James Cheboi from Kenya won the seventh edition of the Brescia Art Marathon in 2:10:24 setting a new PB in his second marathon race of the year having taken the Eldoret Marathon at altitude earlier in 2009.
The 24-year-old Cheboi beat fellow Kenyan Philip Biwott from Kenya who entered the Brescia Marathon as one of the pre-event favourites with his 2:10:27 PB set in the Treviso Marathon in 2007. Third was Ethiopian Ourge Dadi with 2:11:45.
Kenyan Benson Barus, the 1998 World Junior 10,000m champion and now an experienced road runner with a second place in the 2006 Milan Marathon, a fifth place in the 2008 Frankfurt Marathon and a 59:41 half marathon PB set in Udine last year, acted as the pacemaker for the first 30 km launching the race inside the course record set by Matthew Sigei in 2003 with 2:09:17.
Running at a 3:01-3:02 pace thanks to the good work made by Barus, Cheboi and Dadi went through the halfway mark in 1:04:40 in line with the agreed pace in the attempt to break the course record. The leading trio continue to run at a fast pace at 30 km (1:31:36).
But after Barus stopped at 32 km, the pace dropped (34 km in 3:17) and any hopes to set the course record vanished. The race became a battle between Cheboi and Dadi who ran together in the front until the 37 km when Cheboi broke away from Dadi and went on to cross the finish-line in 2:10:24.
It was the first win on European soil for Cheboi who hails from the training camp of Dottor Gabriele Rosa and trains with James Kwambai, who won in Brescia in 2006 and went on to finish second in the Berlin Marathon in 2:05:36 in the World record race where Haile Gebrselassie ran 2:03:59 last year.
“We could have run 2:09 but I am happy with my performance today as I ran my previous marathon in 2:16. I can run 2:08 in my next race”, said Cheboi.
Biwott was disappointed with his second place. “I wanted to set my PB but I ran with a small leg injury”, admitted Biwott.
Italian Eliana Patelli took the women’s race in 2:51:41 beating Ethiopian Bizuhan Kiflegiorgis (2:54:29) and Croatia’s Marija Vajic (2:56:28).
Kenyan Joel Kimurer Kemboi, who won the Kenyan Police Championships in Nairobi in January, took the honours in the men’s 10 km in 29:12, while the women’s 10 km race went to compatriot Pasalia Kipkoech Chepkorir in 32:27. Chepkorir, a World Youth silver medallist in the 3000m in Sherbrooke 2003, recently won the Ribarroja Half Marathon in 1:12:11.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
1 James Cheboi (Kenya) 2:10:24
2 Philip Biwott (Kenya) 2:11:06
3 Dadi Ourge (Ethiopia) 2:11:45
4 Dereje Tesfaje (Ethiopia) 2:17:56
5 Khalid El Guady (Morocco) 2:19:12
6 Debele Tola (Ethiopia) 2:30:06
1 Eliana Patelli (Italy) 2:50:41
2 Bizuhan Kiflegiorgis (Ethiopia) 2:54:29
3 Marija Vajic (Croatia) 2:56:28
Men’s 10 km race:
1 Joel Kimurer Kemboi (Kenya) 29:12
2 Cherkaoui Laalami (Morocco) 29:29
3 Jamel Chatbi (Morocco) 29:55
Women’s 10 km race:
1 Pasalia Kipkoech (Kenya) 32:27
2 Asmae Ghizlane (Morocco) 33:20
3 Nadia Ejafini (Bahrain) 33:40