Robert Chemosin clocked a world-leading 59:37 to win the 41st Rome-Ostia Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Sunday (1).
In sunny conditions, the Kenyan edged out his compatriot Simon Cheprot, who was second in 59:39, while Uganda’s Geoffrey Kusuru was third in 59:43, with another four athletes running faster than 61 minutes.
For the third consecutive year, the top three all dipped under the one-hour barrier
A leading group of nine East African runners – Peter Kwemoi, William Kibor, Eric Leon Ndiema, Cornelius Kangogo, John Kiprotich, Leonard Kipkoech, Kusuro, Cheprot and Chemosin – went through 5km in 14:03 and then 10km in 28:05.
Chemosin, Cheprot, Kusuro and Kiprotich then started to put daylight between themselves and the rest of the field before going through 15km in 42:11, with a gap of 11 seconds over Kipkoech and Ndiema.
In the final three kilometres, firstly Kiprotich and then Kusuro drifted off the back, unable to sustain the relentless pace dictated by Chemosin, who then out-sprinted Cheprot for the victory.
Chemosin’s winning time was the second fastest of his career after his second place in the same race two years ago, when he finished as the runner-up to Wilson Kiprop in 59:19.
“Finally I managed to win this race," said Chemosin. "It’s my third time in Rome. In the past two editions, I made some tactical mistakes, although I was in good shape. This year, I did better to win the race."
“We started running at a very fast pace between five and the 10 kilometres. In the second half of the race, I felt the warm weather. I decided to break away at 18 kilometres because I felt that it was the key moment when I had to launch my attack.
Following the leading trio home, Kipkoech was fourth in 1:00:06, Kiprotich fifth in 1:00:13, Ndiema sixth in 1:00:45 and Kibor seventh in 1:00:55.
Ethiopia’s Amane Beriso took the women’s race in 1:08:43 with Kenya’s Emily Chemutai Ngetich second in 1:09:13, both women running huge personal bests.
Kenya's Sharon Cherop finished third but was given the same time as Chemutai Ngetich.
Beriso, Hirut Alemayehu, Alemayehu Askale from Ethiopia and Kenya’s Peninah Arusei went through 5km in the women’s race in 15:32 with a gap of 25 seconds over the Kenyan trio of Sylvia Kibet, Cherop and Chemutai Ngetich.
Beriso and Alemayehu then passed 10km in 32:06 with a one-second advantage over Askale Alemayehu and Arusei while Kibet and Cherop were 19 seconds further back.
In the seond half of the race, Beriso and Arusei went clear and went through 15km in 48:35, a checkpoint reached by Alemayehu in 48:52 and then Chemutai Ngetich in 49:02.
Arusei then started to wilt in the final few kilometres and, after losing contact with Beriso, saw both Chemutai Ngetich and Cherop go past her.
“I set my goal to run a great race in a big international event," said Beriso. "The weather conditions were perfect and I felt very well from the start. I knew that my rivals had achieved great results in the past. For this reason I chose to control the pace in the middle of the group before launching my attack."
Arusei eventually finished fourth in 1:09:20 with Kibet fifth in 1:09:32. About 13,500 runners took part in the race.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF