Great weather usually means good times, and Lisbon which today welcomed 36,000 participants at events in and surrounding the EDP Lisbon Half Marathon, saw Rita Jeptoo cross the finish line in 67:05, the fastest time by a women over the half marathon so far this year. In the men’s race, Robert Kipkorir Kipchumba ran in 60:31.
After three years under the hour, the winner of this year's Lisbon Half Marathon, Robert Kipchumba from Kenya, needed 60:31 to win, after he crossed the “Ponte 25 de Abril”, the most famous bridge in the Portuguese capital.
Kipchumba, who ran the entire race at the front of the leading pack, passed 5 km in 14:02 as part of a group of 12 runners, 20km as one of 8 leading runners in 28:54, and 15km with the front pack down to seven runners in 43:19.
He only took the definitive lead in the last 400 metres, in the final sprint dropping the challenge of his fellow country man Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, who, in the last five years in Lisbon has taken three second places (2005, 2006 and 2007) and two third places (2003 and 2005).
In third place across the finish line was the reigning double World Marathon champion, Jaouad Gharib of Morocco, who was one second ahead of the winner of 2006 New York City Marathon, the Brazilian Marilson dos Santos, who closed out today in fourth place.
In the next seven places arrived seven Kenyans, six of them under one hour and three minutes.
The first Portuguese runner home was Luís Jesus (12th in 1:03.36).
For the winner, “the heat was my severest opponent. I didn’t expect this heat, and the last 10 km I ran well against the strong opponents I faced in this race. Sincerely I didn’t expect to win.”
The surprise and highlight of the day came in the women’s race, with a very good race by Kenyan Rita Jeptoo, who crossed the finish line in 67:05, the fourth best time ever in Lisbon and the world's best time so far of the year.
It was a personal best for Jeptoo by almost two minutes, her previous best being the 69:56 which she ran when winning the 2006 Paris Half Marathon.
The 26-year-old set out a strong pace, and raced alone after the first 10km. Former winners, Susan Chepkemei (best time ever of 65:44 in Lisbon) and Salina Kosgei, couldn’t keep up with Jeptoo’s effort.
The Portuguese runner Ana Dias, arrived in the fourth place with 70:40, near to her personal best (70.28), ahead of the Ethiopian Merima Denboba, and Kenya Sharon Cherop.
For the winner, this was an “expected good competition, with a great finish. I intended to run for the podium and I took the first place. This was great for me and for my preparation to defend my Boston Marathon title. It was a great race for me.”
António Manuel Fernandes for the IAAF
1. Robert Kipchumba (KEN) 60:31
2. Robert K. Cheruiyot (KEN) 60:36
3. Jaouad Gharib (MOR) 60:41
4. Marilson dos Santos (BRA) 60:42
5. Emmanuel Mutai (KEN) 60:49
6. Festus Langat (KEN) 61:01
7. Paul Kosgei (KEN) 61:24
8. Philip Manyim (KEN) 61.28
9. Charles Ngolepus (KEN) 62:34
10. Sammy Tum (KEN) 62:40.
1. Rita Jeptoo (KEN) 67:05
2. Susan Chepkemei (KEN) 68:33
3. Salina Kosgei (KEN) 69:47
4. Ana Dias (POR) 70:40
5. Merima Denboba (ETH) 71:11
6. Sharon Cherop (KEN) 71:24
7. Cláudia Pereira (POR) 73:52
8. Marisa Barros (POR) 73:59
9. Florence Chepkurui (KEN) 74:29
10. Emily Kimuria (KEN) 74:36