Kenyans Stephen Ogari and Nancy Kimaiyo fulfilled their role as race favourites at the 37th edition of 20 kilometres de Paris, an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race, on Sunday (11).
Although the cool and sunny conditions were perfect for running fast, both races were slower than the past three editions.
Kimaiyo led a Kenyan 1-2-3 in the women’s race and was a comfortable winner over her compatriot Lucy Njeri Macharia.
This autumn, Kimaiyo has twice lowered twice her half-marathon PB, clocking 1:11:48 in Montbeliard in September and 1:10:54 in Nancy earlier this month. Her run in Paris was her third victory in a row, and it represented the 10th win in succession for Kenyan women at the 20 Kilometres de Paris.
As soon as the gun went off, Kimaiyo separated herself from the rest of the field. The gap continued to grow over the next kilometres and no one could challenge her domination.
She finally won with ease in 1:06:03, little more than a minute outside the course record set last year by Rose Chelimo, who didn’t defend her title.
Macharia finished second in 1:07:39 with Nancy Arusei coming through for third in 1:09:16.
Ogari gains revenge
Although he was not initially slated to compete, Ethiopia’s Muhajir Hiredin returned to the French capital in a bid to defend his crown from last year.
From the start, a large group distanced itself from the rest of the field. The pace was not particularly fast and it soon became clear that Evans Cheruiyot’s course record of 57:19 from 2005 was safe.
Ogari, who finished second last year, then pushed the pace several times and the lead pack broke up. With about five kilometres to go, only Hiredin was able to handle Ogari’s pace. Getacher Tedla Jemaneh, who finished third over 16km two weeks ago at La Classique Paris-Versailles, then managed to return to the front, putting himself in contention for victory.
But Ogari was the strongest of the trio and he sprinted hard to take his first victory. He crossed the finish line in 59:11, just one second ahead of Hiredin, the man who beat him last year, and two seconds ahead of Jemaneh.
It may have been his first race of 2015, but 23-year-old Ogari is familiar with the course. Before finishing second last year in a PB of 58:29, he placed fifth two years ago in 58:51.
It was just the third time in the past 10 editions of the race that the men’s winning time was slower than 59 minutes.
A record 25,362 runners crossed the finish line at Quai Branly at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
Quentin Guillon for the IAAF
1 Stephen Ogari (KEN) 59:11
2 Muhajir Hiredin (ETH) 59:12
3 Getacher Tedla Jemaneh (ETH) 59:13
1 Nancy Chepngetich Kimaiyo (KEN) 1:06:03
2 Lucy Njeri Macharia (KEN) 1:07:39
3 Nancy Arusei (KEN) 1:09:16