Wins for Boaz Kiprono and Joan Kigen made it a Kenyan double triumph at the 2015 Bournemouth Marathon, an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race, on Sunday (4).
Despite the windy conditions on England’s south coast, Boaz Kiprono clipped 41 seconds off the previous course record to win in 2:16:00.
Kiprono trailed compatriot Declerk Omari at the halfway point by 20 seconds but on the seafront section between Boscombe and Bournemouth piers, the race turned around and Kiprono took over at the front.
By the time they leading runners reached 18 miles, Kiprono had a lead of 1:20 and Omari dropped out soon afterwards to leave another Kenyan, Japhet Keoch, in second place, almost three minutes adrift of his compatriot.
In turn, Koech was caught by Latvia’s Valerijs Zolnerovics at the 20-mile mark.
Kiprono faded in the closing miles, but he still had enough in hand to see off Zolnerovics, who was 1:49 adrift at the finish and crossed the line in 2:17:49 while Koech completed the top three in 2:21:19.
“The wind was hard, it was difficult. This is the first time I have ran this marathon. I am very happy, I have won,” said Kiprono, who was a slightly surprising winner.
Ethiopia's 2013 Bournemouth Marathon winner Ebisa Merga, among the pre-race favourites, was a late withdrawal after failing to catch his flight from Addis Ababa. Last year's Edinburgh Marathon winner David Toniok, from Kenya, had an unhappy day and was five minutes adrift of the lead at halfway and faded to fifth place in a very modest 2:34:15, 18:15 behind winner Kiprono.
There was disappointment as well for local hope Steve Way, who dropped out at halfway, still suffering the after-effects of a glute injury he picked up at the IAU 100km Championships last month.
Zolnerovics, 12th in last year’s European Championships, ran a more measured race than the winner but was hampered by his right calf close towards the finish.
“The race was good, but the time was not so good. It was hilly, with lots of turns. The place is okay, but I am looking for a good time. I was hoping for a personal best, but this is far from my aim.
“The last mile I had a problem with my right leg, it was not like running, I was just trying to get to the finish line. The marathon is a difficult discipline. The headwind made it difficult,” said the Latvian.
It was third-time lucky in the women’s race for Kigen, runner-up in Bournemouth in 2013 and 2014.
She had a lead of around 20 metres from last year’s winner Katryna Stetsenko, of Ukraine, at the halfway point but then she stretched her advantage to two minutes by mile 18.
Stetsenko dropped out soon afterwards to give Kigen control of the race.
Kenya’s Purity Kimetto took over in second place after Stetsenko’s departure, but ended the race in some difficulty after being overtaken by British runner Sophie Carter around two kilometres from home.
Kigen won in 2:36:47, well clear of Carter who clocked 2:56:43. Kimetto hung on to finish third in 3:00:53.
“It was windy - more than last year. The course is not bad, but the weather was windy. I am happy to have won,” said Kigen
The 36-year-old Carter admitted: “I found it tough. I thought ‘Just stick in there. If I am finding it tough, so is everyone else. Don’t give up’. I wanted to stick in there and do it for the British ladies.
“Everyone found it tough. I was fourth to start with and then got into second in the last mile and a half,” added Carter.
The marathon itself was part of the Bournemouth Marathon Festival which also included 5km, 10km, half marathon and junior races across the weekend.
Chris Broadbent for IAAF