Milan, ItalyKenyan Paul Kimaiyo Kimugul won the Stramilano Half Marathon in 1:01:03 in his comeback race after three years hampered by a serious knee injury. Barnabas Kosgei Kiplagat, who started as a pacemaker, decided to run to the end finishing in second in 1:01:25 beating Nicholas Kamakya by ten seconds. Ethiopian Aberu Kebede held off Kenyan favourite Peninah Arusei by four seconds setting the new Stramilano women’s course record clocking 1:08:43. Aniko Kalovics, who was looking for her fourth win in the Stramilano and held the previous course record of 1:08:58, finished a distant third in 1:12:23.
Men’s race -
The Stramilano Half Marathon set off in Piazza Castello at 10:45 on a warm spring morning and finished in the Napoleonic Arena Civica Stadium, the old temple of athletics in Milan. The leading five-man pack who was formed by pacemaker Barnabas Kosgei (2005 World Junior Cross Country bronze medallist and more recently third at the Paris Half Marathon in 1:02:25), Samuel Shauri Kwanang from Tanzania (PB 1:01:33), Gilbert Kiptoo Chepkwony (third at the 25 km race in Berlin), Kimugul and Nicholas Kamakya (PB 1:00:12) set a fast pace in the first 10 km (5 km split in 14:13 and 10 km in 28:33). They ran at a sub-60 minutes pace until the 15 km mark which they passed in 43:19. At this point the designated pacemaker Kosgei decided to continue until the end. “My task was to pace until the 15th kilometre but I felt well and I decided to try to break my PB,” Kosgei said.
A strong headwind started blowing in the final kilometres hindering a possible attack on the 60 minute barrier. Until 15 km the front group were running at a 59:50 pace.
Kimugul broke away from the rest of the field at that point and his attack proved to be decisive. “I have not run seriously for three years because I picked a serious knee injury,” said Kimugul.
Daniele Meucci, European Under 23 bronze medallist in the 10,000m in 2007 and twice 3000m Italian indoor champion, was the first Italian in fifth place in 1:02:56 ahead of Marathon specialist Ruggero Pertile, who was sixth in 1:03:03. Meucci used the Stramilano in preparation for the track season where his goal is to run 27:40-27:50 in the 10,000m.
Women’s race -
The women’s race developed into a battle between Kebede and Arusei (fifth at the 2008 IAAF World Half Maathon Championships in Rio de Janeiro and winner at both the Half-Marathon and 25 km in Berlin). Kalovics, who picked a minor injury in March, was not in top form and followed two minutes behind the African duo.
Arusei and Kebede went through 5 km in 15:40, 10 km in 31:40 and 15 km in 48:32 but then they started feeling the strong head wind.
Kebede pulled away in the final km after they went through the 20 km mark in 65:10. Both Kebede and Arusei dipped under the previous Stramilano Half Marathon course record.
“I set my PB. I felt in good shape and the course was very good,” said Kebede, 22. “My next goal is to run the Ethiopian Championships on the track.”
Arusei was happy with her race although she was beaten by the final kick launched by Aberu. “The Ethiopian was stronger when she launched her kick but I ran a good race. Despite the defeat I am happy with the final time.”
Kalovics could not repeat the performance of 2007 when she set her Hungarian record (1:08:58).
“I ran a bad race,” said a disappointed Kalovics. “I got a minor injury during the Lago Maggiore Half Marathon. I soon felt tired. I was planning to run as a pacemaker at the London Marathon but the pace I set today is not enough.”
Former Tokyo Marathon winner Bruna Genovese, who trained at altitude in New Mexico, finished fourth in 1:12:44 in her final test before the Turin Marathon on 19 April.
The nice spring day was also highlighted by the popular 10 km mass race which attracted about 50,000 amateurs who set off at 9 o’clock from the worldwide famous Piazza del Duomo and crossed the finish-line in the Arena Civica Gianni Brera.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
Leading Results -
1. Paul Kimayo Kimugul (Kenya) 1:01:03
2. Barnabas Kiplagat Kosgei (Kenya) 1:01:25
3. Nicholas Kamakya (Kenya) 1:01:35
4. Samuel Kwaangw Shauri (Tanzania) 1:01:48
5. Daniele Meucci (Italy) 1:02:56
6. Ruggero Pertile (Italy) 1:03:03
7. Gilbert Kiptoo Chepkwony (Kenya) 1:03:14
8. Vasil Matviychuk (Ucraine) 1:04:29
9. Giovanni Ruggiero (Italy) 1:04:58
10. Giovanni Gualdi (Italy) 1:05:13
1. Kebede Shewaye Aberu (Ethiopia) 1:08:43
2. Peninah Arusei Jerop (Kenya) 1:08:47
3. Aniko Kalovics (Hungary) 1:12:33
4. Bruna Genovese (Italy) 1:12:44
5. Vincenza Sicari (Italy) 1:13:31
6. Deborah Toniolo (Italy) 1:14:10
7. Melissa Peretti (Italy) 1:14:48
8. Gegia Gualtieri (Italy) 1:15:05
9. Hafida Gadi Richard (France) 1:15:52
10. Martina Celi (Italy) 1:19:09