Sylvia Kibet just edged out her Kenyan compatriot Paskalia Kipkoech after a thrilling duel over the final kilometre to win the 2013 Carrera de la Mujer in Bogota, Colombia, on Sunday (29).
Both women were given the same time of 42:11 over the 12km course of the IAAF Gold Label Road Race, with the event being held at an energy-draining 2625m of altitude; the Colombian capital being higher than even Nairobi or Addis Ababa.
The Peruvian pair of Gladys Tejeda, the winner of the Mexico City Marathon in 2:37:34 just five weeks ago, and Judith Toribio caused a mild surprise beating a number of better-known runners and coming home third and fourth in 42:26 and 43:07 respectively.
The race started at a moderate pace with just 3:25 for the first kilometre on a slightly cloudy day but a leading group soon started to establish itself.
By 25 minutes of racing around the 4km loop in the Colombian capital’s Parque Simón Bolívar, Tejeda – who had been doing the majority of the work at the front of the leading group – was accompanied by Kibet, Kipkoech and Ethiopia’s Hiwot Ayalew, while Toribio and Mexico’s Madai Perez began to struggle with the pace and drifted off the back and away from the leading quartet.
Tejeda kept trying to increase the pace in a bid to break away and succeeded in dropping Ayalew, the 2013 IAAF World Cross Country Championships silver medallist eventually finishing a disappointing fifth having been a late arrival in Bogota and perhaps jet-lagged from her long trip.
However, the two Kenyans couldn’t be shaken off and looked comfortable chasing Tejeda until about halfway around the last of the three circuits, when they moved away from the 27-year-old Tejeda with two kilometres to go.
Kibet's kick clinches the 'Carrera'
Aware of Kibet’s track talents, having won two World silver medals over 5000m, Kipkoech pushed hard and entered the final kilometre in front, clearly trying to take the sting out of her compatriot’s sprint, but with 300m to go the latter went into the lead for the first time in the race and it proved to be the decisive attack.
“The level of the race was very high. It was a very difficult victory for me because of the altitude and the quality of the rivals. I hope to be back in 2014 to defend my title,” reflected the 29-year-old Kibet.
Colombia’s Carolina Tabares, the 2013 South American 5000m champion, was the best local runner and finished eighth.
Ethiopia’s Belaynesh Oljira, third at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz and the winner of the bronze medal over 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow last month, was a late withdrawal after being diagnosed with typhoid fever just prior to her departure for Bogota.
More than 17,000 runners participated in a variety of races for all age groups at distances from 2km to 12km.
Part of the revenue generated by the race has been dedicated to supporting women’s health campaigns, such as Liga Colombiana Contra el Cáncer, an organisation that fights cancer among women.
Eduardo Biscayart for the IAAF