Silas Sang defends his half marathon title in Lisbon (Marcelino Almeida) © Copyright
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Sang defends, Kirop surprises at Portugal Half Marathon

Lisbon, PortugalA fantastic battle between two Kenyans, defending champion Silas Sang and the 2009 World Marathon silver medallist Emmanuel Mutai, produced a course record in Lisbon. Helena Kirop, a late entry, took the women’s race ahead of a pair of Portuguese runners at the Vodafone Portugal Half Marathon.

The 10th edition of the Portugal Half Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

About 15,000 people crossed the Tagus river bridge (Vasco da Gama Bridge) in a mass race, which provided a strong winner, Silas Sang, who retained his Lisbon title. The 31-year-old produced a personal best of 1:00:20 to take the victory ahead of his fellow countryman Mutai, the winner here in 2007, who clocked 1:00:44, also personal best.

Both where together from 15 km, when Uganda’s Nicholas Kiprono (1:00:25 PB) fell behind them to finish third in 1:01:01.

Until then, only Uganda’s Dickson Marwa (1:01:18 at the finish line) tried to run with the leaders, something that Kenyan Joel Kimurer managed only for the first 12 kilometres.

Behind them, the “European” title went to Portuguese Rui Pedro Silva who crossed the finish line six seconds ahead of Spain’s Jose Manuel Martinez (1:02:36 PB).

Three other Portuguese runners placed in the op-ten: Luís Feiteira, José Ramos and Manuel Damião.

In the women race, three athletes ran together until the half-way point - Kenyans Florence Chepsoi, Magdaline Chemjor and Helena Kirop. The surprising Kirop, who was third this year at the Dubai Marathon, imposed her strong pace to cross the line in 1:10:26. Her finishing strength took the kick out of her countrywomen’s legs, with two Portuguese taking advantage. Finishing second with a PB 1:10:44 was Dulce Félix, who was13th in the 10,000m at this year’s World championships. Third went to Marisa Barros, the sixth place finisher this year in the World championship Marathon, who clocked 1:11:07.

Two more Portuguese runners cracked the top-10. Russian Olga Glok, 2007 Istanbul Marathon winner (69:58), was only a distant ninth (1:17.45).

Tsegay Kebede of Ethiopia, the men’s World Marathon bronze medallist, and his compatriot Wude Ayalew, the women’s 10,000m bronze medallist in Berlin, were unable to race. Kebede withdrew due to a health problem and Ayalew because she was unable to get a visa.

António Manuel Fernandes for the IAAF

Leading Results:

Men -
 1. Silas Sang (KEN) 1:00.20
 2. Emmanuel Mutai (KEN) 1:00.39
 3. Nicholas Kiprono (UGA) 1:01.01
 4. Dickson Marwa (TAN) 1:01.18
 5. Joel Kimurer (KEN) 1:03.28
 6. Rui Pedro Silva (POR) 1:03.33
 7. Chema Martinez (ESP) 1:03.39
 8. Luís Feiteira (POR) 1:03.43
 9. José Ramos (POR) 1:04.06
10. Manuel Damião (POR) 1:04.18

Women -
 1. Helena Kirop (KEN) 1:10.26
 2. Dulce Félix (POR) 1:10.44
 3. Marisa Barros (POR) 1:11.07
 4. Magdaline Chemjor (KEN) 1:11.55
 5. Florence Chepsoi (KEN) 1:13.20
 6. Leonor Carneiro (POR) 1:14.26
 7. Berkinesh Shiferaw (ETH) 1:14.48
 8. Mónica Rosa (POR) 1:16.00
 9. Olga Glok (RUS) 1:17.45
10. Elisabete Lopes (POR) 1:21:08