FAVORITES FALTER AT PRAGUE HALF-MARATHON
By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2015 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with permission.
(28-Mar) -- The big names had to settle for the minor places at today's 17th Sportisimo Prague Half-Marathon in the Czech capital.
In the men's race, defending champion Peter Kirui and last year's Birell Grand Prix 10-K champion Geoffrey Ronoh, both of Kenya, could not hold the pace of the leaders when a surge took place in the 17th kilometer. They would fade to finish eighth and 11th, respectively.
Instead, lesser-known Kenyans Daniel Wanjiru and Wilfred Murgor went on to finish one-two in 59:51 and 59:57, respectively, while another star --two-time world record holder Leonard Patrick Komon-- held on for third in 59:57.
"The line-up here in Prague today was so strong that it felt like a championship race, it was really tough," Wanjiru told race organizers after his victory. "I learned a lot in this race. This victory gives me great motivation for the future."
On the women's side, the biggest name for the race --two-time world marathon champion Edna Kiplagat-- didn't even get to the starting line after her passport was lost in her native Kenya and she ran out of time to get a visa. The other top star, Kenya's Lucy Kabuu, was never a factor in the race and finished sixth.
Instead, it was Ethiopia's Worknesh Degefa who dominated the event, scooting to a 1:07:14 victory, beating compatriot Yebrgual Melese by over a minute. She had hoped to run faster, but found the weather a little too windy.
"My goal was to run a time between 66 and 67 minutes, but it was a hard race," said Degefa. "It was not only the tough competition but also the wind. And then there were sections of cobblestones which I found difficult to run on."
Melese clocked 1:08:21 while third place went to Burundi's Diane Nukuri in 1:09:33. The top European was Croatia's Lisa Nemec who finished seventh in 70:39.
Both winners earned €4000 in prize money plus time incentives.
The Sportisimo Prague Half-Marathon is part of the RunCzech series which includes running events throughout the year in the Czech Republic.