The 2013-2016 IAAF Strategic Plan has six Core Values: universality, leadership, unity, excellence, integrity and solidarity, and a Vision Statement: “To lead, govern and develop the sport of athletics in all its forms worldwide, uniting the Athletics Family in a spirit of excellence, integrity and solidarity.”
Kenyan Dickson Kiptolo Chumba and Ethiopian Firehiwot Dado triumphed at the 17th edition of the Acea Rome Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Sunday (20).
Chumba clocked 2:08:45 beating Ethiopians Siraj Gena, last year’s winner (2:09:21) and Abdulahi Dawit Shami (2:09:42) while Dado scored an historic hat-trick becoming the first ever woman to win in Rome for three editions in a row.
Dado followed the example of last year’s men’s race winner Siraj Gena by running the final 200 metres barefooted to commemorate her legendary compatriot Abebe Bikila, Olympic champion in Rome 1960. Although Dado ran the final metres without shoes she crossed the finish-line in an impressive PB of 2:24:13, more than two minutes ahead of her compatriot Goitetom Haftu Tesema who lowered her PB by more than two minutes from 2:28:24 to 2:26:21. Haile Kebebush Lema, second last year in 2:25:31, completed the Ethiopian sweep in third place with 2:27:39.
Men’s race -
The men’s race set off from the world-wide famous Fori Imperiali at a fast pace according to what had been agreed on the eve of the Marathon (15:06 at 5Km and 30:20 at 10Km at a average of 3:02 per km).
Pacemakers Festus Langat, Joseph Ngeny Kiprotich and Joseph Lomala Kimosop kept running at a fast and steady pace in the first 21 kilometres (halfway split in 1:04:10) with two kilometre splits run in 2:58 and 2:55 but a strong headwind slowed the pace in the second half. After pacers accomplished their task, the 30Km mark was reached in 1:31:58.
After 30 kilometres three men remained in contention: Chumba, Gena and Shami. The race reached its decisive stage at 32 kilometres when Chumba broke away from Gena
Chumba increased his pace to eight seconds and sealed the win thanks to an impressive 30:11 in the final 10 kilometres (at an average of 2:57 per kilometre). Gena overtook Dawit in the 40th kilometre to take second place one year after his famous win in the 50th anniversary of the Abebe Bikila race when he set his PB of 2:08:39.
“I felt very well this morning and I knew that I could win,” said Chumba, who began running professionally in 2010 and entered the Rome race with a PB of 2:09:20 set last year at the Maratona d’Italia in Carpi. “I worked as a gardener before I starting running in 2008 under the guidance of Italian coach Claudio Berardelli in Kapsabet.”
Women’s race -
The women’s race was an all-Ethiopian affair. Eight runners led by Dado dominated the proceedings for most of the race. The only athlete who was able to keep the Ethiopian pace in the early part of the race was Italian Rosaria Console who ran a good race despite a minor problem in her tibia which affected her final five days of training for Rome.
The race set off at a relatively slow pace (52:16 for the Ethiopian leaders with Console 21 seconds behind in 52:37 at 15Km). The Ethiopian leading group passed the halfway mark in 1:13:24. They increased the rythm keeping a 2:26 pace with Console running her own race two minutes behind. Dado continued to force the pace after the 30 km and the only compatriot who managed to keep her pace was Haftu Tesema.
Dado broke away from Tesema at 33 kilometres with a decisive change of pace (33 km split in 3:10) and took the win in her new PB of 2:24:13 thanks to a negative split in the second half in 1:10:49. Besides her three wins in Rome, Dado also won the Florence Marathon last November on a cold and rainy day.
The Ethiopian confirmed her role as the “Queen of Rome” on a great morning for Ethiopia which placed five runners in the first six places.
“Last year I did not have the time to take off my shoes because I had to face the opposition of my compatriot Haile Kebebush who was just a few metres behind and my focus was to win the race,” said Dado. “
This year I had a comfortable gap over Tesema and had the time to take off my shoes in the memory of Abebe Bikila. I wanted to commemorate Bikila in a city I love and where I would like to return in the future. I thank the crowd for the support along the course. Rome is a source of inspiration.” So much so, in fact, that Dado is studying the Italian language at the Italian Institute of Culture in Addis Ababa.
Console was the first European behind four Ethiopians finishing fifth 2:29:15 in her first Marathon since last summer’s European Championships in Barcelona.
“Without the problem I had this week I could have set my PB but I am happy with my race,” Console said. “At 36-K the pain flared up again and the final kilometres were painful.”
No less than 14,000 runners started the race, while about 85,000 runners took the streets to take part in the 4Km Fun Run.