The Mattoni Half Maraton Olomouc saw a record-breaking performance in the women’s section of the IAAF Silver Label Road Race on a warm Saturday evening (22) in the region of Moravia, Czech Republic.
Held in partly cloudy weather with temperatures around 22°C, Ethiopia’s Betelhem Moges grabbed victory at the fourth edition of the race in a personal best and course record time of 1:10:38, two seconds faster than the previous mark set in 2011 by Netsanet Achamo.
The pace was set by pre-race favourite Yebrqual Melese, who was followed by Moges and Jane Kiptoo for much of the race and passed 15km in 50:03. The winner was decided only in the last kilometre, when Moges opened up a five-second gap over Melese, who crossed the line in second in 1:10:43. Kiptoo held on for third in 1:11:19.
“My real target was to improve my personal best; the course record was just a big bonus for me,” said 22-year-old Moges, who is based in Japan. “I really hoped for a personal best, so I am very glad I managed to improve.”
The key moment came in the 20th kilometre. “I started to run faster but the others were still chasing me. So I really pushed it to the end and maybe had more power to keep it till the finish line.”
In the men’s race, the first to cross the finish line at the historical Horni Square was Henry Kiplagat of Kenya, who finished 20 seconds ahead of compatriot John Kiprotich in 1:03:00. Morocco’s Mustapha El Aziz was third in 1:03:36.
El Aziz led at 10km (29:17) with Kiplagat and Ethiopia’s Mule Wasihun just a second behind. Kiplagat then took up the pace and went through 15km in 44:07, leading by 11 seconds. The 31-year-old then ran solo to the finish, fulfilling his target of running between 1:02 and 1:03.
“At 10km I realized I had enough strength to win the race,” said Kiplagat. “I saw that the others started to look tired, so I used my energy and pushed it faster. According to the weather condition and the track, I expected such time. I am glad for this result.”
Forty-year-old Petra Kaminkova was the fastest Czech woman, running 1:19:00, her fastest time on the Olomouc course. “It was really a wonderful race today. The fans were really supporting us and the weather was also nice. It was an amazing experience,” stated the local hero.
Winners earned €2500 in prize money, while Moges took a bonus €1000 for the course record.
Zuzana Trojakova for the IAAF