Prague, Czech RepublicOn a cool evening in Old Town Prague over 3500 runners lined up for the Tesco Prague Grand Prix organized by the Prague International Marathon (PIM). A separate 3.8 km family run, the Tesco Run For Life attracted over 1850 runners and walkers who raised funds for children’s cancer research.
Along with regional events held throughout the Czech Republic this series raised over 1,000,000 Kc for the Childhood Cancer Foundation Krtek.
There were 1282 women entered in the adidas Women’s Race 5km which began at 7:30 in the evening, and 2260 men started the METRO Men’s Race 10km one hour later. With light winds and a partly cloudy sky the organizers were hoping for a least one new course record. The existing records were 15:27 by Aniko Kalovics of Hungary set last year and 28:05 set by Wilson Kiprotich in the 10 km in 2006.
The men’s field for this IAAF Silver Label event included three men with personal records below 28:00 led by Habtamu Awash of Ethiopia, a twenty one year old, who ran 27:06.47 in Hengelo two years ago. Other strong contenders figured to be Essa Ismail Rashed of Qatar (formerly Daniel Kipkosgei of Kenya) a 27:20.97 runner, and Dickson Marwa Mkami from Tanzania who ran his personal best of 27:38.58 also on the famed track of Hengelo, Netrherlands.
The women’s race figured to be led by Jane Jepkosgei Kiptoo of Kenya whose personal best of 15:03 was some 25 seconds faster than the next fastest women in the field, Ida Nilsson of Sweden, but this is why we have competitions. Kiptoo led from the gun and continued to lead for over one-half of the race, but she couldn’t shake her fellow countrywoman the diminutive Gladys Kerubo Otero.
At three kilometres reached in 9:19 Kiptoo still held a five meter lead over Otero, but just before the four kilometer mark Otero surged past Kiptoo and the taller girl was unable to respond. Gladys finished the certified course in 15:45 some seven seconds ahead of Kiptoo. Lydia Njeri Mathathi also of Kenya, and Lisa Blomme and Ida Nilsson of Sweden in 16:08, 16:23, and 16:36 respectively rounded out the top five. The first Czech finisher was Petra Kaminkova in sixth place in 16:45.
Unlike the women’s race which was exclusively a two runner race from the gun the men’s race began with a group of eight led by Dickson Marwa Mkami and Habtamu Awash. At five kilometres reached in 14:07 Mkami still led a group of six. By the eight kilometer marker in 22:37 Mkami had opened a slight lead on Awash and Stephen Kiprotich of Kenya. Although he slowed to 3:03 for the penultimate kilometre he maintained his lead and finished in 28:24 twelve seconds ahead of Awash and a further two seconds up on Kiprotich. Jake Robertson of New Zealand was the first non-African in sixth place with a 28:48, and Jan Kreisinger was the first Czech finisher in eleventh place with a time of 30:15.