyce Chepchumba KEN 69:53
4 Esther Kiplagat KEN 71:00
5 Margaret Atodonyang KEN 71:13
6 Tegla Loroupe KEN 71:34
7 Annemete Jensen DEN 72:23
8 Fátima Cabral POR 72:23
9 Adélia Elias POR 72:39
10 Fátima Silva POR 73:06