Carpi, ItalyNicolas Kurgat from Kenya won the 24th edition of the Maratona d’Italia Memorial Enzo Ferrari from Maranello to Carpi on Sunday (9) setting a new course record of 2:08:36 in his first ever marathon race.
His compatriot Betram Keter Kimutai, the younger brother of three-time London Marathon winner Martin Lel, also smashed his lifetime best crossing the finish line in 2:09.27. Gezu Belete Mekonen from Ethiopia set his PB finishing third in 2:10:34.
Deribe Gebissa from Ethiopia took the honours in the women’s race in 2:32:22 missing her PB set in Vienna in 2009. The big surprise was produced by Italian Eliana Patelli, who clocked the eighth fastest time in Italy this year with 2:36:28.
The race, dedicated to the memory of Enzo Ferrari, crossed five towns - Maranello, Formigine, Modena, Soliera and Carpi - on the roads where Italian runner Dorando Pietri began his legendary career.
Held in sunny and ideal weather conditions for Marathon running, the men’s race featured seven men in the lead in the early stages. The leading group was formed by two Kenyan pacemakers, Simon Cheptot and Daniel Gatheru Nderitu, and Belete Gezu Mekonen, Nickson Kurgat, Betram Kimutai Keter, David Cherono and Moroccan Abdelkabir Saji. They went through the 5 km in 15:24, 10 km mark in 30:37 and 15 km in 46:04 inside a sub-2:10 pace. At halfway the leading pack passed in 1:05:10 but the pace increased in the second half.
Five men remained in the leading group at 30 km which was reached in 1:32.19. Cherono Gezu Mekonen, Keter and Kurgat pushed the pace dropping Abdelkabir Saji, At 35 km Kurgat injected three fast splits (2:56, 2:58 and 2:57) and broke away from Gezu Mekonen and Keter carving out a gap of 15 seconds. In the second half Kurgat, a training partner of 2:04:27 runner James Kwamay under the guidance of Italian coach Claudio Berardelli, ran a negative split clocking 1:03:26 in the second half which proved to be decisive.
Kurgat romped home in 2:08:36, the fifth fastest time ever recorded on Italian soil. He hails from Eldoret and started running in 2008. The following year he ran the Discovery Kenya Half Marathon in Eldoret in 1:04:44. This year he improved his Half Marathon PB clocking 1:01:43 at the Rome-Ostia Half Marathon.
“At 35 km I pushed the pace. It was an unforgettable day because I ran my first marathon here,” said a delighted Kurgat.
Women’s race -
Four women formed the leading pack in the early stages - Kenyan Mary Pkitany, Ethiopians Deriba Gebissa Godana and Ayantu Dakebo Hailemariam and Eliana Patelli - who reached the 10 km mark in 36:38, the 15 km in 52:40 and halfway in 1:16:53.
Godana and Hailemariam formed the leading duo at 30 km (1:48:55). At 38 km Godana broke away from Hailemariam who began to struggle. Godana increased her pace building up a gap of 2:22 at 40 km which secured her the win. Hailemariam was caught and overhauled by Patelli with one km to go. The Italian crossed the finish line in second place in 2:36:22 to smash her previous 2:38:58 PB. Patelli comes from a sporting family. Her father was a good cyclist and her uncle was an Italian Mountain Running champion. She played volleyball before starting her running career in 2008.
Leading results from the Maratona d’Italia in Carpi:
1. Nicolas Kurgat (Kenya) 2:08:36
2. Betram Keter (Kenya) 2:09:27
3. Gezu Belete Mekonen (Ethiopia) 2:10:34
4. David Cherono Toniok (Kenya) 2:13:24
1. Gebissa Deribe Godana (Ethiopia) 2:32:22
2. Eliana Patelli (Italy) 2:36:18
3. Venera Sarmosova (Russia) 2:36:50
Soi takes third consecutive Giro al Sas victory
Reigning Olympic 5000m bronze medallist Edwin Soi from Kenya took his third win in a row at the 65th Giro al Sas on Saturday (8), a traditional 10 km race in Trento organised by Italian manager Gianni Demadonna. Soi romped home in 29:16 beating European 10,000m bronze medallist Daniele Meucci from Italy who crossed the finish line five seconds behind in 29:21. Third was young Ethiopian Haftu Fikadu in 29:22 ahead of Qatar’s former World bronze meddallist James Kwalia (29:24) and Rwandan Sylvain Rukundo (29:25). Nine-time European Cross Country champion Sergiy Lebid from Ukraine did not finish the race due to a leg problem.
The Italian runner, who finished tenth in the 5000m at the World Championships in Daegu, celebrated a great week in which he completed his engineering studies by getting the degree at the University of Pisa.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF