Cassis, France – Kenyans swept the podiums at the 34th edition of Marseille Cassis, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, on Sunday (28). Battling tremendous winds, Edwin Kipyego and Mercy Kibarus produced impressive solo runs to win the 20km race in 58:16 and 1:07:58, respectively.
A group of 11 runners led by Puis Kirop soon took control of the race before the ascension of the Gineste. The cool temperature (6°C) and the extraordinary strong wind (up to 130 km/h) made it even more difficult. Kipyego, as if ignoring the abysmal conditions, kept the pace hard in the uphill. When the group was reduced to seven, Kipyego injected a sudden acceleration after some 20 minutes, opening a ten-metre margin. The recent winner in New Dehli’s Half-Marathon with a 1:00:55 personal best, and in the Rennes’ 10km (27:50), the Kenyan outsider was a credible contender for the victory.
He reached the half-way of the race at the top of the Gineste in about 30:30 and accelerated as he entered in the slope. The rest of the field would never see again Kipyego’s red shirt. The winner, 22, covered the second 10km portion of the race in under 28 minutes and arrived in Cassis’ port. His final time, 58:16, established the first record of the newly designed course of Marseille-Cassis.
The women’s race was a solo run by Mercy Kibarus. It was a surprise to see the Kenyan in front as she had not showed up in the European circuit since 2009. Third last month in Eldoret’s Half Marathon in 1:12:07, she broke her personal best set in 2008 by 32sec. In the col de la Gineste, she managed to open a decisive gap and passed the half-way in about 35 minutes. Just like her male counterpart Kipyego, she was unrivalled in the downhill segment. Her final time was an impressive 1:07:58. Her teammates Cynthia Jerotich and Gladys Kispoi, in spite of a strong finish, never managed to catch the leader and finish second and third, respectively.
Pierre-Jean Vazel for the IAAF
1. Edwin Kipyego, KEN 58:16
2. Philemon Yator, KEN 58:43
3. Pius Kirop, KEN 58:59
4. Cyprian Kotut, KEN 59:05
5. Bernard Kitur, KEN 59:15
6. Ezechiel Nizigiymana, BDI 59:17
7. Reuben Limaa, KEN 59:21
8. Dawit Wolde, ETH 59:32
9. Edwin Kiptoo, KEN 1:00:21
10. Ezekiel Chebii, KEN 1:01:52
1. Mercy Kibarus, KEN 1:07:58
2. Cynthia Jerotich, KEN 1:08:14
3. Gladys Kipsoi, KEN 1:08:37
4. Lema Merga, ETH 1:09:06
5. Farida Chelanga, KEN 1:09:57
6. Alexandra Louison, FRA 1:13:56
7. Natalya Volgina, RUS 1:14:41
8. Alizée Barrier, FRA 1:20:29
9. Rakiya Quetier-Maraoui, FRA 1:20:4110. Melissa Frick, USA 1:21:14