In 27:46, Ethiopian Atsedu Tsegay broke the 10km course record during the 21th edition of the Corrida de Langueux - an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race - on Saturday (25) night, while Kenyan Miriam Wangari won her 3rd consecutive victory in 32:31.
Ethiopians Tigabu Gebremariam, Atsedu Tsegay and Gebretsadik Abraha seemed to have carefully planned their tactics for the 10km in Langeux. The course was made of a small lap and two big laps. Indeed, the intense rhythm they imposed from the start and during the first lap had the effect to shake the pack of runners and put in trouble the Moroccans El Hassan El Abbassi, Abdelhadi El Mouaziz and Abderrahim El Asri.
Gebremariam, virtually unknown with only a 29:30 race to his credit last November, led the offensive, before Tsegay, injected a surprising acceleration with 3km to go. Entering the straight portion of the village’s road, the 19-year-old misjudged his effort, believing it was the end of the race. However, this brutal effort didn’t seem to damage the Ethiopian’s form as he maintained his lead through the last lap. He even had the resource to produce a final sprint for what was the actual last portion of the race. His time, 27:46, cut 10sec off the previous circuit record of Abdellah Falil set in 2007.
It was also a new personal best for Tsegay, who had a previous 27:30 best over an uncertified distance race in Rabat in 2010, the year he placed 6th over 5000m during the World Junior Championships. His 27:46 ranks him as the 9th World’s best performer of 2011.
The margin Tsegay had over his opponents underlined the level of the performance he achieved in Langueux, under warm heat conditions. Burundese Abraham Niyonkuru crossed the finish line 39 seconds later, in 28:25, just 1sec off his three years old personak best. Gebremariam, third in 28:31, now has a serious personal best over the distance and will be one to watch in the coming road races.
Favourite Eliud Kiptanui, a 2:05:39 performer at Marathon, didn’t take part. He did a speed training workout before Langueux and slightly injured his leg and in the meantime, learned that he was selected by the Kenyan federation for the Marathon World Championships, and so returned to Kenya.
Afera Godfay, a 19-year-old just as Tsegay, was keen to give Ethiopia a double sweep in Brittany. Credited with 31:45 in Addis Abeba and a 48:12 at 15km in Bouskara this year, she stayed in the stride of two-times Langueux winner Miriam Wangari.
The Kenyan had a perfect knowledge of the course and needed a third victory to match the record of Nancy Omwenga (2001-2003). Obviously irritated to be in the unofficial role of the pacemaker, Wangari nevertheless imposed speed changes to try and rid herself of Godfay in a race which turned out to be tactical.
Eventually, when Wangari made a final effort in the last 300m it was enough to take the win from her Ethiopian challenger. Wangari crossed in 32:31, the 32-year-old still having opened up a sudden gap over the fading Ethiopian, who was second in 32:54. Moroccan Meryiem Lamachi was third in 33:28, while Russian favourite Yelena Zadorozhnaya, not as easy as she usually on the track, placed fourth in 33:34.
P-J Vazel for the IAAF
1. Atsedu Tsegay (ETH) 27:46 (CR)
2. Abraham Niyonkuru (ETH) 28:25
3. Tigabu Gebremariam (ETH) 28:31
4. El Hassan El Abbassi (MAR) 28:36
5. Paul MENNY (KEN) 28:39
6. Abdelhadi El Asri (MAR) 28:48
7. Gebretsadik Abraha (ETH) 29:04
8. Abdellatif Meftah (MAR) 29:08
9. Ruben IIndongo (FRA)
10. Driss El Himer (FRA) 29:27
1. Miriam Wangari (KEN) 32:31
2. Afera Godfay (ETH) 32:54
3. Meryiem Lamachi (MAR) 33:28
4. Yelena Zadorozhnaya (RUS) 33:34
5. Francine Niyonizigiye (BUR) 34:01
6. Helen Jepkurgat (KEN) 34:08
7. Ilona Barvanova (UKR) 34:10
8. Sandra Levenez (FRA) 34:20
9. Martha Komu (KEN) 34:34
10. Khalifa Bousmina (FRA) 35:09