Italy's Migidio Bourifa and Laura Giordano beat both their rivals and heavy rains to take the honours in the 6th Treviso Marathon on Sunday (30). They also won the Italian national championships over the distance.
Despite the weather conditions, 32-year-old Giordano, who ran just his third Marathon as she has been mostly a duathlon and triathlon specialist, set a personal best by exactly two minutes with a time of 2:35:36. Bourifa, who turned 40 on 31 January, made his move at the 39km and closed in 2:14:14.
Men's race - An affair for two
The men's race was soon an affair for just two, Bourifa and Italy's Mostafa Errebbah. Kenya's Peter Lomuria, last year's runner-up in Treviso and the only foreign top runner in the race, suffered from the cold temperatures and the wind and faded behind after just 10km. Said Boudalia, a Morocco-born runner who has lived in Italy for many years, had been dropped at 19km.
Bourifa and Errebbah crossed the halfway with a time of 1:06:06, but the second part of the race was too tactical for good times. Between 33km and 38km Errebbah tried a lot of strong actions in order to drop his rival, but Bourifa resisted every time. The pace was very irregular and every km was run between 3:15 and 3:20, until Bourifa attacked in the 39km, which he covered in 3:05.
Errebbah was not able to follow such a fast change of pace and in the last 3km in the city center of Treviso the gap grew larger and larger. Bourifa closed in 2:14:14, 1:17 ahead of Errebbah. 100km reigning world champion Giorgio Calcaterra finished third.
"This is my second Italian marathon title and I am very happy as I'm 40," Bourifa said. His first title was in Rome two years ago. "I was a little scared about a sprint in the final, so I decided to try some km before and I got it."
Despite his age, Bourifa was first in the Italian marathon performance lists in both 2007 (2:10:30) and in 2008 (2:12:52), even if his PB 2:09:07 came from 2001. "I'm going to close my career this year," he added. "My last dream is to run in New York, I think that a marathon runner can't miss that race in his life."
"Without rain today I would have run much faster, actually around 2:12," said Errebbah, also born in Morocco and living in Italy for many years, who has a 2:12:21 PB set in Verona in 2003.
Women's race - A solo 10km run for Giordano
Giordano's race was a little easier than Bourifa's one. The pre-race favourite Ornella Ferrara, the World bronze medallist in 1995 in Gothenburg, had been dropped before the midway point. At that point Giordano and Josephine Wangoi, a Kenyan-born who has lived since 1995 in Italy, passed in 1:17:42. Giordano made her move at 32km and Wangoi could not follow. She won the race after being runner-up in 2008, when she closed in 2:37:36.
"It was hard to run with the rain, but I was very confident about my training," Giordano said. "Some days ago my coach and husband Fabio Pizzagalli told me I could run such a time. He was right."
Wangoi broke her PB as well, as she closed in 2:37:21. Her previous PB was a 2:38:33 last year in Carpi. "I used to work in a factory until some months ago, but now I decided to focus just on running and my two children," Wangoi said.
Ferrara closed very fatigued in 3rd place with 2:42:38. "When I saw the rain earlier this morning I realized that it would be a not easy race for me. Unfortunately I was right."
Alberto Zorzi for the IAAF
Select results -
1. Migidio Bourifa, ITA, 2:14:14
2. Mostafa Errebbah, ITA, 2:15:31
3. Giorgio Calcaterra, ITA, 2:20:56
1. Laura Giordano, ITA, 2:35:36
2. Josephine Wangoi, ITA, 2:37:21
3. Ornella Ferrara, ITA, 2:42:38