MADRID, Spain, Apr 29 – Reuben Kerio led a Kenyan top four sweep on his way to winning the 42nd edition of the Rock ’n’ Roll Madrid Marathon, crossing the line in two hours, eight minutes and 18 seconds on Sunday.
Kipkemoi Kipsang followed in second place 30 seconds later while Kiprotich Kirui and Edwin Kiptoo finished in third and fourth place respectively.
Led by pacemakers Emmanuel Bett of Kenya and Ugandan cross-country specialist Timothy Toroitich, the main pack set off at a steady 3:03/km pace. The opening 10 kilometres were covered in 30:39 with 16 men still in the lead.
The pace increased in the following five-kilometre section and they went through 15km in 45:33 and reached the half-way point in 1:03:54 with Toroitich still in the lead.
Bernard Kiprop Koech, Kirui, Kipsang and Ethiopia’s Sisay Jisa ran closest to the pacemakers by then.
With the clock reading 1:19, Jisa fell injured and was forced to stop. Shortly afterwards Eliud Barngetuny lost contact with the main pack at the 29th kilometre.
Once Toroitich dropped out, Kirui took charge of the pace and only Kerio, Kipsang and Kiptoo managed to stay at his shoulder while the local favourite Javier Guerra could not live with their pace and ran in fifth alongside Nicholas Kirwa.
The lead pack reached 30km in 1:31:08 and with four men still in the group it became clear they were on pace to break the race record of 2:09:15.
The long-legged Kerio made his move at the 36th kilometre and he soon opened a clear gap over Kipsang, Kirui and Kiptoo.
By 40km (2:01:35) the leader had built a 22-second margin on Kipsang and 24 on Kirui, having both secured podium places in detriment of a fading Kiptoo.
Kerio crossed the finish line in 2:08:18 to take nearly a full minute off the previous race record. Kipsang (PB of 2:08:58) and Kirui (2:09:05) also dipped inside the previous mark set in 2014. To the delight of the crowd, Guerra finished fifth in 2:10:19, a couple of seconds behind Kiptoo.
“This is my first win at an IAAF Gold Label event so I’m over the moon,” said Kerio. “In addition I ran 2:08 low which means a much faster time competing at sea level so I hope to be in the 2:05 region shortly.”
-Kotut breaks course records in Krakow
Meanwhile, Cyprian Kotut ran negative splits to clinch the Cracovia Marathon in Poland in a new course record of two hours, nine minutes and 18 seconds lowering the previous mark by over two minutes.
After an initial steady pace in the men’s race, with the halfway point reached in 1:05:11, a three-man leading group emerged before the 30km point. There were no major surprises regarding the composition of that trio, with Kotut, Kentaro Nakamoto and Philip Kangogo all among the pre-race favourites.
A few minutes later only two were left at the front as Kangogo started to lose ground on the leaders. Soon after, Nakamoto also started to struggle with the pace pushed by Kotut. The Kenyan leader continued to look strong as he increased the distance between himself and his rivals all the way to the finish.
Kotut’s fourth 10-kilometre segment of the race was his fastest at 30:12 as he continued unchallenged at the front. He broke the tape in 2:09:18, more than two minutes inside the previous course record.
Nakamoto held on to take a clear second place, albeit well beaten in 2:11:34.
There was another significant gap to Kangogo, who reached the finish in 2:13:46, followed by another Kenyan, Josphat Leting, with 2:14:40.
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