This was a piece done by Justin Lagat on the Safaricom Iten 10k, held on September 9. Justin focuses on the fine performance on Edith Chelimo, who won the women’s race in strong style and showing great fitness. Edith Chelimo is preparing for the Cardiff Half Marathon.
It was a great sunny day today (September 9) in Iten, the home of champions, and Edith Chelimo treated athletic fans to a spectacular race by beating her competitors on one of the toughest courses in the world.
Iten is a town not only on high altitude, but the town itself seems to be as well on top of a hill. So, any race that begins at any point away and ends in the town is a sure to be a hilly course. The 10K race was on a hilly course at high altitude. The changing of the course, from its traditional start on the Eldoret route to having it start on the Marakwet route on the Northern part of Iten town did not change anything much.
And, if the course alone is not enough to make this race, arguably, the toughest on earth, then considering the following: The race is done in a town with the highest concentration of the world’s best long distance runners, and that most of them would not skip a chance to compete in a race that has been brought to their doorsteps.
This was the first race for Chelimo after she had to pull out of the IAAF gold label Ottawa 10K due to flu that attacked her just as she was staging to win one of her goal races of the year in May. Chelimo was looking to set a new personal best and course record in Ottawa. This is what she had said concerning her preparations to run the Ottawa 10k. “I am excited. My training this year, so far, has been good and I hope that I will run a good time in Ottawa. I have seen Peres Jepchirchir and Gladys Cherono run good times there.” As though to prove that this year was bound to be a good year for her, she had ran an impressive 1:08:57 half marathon in Berlin, shedding a little under two minutes from her previous personal best time of 1:10.38 in April.
The 10K race in Iten served well for her to bury the disappointment she had in Ottawa this year and boost her confidence as she looks forward to running well at the Cardiff half marathon next month. “This was a tough race. The fact that I was able to win it is an indication that I am finally in good shape to run well again,” said Chelimo moments after she had won the race in 32:06. Valary Ayabei had come in a distant second in 32:51 while Dorcas Jepchirchir completed the podium in 33:15.
Jorum Lumbasi overtook Gilbert Masai in the last few meters of the men’s race to win it in 28:18 with Masai taking second in 28:20. Emmanuel Bor took third in 28:28.