Dongio, SwitzerlandEdwin Soi and Prisca Jepleting Ngetich, both from Kenya, took the honours in dramatic fashion at the Grand Prix Giro Media Blenio (17 April) in Dongio, Switzerland.
In the men's race, a near photo finish
Soi and Moses Mosop ran a dramatic neck-and-neck 10 km race until the final lap. Both Soi and Mosop crossed the finish-line with identical 28:27 times, but victory went to Soi by the narrowest of margins. Paul Kimugul, who won the Stramilano Half Marathon and the Golden Shoe road race in Vigevano earlier this month, completed the Kenyan sweep finishing a distant third.
Former world half marathon champion Paul Kosgei, who recently ran a sensational 59:07 over 21 km in Berlin climbing to second place in the world all-time list behind Haile Gebrselassie, ended up in seventh place in 29:43.
Soi, eighth in the short course race at the recent IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Fukuoka and winner at the Casablanca road race this year, took the early initiative after the second of eight laps with Mosop, Kimugul and Duncan Kibet in tow. In the third lap Mosop broke away from Soi who managed to resist this early attack. The leading duo built up a solid lead on Kimugul who ran his last race before his pacemaking duties at next Sunday's London Flora Marathon.
The battle for victory between Soi and Mosop heated up in the final lap. At the bell, Mosop threw down the gauntlet with a breakaway attempt. Soi, however, responded. The dramatic battle reached its climax in the final straight where Soi held off Mosop into the finish-line.
"I was sure that I could beat Mosop because I trained very hard in the recent weeks in Kenya,” Soi said. “It was a good test before the track season where I will run the 10,000 metres. I am planning to run a road race in France on 23 April but my big career goal is to run the 2007 World Championships over this distance in Osaka."
Tight battle in the women's race as well
The women's 5 km race developed into a close fight between Kenyans Prisca Jepleting Ngetich, silver medallist in the short course at the Fukuoka's World Cross Country Championships, and Beatrice Jepchumba.
From the beginning of the race the Kenyan pair went to the front, immediately building a solid lead.
Jepleting kept the lead for most of the race until the bell but Jepchumba, sixth placer in the short course in Fukuoka, did not give up.
In the closing stages Jepleting edged Jepchumba by just one second, clocking 15:54. Ayalew Yimer from Ethiopia, fifth in the long course race in Fukuoka, finished third in 15:56.
"I am happy with my recent results especially after the silver medal in Fukuoka,” said Jepleting, who was seventh in the 5000m at the World Championships in Helsinki last year. “After a road race in France on Sunday I will return to Kenya to prepare for the summer season. I want to run 14:37 in the 5000 metres."
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
Leading Results -
Men (10 km):
1. Edwin Soi (Kenya), 28:27
2. Moses Mosop (Kenya), 28:27
3. Paul Kimugul (Kenya), 28:47
4. Ketema Nigusse (Ethiopia), 28:47
5. Duncan Kibet (Kenya) , 28:59
6. Solomon Molla (Ethiopia), 29:26
7. Paul Kosgei (Kenya), 29:43
8. Abraham Tadesse (Eritrea), 30:31
Women (5 km):
1. Prisca Jepleting (Kenya), 15:54
2. Beatrice Jepchumba (Kenya), 15:55
3. Ayalew Ymer (Ethiopia), 15:56
4. Faith Chemutai (Kenya), 15:59
5. Agnes Mutine (Kenya), 16:03
6. Beatrice Rutto (Kenya), 16:23
7. Nadia Ejafini (Bahrain), 16:24
8. Jane Muia (Kenya), 16:45