Dongio, SwitzerlandKenyan Edwin Soi won yesterday’s Giro Media Blenio International 10km road race in Dongio for the second consecutive year. This year Soi defended his title by beating last year’s 10,000 metres world season leader Micah Kogo by just 2.2 seconds in a close battle to the finish-line.
Last year Soi revealed his potential as a future middle distance star in this popular Swiss race and went on to run fast times on the track in both 3000 and 5000 metres during the 2006 summer. He set PBs over both distances (7:31.84 in the 3000 metres in Lausanne and 12:52.40 in the 5000 metres in Paris) and finished runner-up in the 3000 metres in the IAAF World Athletics Final in Stuttgart.
The Giro Media Blenio is contested over a loop circuit which is repeated eight times. After a conservative start over a difficult course the race really hot up in the third lap when seven African runners formed a leading group which included all the favourites: six Kenyans Micah Kogo, Edwin Soi, Abraham Chebii, Evans Cheruiyot (third in the Berlin Half-Marathon in 59:48), this year’s Stramilano winner Philemon Kisang and Ethiopian Chengere Tolossa.
Only Tolossa lost the ground on the rest of the group in the following lap, leaving six men led by Soi and Kogo in the head group.
Soi and Kogo continued to lead the six-men group until the penultimate lap. The leading duo threw down the gauntlet after the bell with the race remaining very close until the end when Soi launched his winning kick crossing the finish-line in 28:24.
“This year the race was much harder than in 2006. It was more competitive with many strong Kenyans. Kogo ran a very good race and posed me a strong challenge. For me it was a training competion before starting the preparation for the track season. I will run again in three weeks in the Corrida road race in France”, said Soi.
Kogo, who trains with 2006 European Cross Country champion Mo Farah (GBR), emerged last summer with his impressive 26:35.63 in the fantastic 10,000 metres race at the Memorial Van Damme in Brussels which ranks him sixth in the world all-time list over this distance. This year Kogo ran an impressive 27:07 at the Parelloop 10 km road race at Brunssum in the Netherlands on 1 April and today he showed his good form again in Dongio finishing second in 28:27.
“I felt well during the race. It was very difficult running against such strong competitors. Now I am going back to Kenya to train for my next 10 km road race in Manchester. This summer I want to break my PB in the 10,000 metres on the track”, said Kogo.
Abraham Chebii completed the kenyan sweep in third place in 28:32 ahead of Evans Cheruiyot (28:34) and Philemon Kisang (28:41).
The Dongio Grand Prix race, which is traditionally scheduled on Easter Monday in the Valle di Blenio in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, was organized for the first time in 1985 to celebrate the 1984 Olympic 500m silver medal by swiss star Markus Ryffel in Los Angeles 1984. Another past champion of Swiss athletics Pierre Delèze, who was a 3:31.75 performer in the 1500 metres in 1985, was invited to this year’s race as a special guest.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
Results of the Giro della Media Blenio in Dongio:
1 Edwin Soi (Kenya) 28:24.8
2 Micah Kogo (Kenya) 28:27.0
3 Abraham Chebii (Kenya) 28:32.5
4 Evans Cheruiyot (Kenya) 28:34.6
5 Philemon Kisang (Kenya) 28:41.0
6 Eshetu Mamo (Ethiopia) 28:41.8
7 Tolossa Chengere (Ethiopia) 29:23.1
8 Wilson Businei (Uganda) 29:49.0
9 Barnabas Kosgei (Kenya) 29:49.9
10 Elijah Nyabuti (Kenya) 29:58.9
No women’s race was held this year.