Ethiopians Tamirat Tola and Netsanet Gudeta collected their second victories each at the 44th edition of the Boclassic in Bolzano, Italy, on Monday (31).
Running in unseasonably warm conditions that reached 15 C, Tola won the men’s 10km race in 28:12 ahead of Jairus Birech while Gudeta took the honours in the women’s 5km in 15:46.
Patience pays for Tola
With some 15,000 spectators lining the course, Zane Robertson from New Zealand, who finished third here in 2014, went to the front in the first lap taking a six-second lead over Jairus Birech. The chasing group formed by Tola, Muktar Edris, this year’s Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist Oscar Chelimo and 2018 European 10,000m bronze medallist Yeman Crippa followed a few metres behind.
Birech was the only runner able to follow Robertson’s fierce pace, who continued to lead in the second lap. Birech caught up with Robertson on the second lap, with the leading duo going through the second lap mark together in 6:55, three seconds ahead of Tola and six clear of Edris. Tola then closed the gap over Birech and Robertson on the third lap.
In lap four, Birech and Tola pulled away from Robertson, who was also overtaken by Edris and Chelimo. The leading duo increased their lead over Edris to 18 seconds on the sixth lap.
Tola and Birech then ran a neck-to-neck race until the end of the penultimate lap when the Ethiopian runner broke away, launching his kick at the bell. Tola crossed the finish line in the Walther Square in 28:12 holding off Jairus, a two-time Diamond League champion in the steeplechase, by 12 seconds. Tola fell 10 seconds shy of Philemon Hanneck’s course record but ran the fastest time since Paul Kosgei’s 28:10 win in 1998.
Ugandan Oscas Chelimo was third in 28:50 ahead of Edris, a three-time winner here, who clocked 29:01 for fourth. Robertson was fifth in 29:17 ahead of Moroccans Hicham Amghar (29:19) and Soufiyan Bouqantar (29:22).
Tola said he’s currently training for a “big marathon’ in April, while Birech confirmed that he won’t be contesting the steeplechase next year as he’s currently training for his half marathon debut in the spring.
In the women’s race, 2015 winner Gudeta ran at the front from the early stages, closely followed by Kenyan Kisa, the 2014 winner. Gudeta pulled away for good during the third of four laps en route to her 15:46 performance, holding off Kisa by three seconds.
Vohla Mazuronak from Belarus, the 2018 European marathon champion, finished third in 16:08 ahead of former world U18 800m silver medallist Clara Mageean (16:20) and Italy’s Margherita Magnani, who reached the top five in Bolzano for the fifth time in her career clocking 16:37.
“This race was an important test ahead of the 2019 season,” said Gudeta, who confirmed that her 2019 ambitions include a 1:05 half marathon next month and competing at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in March. Gudeta won gold at the World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia last March, clocking 1:06:11, a world record for a women-only race.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
1 Tamirat Tola (ETH) 28:12
2 Jairus Birech (KEN) 28:24
3 Oscar Chelimo (UGA) 28:50
4 Muktar Edris (ETH) 29:01
5 Zane Robertson (NZL) 29:17
6 Hicham Amghar (MAR) 29:19
7 Soufyian Bouqantar (MAR) 29:22
8 Yemaneberhan Crippa (ITA) 29:23
1 Netsanet Gudeta (ETH) 15:46
2 Janet Kisa (KEN) 15:49
3 Volha Mazuronak (BLR) 16:08
4 Ciara Mageean (IRL) 16:20
5 Margherita Magnani (ITA) 16:37
6 Giovanna Epis (ITA) 16:40
7 Sara Dossena (ITA) 16:43
8 Svetlana Kudzelich (BLR) 16:51