Breaking from the field in the 35th kilometre, Kenyan Samuel Njoroge won the tenth edition the Ljubljana Marathon, clocking 2:15:47 on the streets of the Slovenian capital.
“The first half went well,” said the 29-year-old, originally from Eldoret but now based primarily in Sienna, Italy. “But it was very windy, and when I tried to push the pace in the second half, it became very difficult.” It was a big improvement for Njoroge, whose previous best was 2:17:02 set in Treviso earlier this year.
London-based Australian Phillip Sly, a pace-setter, confirmed the winner’s remarks. “Yes, it was very windy out there. On the flat and downhill part of the course we had a headwind, and on the hilly parts, we were protected from the wind.”
Joshua Kipchumba, another Italian-based Kenyan, was a distant second, clocking 2:17:49, with Joseph Rutto, also from Kenya, third in 2:18:26. Defending champion Joachim Nshimirimana of Burundi, who set the event’s last year (2:13:31), faded badly in the second half, and finished a distant eighth (2:24:15).
The race also served as the Slovenian national championship. National record holder Roman Kejzar, who clocked 2:11:50 in Torino in 2000, was an easy winner, clocking 2:22:08, sixth overall.
21-year-old Daneja Grandovec, the Slovenian national record holder in the 3000m Steeplechase, won the women’s race in her marathon debut, clocking 2:50:42. Running the race primarily as a test of her late-season fitness, Grandovec was an easy winner, finishing well ahead of runner-up Lidija Rajcic (2:55:07) of Croatia.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF