Ennaji El Idrissi, a Moroccan runner who has been living in the Italian city of Genova, since 1998, produced a major upset by winning the 25th anniversary edition of the Turin Marathon in an impressive 2:08:13 PB on Sunday.
The race featured a good depth of results with four men under 2:09 and another runner under the 2:10 barrier. William Chebor also smashed his PB to 2:08:21 beating Ethiopian Bacha Megersa (2:08:55) and Kenyan Peter Kurui (2:08:56). Kenyan Antony Wairuri finished a distant fifth in 2:09:48.
The Turin Marathon Gran Premio La Stampa is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race.
Ukraine’s Yuliya Ruban, who clocked 2:27:00 in Boston last April, came very close to her PB by winning 2:27:10 in the women’s race. Rasa Drazdauskaite from Lithuania finished runner-up in 2:29:47 ahead of former Rome Marathon winner Silvia Skvortsova from Russia (2:30:09).
Men’s race -
The race set off from the Cenral Castle Square in the heart of Turin in cool but ideal sunny conditions for running. Pacemakers Vasyl Matvichuk from Ukraine and Kenyan David Tarus set a fast pace going through the 10 km in 30:30 and the 15 km in 45:50, leading a ten-man group which featured 2:06:53 runner David Mandago, Peter Kurui, William Chebor, Robert Ndiwa and Antony Wairuri, and El Idrissi. They reached the halfway mark in 1:04:58 with a gap of 1:12 over the chasing group of Italian runners led by twice national champion Migidio Bourifa who carved out a 50-second gap over Giovanni Gualdi, Francesco Bona and Denis Curzi who fought for the Italian Marathon title.
After Matvichuk dropped out at 21 km mark which was reached in 1:04:58. Tarus took charge to set the pace until the 25 km ahead of Mandago, Kirui, Wairuri, El Idrissi and Megersa.
El Idrissi, Chebor and Megersa pushed hard breaking away from the rest of the field at 36 km. El Idrissi, who won the Casablanca Marathon on 23rd October in 2:12:55 in a test for the Turin Marathon, threw down the gauntlet at 40 km with a devastating kick which left Chebor and Megersa behind.
Twenty-five year-old El Idrissi romped home in 2:08:13, the second fastest time ever run in Turin. The Moroccan, who was spotted by Italian coach Sergio Lo Presti, moved to Italy 13 years ago and revealed his talent in cross country and on the track. He clocked 13:06.81 in the 5000m in Heusden Zolder in 2008 and took part in the Olympic Games in Beijing.
“I decided to focus on Marathon running following in the footsteps of Khalid Khannouchi because I was inspired by his story. I fell in love with Marathon when I watched Stefano Baldini winning the Olympic Marathon in Athens in 2004. I will forward my request to become Italian citizen because I am dreaming to win an international medal for Italy. I trained at altitude with Jouad Gharib (twice World champion in 2003 and 2005). I ran the Casablanca Marathon three weeks ago but I started there just to run a test for Turin. I knew I was in good form as I trained very well and this gave me confidence for today. I clocked a 2:48 split between 40 km and 41 km and there I realized that I could win, ” said El Idrissi.
Giovanni Gualdi overtook his training partner and coach Migidio Bourifa at 38 km to clinch the Italian Marathon title in 2:14:01 which earned him the seventh overall time.
Women’s race -
The women’s race was a one-woman show. Yuliya Ruban ran alone in the front from the 5 km mark when she pulled away from the rest of the field. Ruban went through the 5 km in 34:45 carving out a solid gap over former European Marathon silver medallist Olivera Jevtic from Serbia who passed this mark in 35:21.
Ruban continued to push the pace and reached 10 km in 34:45, 15 km in 52:09 and 21 km in 1:13:39. Jevtic led the chasing group in a distant 1:15:16. At 30 km the Ukrainian runner had a gap of 1:30 over Russian Silvia Skvortsova and her win was never under threat. In the final kilometres Rasa Drazdauskaite caught up Skvortsova and took second place.
Ruban narrowly missed her PB but took an unchallenged win in 2:27:10 beating Drazdauskaite by 2:37.
“I am happy with the race but I think that I can run faster than today and dip under 2:27. The weather was perfect for running. Fortunately there was no rain as last year but I ran alone for most of the race and I had no rivals who could challenge me,” Ruban said.
Martina Celi finished eighth in 2:36:11 ahead of former World bronze medallist Ornella Ferrara and won the Italian Marathon title.
More than 3000 runners toed the starting line from the Castle Square in Turin.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
1. Ennaji El Idrissi (Morocco) 2:08:13
2. William Chebor (Kenya) 2:08:21
3. Bacha Megersa (Ethiopia) 2:08:55
4. Peter Kurui (Kenya) 2:08:56
5. Antony Wairuri (Kenya) 2:09:48
6. Robert Ndiwa (Kenya) 2:11:02
7. Hermano Ferreira (Portugal) 2:13:28
8. Giovanni Gualdi (Italy) 2:14:01
9. David Mandago (Kenya) 2:14:37
10. Yassine Kabouri (Morocco) 2:15:12
1. Yuliya Ruban (Ukraine) 2:27:10
2. Rasa Drazdauskaite (Lithuania) 2:29:47
3. Silvia Skvortsova (Russia) 2:30:09
4. Shitaye Gemechu (Ethiopia) 2:30:55
5. Olivera Jevtic (Serbia) 2:32:09
6. Yesnaneh Arabel (Ethiopia) 2:34:36
7. Rose Jepchumba (Kenya) 2:35:32
8 Martina Celi (Italy) 2:36:11
9. Ornella Ferrara (Italy) 2:36:52
10. Martina Facciani (Italy) 2:37:15