Madrid, SpainKenya’s Thomson Cherogony stamped his authority at the 33rd ‘Maratón Popular de Madrid’ held today in the Spanish capital to set a new course record of 2:11:27 in the process.
This event is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race which attracted more than 10,000 runners from no fewer than 49 countries.
The women’s competition witnessed the victory of Ethiopia’s Desta Girma Tadesse in a modest 2:34:39 time while Miguel Ángel Gamonal became the Spanish champion with a 2:17:27 clocking on his debut over the distance.
2nd Spanish victory in six months for Cherogony
The race opened not particularly fast led by the first pacesetter Spain’s Manuel Penas. By the tenth kilometre point a large group of Africans ruled the event for a 31:07 split. The rhythm was then supported by the other two rabbits in the guise of Kenyans John Kirui and Clement Koech who cruised the halfway point in a 1:05:21.
Eritrea’s Adhanom Abraha tried to break away from the leading group at the 25th kilometre but he was easily followed by the Kenyan trio of Cherogony, Dickson Chumba and Jonathan Kipkosgei, the latter already a Madrid winner back in 2007. With some seven kilometres to go Cherogony and Kipkosgei (1:48:11 the 35km split) injected a brisker pace leaving Chumba behind but the closing three kilometre uphill section proved to be too tough for Kipkosgei and he faltered to be overtaken by Chumba while the 31-year-old Cherogony ran those final 3000m in solitude to break by three seconds the course record of 2:11:30 set by his fellow Kenyan John Ngolepus in 2006.
Cherogony, who holds a relatively modest 2:10:45 career best declared, “I felt great throughout the race but the heat over the last kilometres (24º by the finish) made the final effort really difficult. The ups and down of the circuit have also hampered my final time but I’m sure I’m capable of running 2:07 on a flat course. Anyway, this is my second win in Spain over the last six months as I already won the Bilbao Marathon last October, so I have to be satisfied.”
Girma Tadesse and Letay secure Ethiopian double - women's race
There was a surprise outcome in the women’s section as the pre-race favourite Magadaline Chemjor of Kenya faded dramatically over the last 10 kilometres to finish well behind the victor, Ethiopia’s Girma Tadesse, already the winner at last February’s Seville Marathon, also on Spanish soil.
The split for the halfway point was a moderate 1:15:30 with the Kenyan pair of Lydia Njeri Mathati and Chemjor making most of the pace ahead of Tadesse and Dais Letay of Ethiopia while Poland’s Justyna Bak was the only non-African at the helm of the race.
To everyone’s surprise Chemjor began to lose ground gradually to leave the head of the course to the Ethiopian pair. It was Girma Tadesse who proved to be the strongest with two kilometres left as she romped home unopposed in 2:34:39 and a 19-second advantage over her fellow countryman while Bak managed a place in the podium some three minutes adrift the winner.
Unpressed, Gebrselassie succeeds comfortably over 10Km
In the 10Km race which opened the day Ethiopia’s Haile Gebrselassie had no real challenge as he just jogged to a 28:56 win ahead of Francisco España, who was timed at 30:28.
Asked on his plans for the next few years, ‘the Emperor’ said: “My next big target is the 2012 London Olympics so this 2010 and the following year 2011 should be quiet for me. I still feel capable of breaking my own World Record of 2:03:59 and running in 2:03:20 or so but it’s also true that there are several athletes capable of doing it, too.”
Gebrselassie turned 37 last Sunday (18 April) although he was asked, “What’s your real age, over 40?” Gebrselassie joked, “It’s true, I’m not 37, I’m 27. But seriously speaking, it doesn’t matter how old I am, age is just a number.”
Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF
Leading Results -??Men: ?1. Thomson Cherogony (Kenya) 2:11:27 (Course record)?2. Dickson Chumba (Kenya) 2:11:54?3. Jonathan Kipkosgei (Kenya) 2:13:06?4. David Toniok (Kenya) 2:14:45?5. Miguel Ángel Gamonal (Spain) 2:17:27 (Spanish champion)
6. Rachid Nadij (Spain) 2:18:01
7. Pablo López (Spain) 2:18:43
8. Yousef Aakou (Spain) 2:19:44
9. Asier Cuevas (Spain) 2:20:30
10. Kahsay Kidane (Eritrea) 2:21:23?
Women:?1. Desta Girma Tadesse (Ethiopia) 2:34:39?2. Dais Letay (Ethiopia) 2:34:58?3. Justyna Bak (Poland) 2:37:52
4. Lydia Njeri Mathati (Kenya) 2:38:55
5. Tioist Kilte (Ethiopia) 2:43:31
6. Ana Casares (Spain) 2:47:50
7. Magdaline Chemjor (Kenya) 2:50:38
8. Esther Hidalgo (Spain) 2:51:52
9. Leonor Pérez (Spain) 2:57:31
10. Marta Figueredo (Cuba) 3:04:40