Leading runners in the Madrid Marathon at 35km, Ezekiel Kiptoo Chebii on the far right (Mareas) © Copyright
Report Madrid, Spain

Kiptoo Chebii successfully defends Madrid Marathon title

Ezekiel Kiptoo Chebii successfully defended his Rock ’n’ Roll Madrid Marathon title, but rain and chilly conditions kept the winning time at the IAAF Silver Label Road Race down to 2:12:00, on Sunday (26).

Twelve months ago, Kiptoo Chebii reduced the course record on the undulating circuit to 2:09:15 but he probably knew that was always going to be a tough mark to beat once he woke up and looked out on the gloomy conditions enveloping the Spanish capital.

The temperature for much of the race hovered around 10 degrees Celsius.

Nevertheless, Kiptoo Chebii became only the second man to win back-to-back titles since the race was inaugurated in 1978, although the circuit has changed across the 38 editions.

Uganda's 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships junior men’s silver medallist Thomas Ayeko performed as a pace maker, leading a large pack of 12 through the opening 10km in 31:16.

The Ugandan still headed the pack, now down to seven, at halfway in 1:05:26 but he dropped out of the race shortly after 25km and it was the eventual winner Kiptoo who pushed the pace for much of the next 10 kilometres.

Five men – Kiptoo Chebii, Stanley Kipchirchir Koech, Pharis Kimani and Nixon Kipkoech with Ethiopia’s Wosen Feleke Demise the sole non-Kenyan. were still together at 35km which was reached in 1:49:30.

However, Kiptoo Chebii always looked the strongest man on the day and shortly afterwards moved up a gear and broke away.

Kipckoech and then Kimani quickly lost contact; Demise hung on in the wake of Kiptoo Chebii until 39km and Kipchirchir Koech didn’t throw in the towel until two kilometres from home but the 2013 Sao Paulo Marathon winner had to for second place in 2:12:30.

Pharis Kimani overtook Demise in the closing stages and made it an all-Kenyan men’s podium when he came home third in 2:12:57.

“I’m very grateful to the Madrid crowd as they cheered on me throughout. Unfortunately, the bad weather didn’t help me too much and my time was not like last year’s but I hope to return next season to manage a hat trick of victories in Madrid,” said Kiptoo Chebii, looking ahead to taking a tilt at a unique feat in 2016.

“I’m very grateful to the Madrid crowd as they cheered on me throughout. Unfortunately, the bad weather didn’t help me too much and my time was not like last year’s but I hope to return next season to manage a hat trick of victories in Madrid,” said Kiptoo Chebii, looking ahead to taking a tilt at a unique feat in 2016.

He also noted that the road was very slippery in places, especially on the downhill sections.

Monica Jepkoech, who showed her current from with a fine win in the Azpeitia-Azkoitia Half Marathon in 1:10:30 last month, made it a Kenyan double in Madrid with a win in the women’s race in 2:33:42.

Jepkoech was able to sprint away Spain-based Ethiopian Marta Tigabea in the 500 metres, the latter coming home three seconds in arrears.

“Marta (Tigabea) was a very tough rival; honestly, when she changed the pace some 1000m left I thought I wouldn’t be able to win but luckily I bounced back and could do it,” said Jepkoech.

Six women went through the halfway mark in 1:16:57 as the race turned into a Kenya v Ethiopia contest with Kenyan-Ethiopian clash with Jepkoech, Rose Jepchumba and Selly Korir representing the former and up against the Ethiopian triumvirate of Tigabea, Meseret Legese and Abebech Bekele but the group at the front was reduced to the three women who were to occupy the podium by 32km.

Legese finished third in 2:34:32, losing contact with the leading pair just after 37km.

The Kenyan pair of Silas Muturi and Emmanuel Bett looked on course for a fast time in the associated half marathon until the official car guiding the leaders took the wrong route and the pair ran an additional 600 metres, Muturi eventually winning in 1:03:32 and coming home 12 seconds in front of Bett.

Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF

;