First Kenyan double in Seoul, Kiprop conquers Rome

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Mar 18, 2013
  • Helena Kiprop wins the women's Rome marathon.(photo:courtesy)

The Acea Rome Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label race, saw fast times as Kenya’s Franklin Chepkwony cruised to a comfortable victory in the men’s race at the 84th Seoul International Marathon on Sunday while his compatriot Filomena Chepchirchir won the women’s competition to complete the first ever Kenyan double at the only IAAF Gold Label Road Race in Korea.

 Kenya’s 36-year-old Helena Kirop claimed the victory in the women’s race in Rome in 2:24:40, the third fastest run ever achieved in Rome behind Galina Bogomolova’s course record of 2:22:53 set in 2008. 

Chepkwony, 28, crossed the line in 2:06:59 to become the fifth Kenyan men’s champion in the past six years in the Korean capital.

He took home $80,000 for winning the race under 2:10:00 in what was his first victory over the classic distance.

Ethiopia’s Leche Shumi Dechase finished second in 2:07:12, setting a new personal best while Seboka Dibaba Tola, another Ethiopian, was third in 2:07:27.

Chepchirchir, 31, crossed the line in 2:25:43 to become the first Kenyan woman to win the Seoul International Marathon and end Ethiopian runner’s winning streak at four. Two Ethiopian runners took the remaining spots on the podium.

 Chepchirchir well poised 

In the men’s elite race, a group of about 20 runners moved out in front quickly after the gun went on the starting line at Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul, with Chepkwony part of the pack.

The leaders reached the 5km mark in 15:04 and maintained that steady rhythm through to 15km, passing that mark in 45:11, before slowing very slightly over the next 5km and reaching 20km mark in 1:00:2.

Chepkwony lead at 35km in 1:45:22 with Dechase just a second behind but the rest were left trailing in the Kenyan’s wake. Over the next 5km, Chepkwony continued to push hard and he left his Ethiopian rival behind.

Chepchirchir makes her move at 35km

In the women’s competition, Chepchirchir was among the leaders from start to finish, fending off two Ethiopians. 

Chepchirchir then started to turn the screw and made it to 40km with a seven seconds lead over Bedada, the Kenyan timed at 2:17:59, and extended her lead to 10 seconds by the time she crossed finish line for her first Marathon win in five outings since her debut in 2011.

It was a stark contrast to 12 months ago in Seoul when Chepchirchir struggled home in 10th place. The winner made $40,000 for her efforts. The prize money would have doubled had she come in faster than 2:24:00.

 Kiprop's timing pays off

Getachew Negari Terfa took the honours in the men’s race in Rome in 2:07:56, the second fastest time.

The leaders in the women’s race set off at a course record pace, going through 5km in 16:51, 10km in 34:08, 15km in 51:12, faster than the early splits in Galina Bogomolova’s 2008 course record run of 2:22:53.

Kirop, who won the 2011 Venice Marathon in a personal best of 2:23:37, started to motor and increased her lead to 25 seconds at 37km (2:06:38) before crossing the line in the Fori Imperiali in 2:24:40, the second fastest of her career and the third fastest run ever seen in Rome.

She made her debut over the 42km distance in 2006 when she won the Casablanca Marathon in 2:34:43 at the age of 30. She has so far taken part in no less than 21 marathons and run 13 times under 2:30.

 On Sunday, she was racing in Rome for the sixth time. “At 30km, I started pushing the pace. My plan was to run in the pack until the 30 km and start pushing at that point,” said the runner from West Pokot. Her husband Peter Lomuria, is also a marathon runner with a best of 2:13:47. “I have three daughters. They are 8, 10and 12 years old. Only my second child is interested in running."