‘Rab­bit’ Talam stuns big­wigs to snatch Eind­hoven crown

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports -

Run­ning in his marathon de­but, Fes­tus Talam pro­duced a stun­ning 2:06:26 vic­tory at the 33rd Eind­hoven Marathon yes­ter­day.

The 21-year-old Kenyan, with 1:01:48 half marathon cre­den­tials this year, was en­listed as a pace­maker for the event, as­signed to bring the lead group through 35 kilo­me­tres on pace for a 2:06 fin­ish. But once there and his du­ties done, he forged on im­pres­sively, mostly alone.

The race be­gan at a steady pace, with the mid­way point reached right on tar­get in 1:02:59. The lead group con­sisted of five men at 25km; the first to drop, just one kilo­me­tre later, was pre-race favourite Deriba Roba, who prior to the con­test said he was gun­ning for a 2:04 time.

By 30 kilo­me­tres, Talam was still keep­ing up his end of the bar­gain, but only had Kenyans Stephen Che­bogut, the de­fend­ing cham­pion, and Mar­ius Kipserem, this year’s Rot­ter­dam Marathon win­ner, for com­pany. But they too soon be­gan to strug­gle with the tempo, and dropped back out of con­tention.

Be­sides some mi­nor con­fu­sion in the fi­nal bend and ap­proach to the fin­ish, Talam main­tained his com­po­sure over the fi­nal seven kilo­me­tres to fin­ish un­chal­lenged.

“I am more than happy with this win,” said the un­her­alded Talam, whose best per­for­mance prior to his Eind­hoven out­ing was a 1:00:56 run­ner-up fin­ish at the Lago Mag­giore Half Marathon in Ver­ba­nia, Italy last year. “To beat such ath­letes is a great feel­ing.”

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