The 11th edition of the Monaco Marathon, held this morning Sunday 30 March on a spring sunny day was highlighted by Kenya’s 27-year-old Geoffrey Mutai’s 2:12:40 victory and the mass participation of athletes from no fewer than 40 countries.
Special guest HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, who is also the President of the Monegasque Athletics Federation, held the starter’s gun for some 1200 runners who lined up along the Boulevard Albert I, the same location where McLarens and Ferraris will race in just over two months in the Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Since its introduction back in 1997, the Monaco Marathon is unique in the world with its course, slightly modified this year, crossing the borders of France and Italy before returning to the Principality and its finish line in the Louis II stadium.
The natural selection between elite and mass runners was quickly visible with James Bett Kipkemboi, the designated pace maker for the first part of the race being timed in 1:06:07 at half way. Kipkemboi, who failed to finish last year’s Athens Marathon after he ran into a slow moving tramway in the last kilometre, led a small pack of ten with Dominic Ruto taking the leaders through 30km in 1:34:20.
With the course approaching the hilly Roquebrune at kilometre 31, Henry Tarus, Stanley Kiprotich Rono, Joel Kiplino Kemboi, Jacob Kitur and Mutai were left alone at the front of the race. Of the five Kenyans, it was marathon debutante Kiprotich Rono who dropped back first. Tarus soon lost touch too leaving his three compatriots to battle it out for the top three finishing spots.
Mutai decided to toughen the tempo going through the 39th kilometre, his move proving victorious as he wouldn’t be caught. He crossed the line in 2:12:40 ahead of Kitur who out-sprinted Kiplino Kemboi for second with all top three finishers improving their personal best.
The top Italian runner was Pietro Colnaghi (13th in 2:34:24) with Thierry Alfano being the fastest Frenchman in fifteenth (2:41:16).
Russian sweep in women’s race
In the women’s event, Elena Kozhevnikova led a Russian sweep of the medals as she took the lead from the gun and never gave it up. She won in 2:41.21, ahead of Elena Tikhonova and Jeanna Malkova who clocked 2:48:10 and 2:50:37 respectively.
In addition to the traditional Marathon, the fifth edition of the 10km race was also held with some 1300 runners taking part. Top finishers were Zouhair Ouerdi (31:52), Boualem Tigre (32:38) and Mohamed Alahyan (33.08).
Italian Michela Beltrando took the women’s race in 40:47 ahead of Yvanna Garreau (40.57) and IAAF staff member Jasmina Glad (41:03).
Monaco Marathon Organisers for the IAAF