A Kenyan double in Cardiff as Ryan McLeod and Emma Stepto claim British titles, while Stephen Mokoka and Edna Kiplagat win Great Scottish Run and Haile Gebrselassie drops out in early stages
Boniface Kongin and Joan Chelimo made it a Kenyan double at the Lloyds Bank Cardiff Half Marathon on Sunday.
Kongin, who was third last year, clocked 62:02 to finish 11 seconds outside of the course record set in 2013 by Loitarakwai Lengurisi who this year finished just over a minute behind his compatriot to claim the runner-up spot with 63:06.
There was a Kenyan one-two in the women’s race, too, as Chelimo ran 72:26 to pip Perendis Lekapana who was given the same time. It wasn’t just the top two that was a close result, either, as the top five athletes all finished within 14 seconds of each other.
Emma Stepto was third over the line with 72:29 to secure the British half marathon title in a personal best time, while the men’s title went to Ryan McLeod, also with a personal best of 64:57. The event hosted the penultimate stage of the Run Britain Grand Prix.
Over in Glasgow at the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run and Stephen Mokoka of South Africa won a men’s race which saw the withdrawal of Ethiopian long distance great Haile Gebrselassie in the early stages, while Kenya’s two-time world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat won the women’s race in an event record time.
Gebrselassie, who had been looking to retain his title having last year set a Scottish all-comers’ record when clocking 61:09 for victory, had trouble with his breathing and dropped out around 18 minutes into the race. He later tweeted: “Today in Glasgow again problems with my lungs; excercise induced asthma. But I am still enjoying running so much!!!”
Mokoka surged on as part of a group of four also featuring Kenyans Stephen Chemlany, Mark Kiptoo and Charles Cheruyot. He later dropped the trio and crossed the line in 61:25 for his second fastest half marathon, seven seconds ahead of Chemlany. Callum Hawkins was the top Briton, clocking 63:06 for sixth on his debut at the distance.
In a women’s race missing European 10,000m champion Jo Pavey who had suffered heel problems in the run up to the event, Kiplagat clocked 67:57 for the new course, which features what organisers describe as “some rollercoaster hills” through the city centre in the opening stages, to take almost a minute off the event record set by her fellow Kenyan Joyce Chepchumba in 2000. Their compatriot Caroline Kilel ran 68:53 for the runner-up spot as Ethiopia’s Olympic marathon champion Tiki Gelana was third in 70:37 and Susan Partridge was first British female, crossing the line in 72:12.
British athlete Simon Lawson and Jade Jones won the wheelchair races in respective times of 23:39 and 29:10, while Sean Fontana and Laura Dunn won the 10km events.
» See the October 9 edition of Athletics Weekly magazine for much more in-depth coverage of these events together with reports from other road race action