Kenya’s Kiptoo snatches title in Beirut Marathon
Kenya’s Edwin Kibet Kiptoo clocked 2:13:19 to win the Blom Bank Beirut Marathon on Sunday at Martyr’s Square. The defending champion from Kenya, Jackson Limo, finished third in 2:15:02, behind Abebe Gizachew of Ethiopia who placed second in 2:14:06.
“Today was very hot and very humid,” said the 28-year-old winner. “It was a good race and I was comfortable in winning. My target was 2:09 but today you cannot run for time. The humidity, it was very hot. From 31 to 32km I looked back and there were no people behind. I was able to increase my lead to the finish.”
Two pacemakers had been charged with the responsibility of towing the field through an opening half of 1:04:30, but with the pacemakers exercising a great degree of caution, they reached halfway almost four minutes slower than expected. Not surprisingly, there were nine athletes in contention at that point. Kiptoo ran the second half much faster and that proved the undoing of his rivals.
“The pace was a little slow today because of the heat,” said a disappointed Limo afterwards. “We tried to push but the time didn’t come. I saw when we were halfway that the pace was too slow. I knew we weren’t going to run a good time.
“I was expecting to defend my title but unfortunately I didn’t. But I am very happy with the results. At about 32km, Kiptoo pushed and I tried to go with him but I had a small stitch in my stomach. I tried to close the gap to get on the podium.”
The women’s race became a solo effort shortly after the half way point as 23-year-old Tigist Girma of Ethiopia followed closely on the heels of a designated pacemaker, dropping the entire field. The pacemaker had been expected to take Girma right to the finish but he experienced cramps and, for a short time, followed the young Ethiopian until he could run no further.