Solid run by Tadese Tola in Lisbon half marathon (Marcelino Almeida) © Copyright
General News Lisbon, Portugal

Tola and Keitany romp to Half Marathon victories in Lisbon

Tadese Tola of Ethiopia and Kenyan Mary Keitany cruised to victories at the Vodafone Half Marathon of Portugal on Sunday (26).

Running on a new elite course in warm (21-23 C.) and slightly windy conditions, Tola took the men’s race in 1:01:05 while Keitany clocked 1:08:46 to win by more than a minute at this IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

Men’s race – Tola waits before pouncing

In the flat section, less then one kilometre from the finish, the elite runners started their races with different goals. From the beginning, Kenyans Josphat Menjo, who was eighth in the 10,000m athe 2007 World Championships, and Francis Kiprop, the runner-up at last year’s Berlin Marathon, tried to stay with Ethiopian Tadese Tola, this year’s Paris Marathon winner. They managed until the 19th kilometre. After than Tola upped the pace to run in solitude en route to his 1:01:05 run, the second best performance ever at this race. The best remains the 1:00:20 clocking by Patrick Sang last year, but on a much more difficult course.

This was a special win for Tola, who was second in this year’s Ras Al Khaimah International Half Marathon with a personal best of 59:49, because, he said, “I faced top competitors.”

Menjo finished second, with Kiprop rounding out the podium, both in under 1:02:00. Well back, Tanzanian Dickson Marwa surprised Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai to take fourth in 1:03:14, as Hermano Ferreira made the best Portuguese place finishing sixth ahead of 1500m specialist Rui Silva, in a personal best.

Well back and out of the top-10 was European Marathon champion Viktor Rothlin of Switzlerland who clocked 1:08:53, far from his best shape.

Keitany on a solid pace ahead of New York

On her way to her New York City Marathon debut, Keitany, the first women under 1:20 over 25 km (1:19:53, World record) and the reigning World Half Marathon Champion, illustrated strong form. The prolific half marathon produced a solitary race almost from the first kilometre to win with a 1:08:46.

“I was preparing for my marathon debut in New York,” Keitany said, who faced no significant challenge. Her countrywoman with Alice Timbilili, winner at this year’s Roma Half Marathon, finished second in 1:10:08, well ahead of Agnes Kiprop who clocked 1:10:29.

Almost another minute back, Lydia Cheromei, the 2004 World Half Marathon silver medallist, was fourth, ahead of Chinese Xiaolin Zhu and Italia’s Rosalba Console.

The first Portuguese women was Ana Dulce Felix who finished seventh. Second at last weekend’s Great North Run in 1:09.01. Felix wasn’t scheduled initially to run in this event, but decided to run again ahead of her upcoming Marathon debut, also in New York.

António Manuel Fernandes for the IAAF

Leading Results -
1. Tadese Tola, ETH       1:01.05
2. Josphat Menjo, KEN     1:01.42
3. Francis Kiprop, KEN    1:01.47
4. Dickson Marwa, TAN     1:03.14
5. Emmanuel Mutai, KEN    1:03.18
6. Hermano Ferreira, POR  1:03.48
7. Rui Silva, POR         1:04.42
8. Ricardo Ribas, POR     1:06.50

1. Mary Keytany, KEN     1:08.46
2. Alice Timbilili, KEN  1:10.08
3. Agnes Kiprop, KEN     1:10.29
4. Lydia Cheromei, KEN   1:11.26
5. Xiaolin Zhu, CHN      1:13.24
6. Rosalba Console, ITA  1:13.42
7. Dulce Felix, POR      1:13.49
8. Anália Rosa, POR      1:14.03