Kenyan duo Mathew Kisorio and Pamela Jepkosgei Rotich took top honours at the Daegu International Marathon, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, on Sunday (2).
While Jepkosgei waited until the final few metres to break free from her last remaining opponent, Kisorio ran alone for much of the final five kilometres on his way to winning in 2:07:32.
After an opening 5km of 14:58, six men remained in the lead pack as they passed through 10km in 29:41 and 15km in a swift 44:31, putting them well inside the kind of pace required to break the course record of 2:06:51.
From there on, the pace dropped slightly but little changed among the leading sextet which comprised Kisorio, fellow Kenyans Peter Some, Bernard Korir, Vincent Kipsang, Evans Kipkoech and Morocco’s Mohamed Reda. They passed through the half-way mark just outside 63 minutes and reached 30km in 1:29:56.
The lead pack began to splinter shortly afterwards. Marathon debutant Korir was the first to drop back, followed by Kipkoech and Reda. Kisorio had just Kipsang for company at 35km, reached in 1:45:08, but he too soon drifted behind.
The gap behind Kisorio continued to grow during the closing stages as the 27-year-old went on to cross the line in 2:07:32, the second-fastest time of his career and just 41 seconds shy of the course record.
Kipsang faded badly in the final few kilometres as Some came through to take second in 2:09:22 and Reda placed third in 2:09:50. Kipsang held on to fourth place in 2:10:23.
Popular Japanese runner Yuki Kawauchi ran alone for much of the race but finished strongly to place sixth in 2:13:04. Defending champion James Kwambai trailed the lead pack by about a minute at half way but dropped out soon after.
The course record was never under threat in the women’s race, but as the race went on it became clear there would be an exciting finish.
Seven women were in the lead pack at 10km, reached in 34:48, but Algerian record-holder Souad Ait Salem struggled to keep up and drifted back soon after, eventually dropping out at half way.
Rotich, Winnie Jepkorir, Loice Kiptoo, Nancy Koech, Pauline Mutwa and Peru’s Wilma Yanet passed through the half-way point in 1:13:49 with Mutwa drifting behind soon after.
The lead pack then broke up with Jepkorir and Kiptoo opening up a gap on Rotich with Koech further behind. But Rotich caught up with her compatriots and ran alongside Jepkorir for the closing few kilometres before kicking to victory in 2:27:48, taking more than a minute off her PB.
Jepkorir crossed the line just four seconds later and was rewarded with a PB of 2:27:52. Kiptoo and Koech also set PBs in third and fourth, running 2:28:39 and 2:29:30 respectively. Ukraine’s Olga Kotovska was fifth in 2:30:18.