Running in his marathon debut, Kenya's Amos Kipruto cruised to victory at the 2016 ACEA Rome Marathon, clocking 2:08:12 at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race on Sunday (10).
Kipruto broke from a seven-man pack after 35 kilometres to finish more than a minute ahead of Ethiopia's Birhanu Addissie Achamie, who reached the line in 2:09:27 to repeat his runner-up finish from 2015. Kenya's Dominic Ruto was third, one second further back.
Largely unheralded, Kipruto arrived in Rome with a 1:01:02 personal best in the half marathon, but more recently confirmed his form at January's Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon where he paced the leaders through 30 kilometres in 1:27:30.
The tempo in Rome wasn’t as brisk, but it remained steady with a 10-man pack covering 5km in 15:00 and 10km in 30:05 before reaching the halfway point in 1:03:40.
It was just beyond the 30km point where the race began to take shape, with the lead group whittled down to eight: Kenyans Kipruto, Ruto, Nicodemus Kimutai, Silas Cheboit and Kipkemboi Kiplimo, and Ethiopians Addissie, Tuyuba Beyu Megersa and defending champion Abebe Negewo Degefa.
Kipruto made his decisive move at 35km, when he upped the pace and covered the next five kilometres in 14:50 to pull away.
“The pacemakers did a very good job clocking 3:01 to 3:02 splits until 30 kilometres,” said Kipruto, who is guided by the well-known Italian coach Claudio Berardelli. “At 35K I still had a lot of energy and I decided to push the pace.”
Kipruto trains in Kapsabet where he lives with his wife and twin daughters. He began his ascent into the elite ranks in 2013, and is part of a training group which includes Solomon Kirwa Yego, who clocked 58:44 at the Roma Ostia Half Marathon, and sub-2:05 marathoner Dickson Chumba.
Rahma Tusa of Ethiopia won the women’s race in 2:28:49 after smashing her personal best by more than five minutes.
Tusa, along with compatriots Melka Mulu Duru, Adhana Desalegn and Metafeiya Zenebe, led the race through to the midway point in 1:14:24.
Tusa and Duru continued to push, dropping Zenebe at 30km, which was reached in 1:44:43. At that point Tusa opened a 12-second gap on Duru, and extended it to 30 seconds at 35km.
Tusa struggled over the final two kilometres but held on to win in 2:28:49, more than a minute clear of the flagging Duru, who clocked 2:29:59.
“I felt well until the 38th kilometre and I realised that I could win the race,” said Tusa, whose previous best was 2:33:57. “It was a surprise as I expected to finish in the top three.”
Tusa, who is coached by Haji Adilo, became the seventh Ethiopian woman to win the Rome Marathon. Algeria’s Kenza Dahmani finished third in 2:33:53, a personal best and under the qualifying standard for this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF