29 October 2012 – Venice, Italy - Philemon Kisang beat rain, cold temperatures, a strong wind and high water to take the honours in 2:17:00 at the 27th edition of the Venice Marathon on Sunday (28).
Awful weather conditions badly affected the final times at this IAAF Silver Label Road Race with Kisang clocking 2:17:00. Titus Masai, who has clocked 59:51 over the Half Marathon distance, finished runner-up in 2:18:21 ahead of Elija Karanja (2:19:41) and Italian Domenico Ricatti (2:19:43).
Ethiopia claimed a podium sweep in the women’s race. Emebt Etea Bedada, fifth in the individual race and gold medallist in the team race at the recent IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Kavarna, Bulgaria, won unchallenged in 2:38:48 ahead of Hassen Halima Beriso (2:48:31) and last year’s third placer Eticha Fantu Jimma (2:50:48).
The race set off from the suburban town of Stra at a slow pace because of the wind, which blew very strongly, and the heavy rain. Pacemakers Vasyl Matvichuk and Simon Cheprot led a large group ahead of a ten-man group who reached the 5 km in 16:37, 10 km in 32:38 and 15 km in 48:33. The leading group featured Kenyans Karanja, Kisang, Robert Nwida, Patrick Korir, Masai, Stephen Kipkoech Kibiwott (PB 2:07:54 set in Prague 2009) and Ethiopians Habtamu Fikadu Awash and last year’s Venice Marathon winner Tadese Tolesa Aredo from Ethiopia along with Italian former 1500m runner Domenico Ricatti.
The same leading group reached the halfway mark in 1:08:18 and the 25 km in 1:21:09. The race continued at a very slow pace and there were no significant changes until the 30 km when the top runners reached the San Giuliano’s Park.
The battle really heated up at the 30 km mark (1:36:47) when Kisang, Awash, Masai, Karanja and Patrick Korir broke away. Aredo Tadese was dropped by 43 seconds at this point.
Kisang, who has clocked 1:00:55 in the Half Marathon, produced the decisive surge at 35 km breaking away from Masai, Awash and Karanja on the Bridge of Freedoom where the race reaches its decisive stage and the battle for victory is decided.
Kisang carved out a gap of 11 seconds (1:52:27 to 1:52:38 for Awash, Masai and Karanja) and increased it to 47 seconds at 40 km (2:09:02). The final 13 bridges and the worsening weather conditions took their toll on the final time as he took 7:58 to run the final two kilometres before crossing the finish line in 2:17:00, the second slowest time in the history of the Venice Marathon.
“I expected to win in Venice, as I prepared well to run this race,” said Kisang.
Masai, who aimed for 2:07 on the eve of the race in his debut over the distance, praised the efforts of the organizers who managed to deal with the difficult conditions. “My goal was to win but the road was slippery because of the rain. The most challenging section of the race was the final part with the bridges but people along the course cheered us. Next year I want to return to run a fast time”, said Masai.
Three women (Bedada, Beriso and Jimma) went to the front reaching the 10 km mark in 35:58. Jimma and Bedada dropped Beriso by 15 km (53:18 to 54:23). Bedada and Jimma increased their gap to 2:54 at halfway (1:14:48).
At 30 km Bedada dropped Jimma by 21 seconds and increased her gap to three minutes at 35 km over the Bridge of Freedom to secure a easy win. Jimma continued to struggle and in the final two kilomtres was overtaken by Beriso who crossed the finish-line ten minutes behind the winner. Jimma finished third in 2:50:48 repeating her third place from last year.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
Leading results from the Venice Marathon:
1 Philemon Kisang (Kenya) 2:17:00
2 Titus Masai (Kenya) 2:18:21
3 Elija Karanja (Kenya) 2:19:41
4 Domenico Ricatti (Italy) 2:19:43
1 Emebi Etea Bedada (Ethiopia) 2:38:11
2 Halima Hassen Beriso (Ethiopia) 2:48:12
3 Eticha Fantu Jimaa (Ethiopia) 2:50:48