Stanley Biwott winning the 2016 Mattoni Olomouc Half-Marathon (Mattoni Olomouc Half-Marathon organisers) © Copyright
Report Olomouc, Czech Republic

Biwott and Keitany beat stifling conditions to take Olomouc Half Marathon titles

Running in sizzling and humid conditions, Kenyans Stanley Biwott and Mary Keitany cruised to dominant victories at the seventh Mattoni Olomouc Half-Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Saturday (25).

Biwott clocked 1:00:46 and Keitany 1:08:53, impressive performances given the 32 degree C start time temperatures.

"The course was good, the problem was the heat," said Biwott, who'll represent Kenya in the marathon at the Olympics in Rio in August. "After 5k, I went ahead and made a pace with Richard (Mengich) that I knew I could hold until the finish."

That he did, breaking from his compatriot after eight kilometres to win by more than four minutes. Mengich held on to finish second in 1:05:16 with Geoffrey Kipyego third clocking 1:06:03.

The stifling conditions proved to be a good test of fitness for Biwott pior to his final pre-Rio training. Opening with a 14:09 opening 5k and still managing to threaten the one-hour barrier until the waning stages left Biwott confident.

"I trust my training," said Biwott, who clocked a career best 2:03:51 at the Virgin London Marathon in April and cruised to victory at the TCS New York Marathon last November.

It was a strong test for Keitany as well, who as a reserve on the Kenyan Olympic marathon squad, was hoping to impress team selectors.

“It was a tough race, it was very difficult to run the pace the whole time, especially since I had to do it by myself," said Keitany, who won back-to-back New York Marathon titles in 2014 and 2015 and London Marathon titles in 2011 and 2012.

Alone after 10 kilometres, the 34-year-old finished eighth overall, more than three minutes ahead of Edith Chelimo who clocked 1:12:14. Further back, Joyce Chepkirui clocked 1:12:39 to round out a Kenyan podium sweep.

Organisers and Bob Ramsak for the IAAF