2:09:15 for Jafred Chirchir Kipchumba at the Milano City Marathon (Giancarlo Colombo) © Copyright
General News 11 April 2010 – Milan, Italy

Surprise victories for Kipchumba and Mengistu in Milan

Milan, ItalyJafred Chirchir Kipchumba produced a major surprise by winning the 10th edition of the Milano City Marathon with a new PB of 2:09:15. Ethiopian Egigayeuh Asnakesh Mengistu, who entered the Milano Marathon with a PB of 2:33:32 set in 2009, smashed her career best by eight minutes to become the second woman from her country after Magarse Askale Tafa to take the win in Milan.

Kipchumba lowered his previous lifetime best of 2:10.42 while taking his first major win in the fourth Marathon of his career. The 27-year-old Kenyan beat former 10,000m World champion Charles Kamathi from Kenya who finished in 2:11:24 after suffering from cramps which slowed him at 30 km.

In the women’s race, Mengistu crossed the finish-line in 2:25:50, beating Anne Cheptanui Berewe who also dipped under her previous best by four minutes from 2:32:03 set in Carpi 2009 to 2:28:22.

Men’s race -

Kenyan pacemakers Solomon Bushendich and Barnabas Kiplagat Kosgei kept the pace at 10 km ahead of a 10-man group which included Sentayehu Merga Ejigu from Ethiopia, and Kenyans Kamathi and Kipchumba. They went through five kilometres in 15:03 and kilometre 10 in 30:33. The strong headwind affected the pace which was not so fast as expected - the halfway mark was reached in 1:04:33, much slower than the 1:03:45 pace agreed on the eve of the race. Kipchumba ran close to the pacemakers in third place at 21 km followed by Merga, Robert Cheboror, Abebe Negewo Degefa, Kebede Balcha, William Rotich, and Kamathi. Elijah Sang was the only man who lost ground and followed one minute behind in 1:05:25.

Five men still remained in contention with the two pacemakers Kiplagat and Bushendich at 30 km mark which was passed in 1:31:59. They were Chirchir, Degefa, Kamathi, Balcha, and Rotich. Cheboror was dropped at 30 km and followed eight seconds behind.

Kipchumba launched his first attack after 30 km when the pacers dropped out. The only runner able to follow Kipchumba was Kamathi who managed to close the gap but then he began feeling cramps and could not respond to a second attack produced by Kipchumba who broke away at 37 km. Kipchumba carved out a gap of 120 metres on Kamathi and continued to increase in the final two km.

It was the eighth Kenyan win in the ten-year history of Milan. Teferi Kebede Balcha finished third in 2:11:35.

“I did not expect to win, it was my fourth marathon race,” said a very shy Kipchumba, who hails from the Kejio district and who has been training for seven years. “The wind did not affect my race.”

“If it had not been windy, we could have run 2:08,” said Kamathi. “When I suffered from cramps I realized that I could not win. I decided to run in Milan after dropping out of the Tokyo Marathon in February where I suffered from some chest problems during a very cold day.”

Women’s race -

The women’s race set off too fast. The Ethiopian pair of Yeshimebet Tadesse Bifa (PB 2:27:45 from Dubai 2010) and Askakesh Egigayeuh Mengistu started at a suicidal pace going through the 21Km in 1:11:52, inside a possible attack to the course record set by Kenyan Margaret Okayo who clocked 2:24:59 in 2002. At 29Km Mengistu remained alone, as her compatriot faded dramatically and was overtaken by Kenyan Anne Berewe Cheptanui who chose a more conservative tactic going through at halfway in 1:15:15. She ran own race and this tactic paid off in the second half where she ran a negative split in 1:13:07 and managed to catch second place. Bifa finished a distant third in 2:36:04. The first Italian was Marcella Mancini who finished fourth in 2:37:43.

Mengistu, who started as underdog with a modest 2:33:32 PB set in Tempe in 2009, continued to push hard in the the final 12 km. Her effort which led her to a impressive improvement of her PB by eight minutes to 2:25:50, took its toll as she finished the race very tired.

“I expected to win as I knew that I trained very well,” said Mengistu. “In better weather conditions I could have run under 2:25. It was cold and I had problems with the water stations.”

Cheptanui was happy with her second place. “I was not able to follow the pace of the two Ethiopian girls. If I had followed them at 1:11 pace in the first half, I would have struggled to finish the race. For this reason I decided to keep a 1:15 pace.”

The race set off at 9:20 from the Rho-Pero Area in the Northern part of Milan, the area where the EXPO Universal Exibition will be hosted in 2015. The temperature of 13°C was ideal for marathon running but the strong wind took its toll. The new course from Rho Pero to Castello Sforzesco in the heart of Milano, which has maintained the trademark of Milan as a fast and flat course, was designed by the organisers to reduce the impact of the Marathon on traffic. The course ran along the most important monuments of Milan such as the Napoleonic Arena Civica and the Duomo Cathedral before reaching the Piazza Castello where the finish-line was situated.

The race attracted no less than 7213 participating runners who took part in the three events of this year’s edition: the Marathon, the Half-Marathon and the Marathon Relay, which was the major change of 2010 together with the date change from fall to spring. The decision taken by the organisers to stage their race in spring proved to be a good initiative, as it contributed to make it a more popular race for Milan. Especially the new Relay Marathon which attracted 475 teams. Former athletics stars like Gelindo Bordin, Alberto Cova, Stefano Mei and Francesco Panetta took part in the Relay.

Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF

Leading Results -
1. Jafred Chirchir Kipchumba (Ken)     2:09:15
2. Charles Kamathi Waweru (Ken)        2:11:24
3. Teferi Kebede Balcha (Eth)          2:11:35
4. Abebe Negewo Degefa (Eth)           2:13’04
5. Robert Cheboror (Ken)               2:13:46
6. Sentayehu Ejigu Merga (Eth)         2:15:38
7. Elijah Sang Kipruto (Ken)           2:16:03
8. William Todoo Rotich (Ken)          2:17:28
9. Abdelkebir Lamachi (Mar)            2:19:53
10. Ahmed Ezzobayry (Fra)              2:19:53

1. Asnakech Egigayeuh Mengistu (Eth)    2:25:50
2. Anne Berewe Cheptanui  (Ken)         2:28:22
3. Yeshimebet Tadesse Bifa (Eth)        2:36:04
4. Marcella Mancini  (Ita)              2:37’43
5. Jinxue Chang (Chn)                   2:42:47
6. Daneja Grandovec (Slo)               2:46:28
7. Sanna Kullberg  (Fin)                2:48:09
8. Giuseppina Chiolo  (Ita)             2:49:59
9. Beatriz Molina (Spa)                 2:50:50
10. Ilaria Zaccagni (Ita)               2:53:04