Virginia Beach, USAIn the wake of tropical storm Ernesto, Virginia Beach welcomed favourable weather for race day and it quickly became clear that runners from Kenya would dominate the sixth annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon under clear skies. Kenyan James Kwambai, 23, covered the 13.1-mile course in a time of 1:03:30 and Edna Kiplagat, 26, also from Kenya, won the women’s race in 1:11:08.
Kwambai won a tactical race. The approximate 18-man elite pack covered the first 10k in 31:10, each member refusing to break away.
Through miles seven and eight, the pack began to break up, dropping the pre-race favourite, Ethiopian Dejene Berhanu. It was then that Kwambai began to take control. He turned in a 14-minute 5k through miles nine and 11.
At the turn on to the oceanfront boardwalk, Evans Cheruiyot, 25, of Kenya was in the process of building an attack on first-place Kwambai in the final miles, but his strategy was futile. Kwambai released the kick he had patiently reserved, opened up a commanding lead and crossed finish line alone.
Mild attacks at the pace came shortly after mile five by the Alice Chelangat, 29, of Kenya, who won this year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego, Calif. (June 4, 2006). She ran through mile six in 5:31. Romanian Luminita Talpos, 33, chose to challenge the pace as the pack of 16 women approached mile seven before the first sign of the eventual champion began to emerge.
Through miles seven and 10, Kiplagat increased the pace, turning in the fastest split of the race at mile 10 (5:11). As she turned on to the boardwalk for the final two miles of the race, Kiplagat knew she had secured victory in her debut half marathon against a field that, in her words, contained some dangerous competition.
Elite Racing for the IAAF
Top 10 Men
1, James Kwambai, 23, Kenya, 1:03:30,
2, Evans Cheruiyot, 25, Kenya, 1:03:49,
3, Yusuf Songoka, 26, Kenya, 1:03:52,
4, Charles Kiama, 20, Kenya, 1:03:53,
5, Wilson Chebet, 24, Kenya, 1:04:02
6, David Langat, 32, Kenya, 1:04:04,
7, Haron Toroitich, 28, Kenya, 1:04:15,
8, Tetsuo Nishimura, 23, Japan, 1:04:32,
Top 10 Women
1, Edna Kiplagat, 26, Kenya, 1:11:08,
2, Alice Chelangat, 29, Kenya, 1:11:38
3, Nina Rillstone, 31, New Zealand, 1:11:41
4, Nuta Olaru, 35, Romania, 1:11:50,
5, Lidia Simon, 32, Romania, 1:12:07,
6, Yoko Miyauchi, 24, Japan, 1:12:17,
7, Luminita Talpos, 33, Romania, 1:12:28,
8, Hiroko Miyauchi, 24, Japan, 1:12:29,