World Champs Women’s Marathon — Hot From The Get-Go

“The weather was bad but I did not give up,” said Ruth Chepngetich. (KEVIN MORRIS)

RUTH CHEPNGETICH claimed the first gold of the meet, crossing the line in 2:32:43 to close out a race that set off at midnight amid 90-degree (32C) temperatures and stifling 73% humidity. “The weather was bad but I did not give up; this is amazing for me,” the 25 year-old Kenyan said of her first championship medal.”

Defending champ Rose Chelimo of Bahrain again proved to be a very effective championship racer, taking the silver in 2:33:46, while Helalia Johannes captured Namibia’s first ever women’s WC medal, crossing 3rd in 2:34:15. The American duo of Roberta Groner and Carrie Dimoff fared well in the challenging conditions, with the 41-year-old Groner working her way steadily up the leaderboard to finish 6th in 2:38:44, and Dimoff taking 13th in 2:44:35.

The dark of night offered little relief from the oppressive conditions as the field of 68 set off tepidly about the 7K loop running back and forth along the bayside Corniche boulevard. An ever-cautious 3:40 kilometer clip seemed to be the order of the night as a pack of some 20 apprehensive runners covered the opening 5K in 18:21 and passed 10K in 36:44 (2:35:00 pace).

Chepngetich, who ran 2:17:08—the No. 3 performance ever—in January in Dubai seemed to run out of patience as she bolted away from the pack with a 3:13 for the 11th kilo. The move strung out the lead group as Chepngetich quickly moved 50m clear of the field, before a 4-woman chase pack of Chelimo, Johannes and Kenyans Edna Kiplagat and Visiline Jepkesho slowly closed the gap as the fivesome passed 15K. Little changed up front over the subsequent 8K as the runners eased back to a 3:40 clip, while favored Lonah Salpeter slowly closed in on the lead group. By 25K Jepkesho fell 13 seconds off the pace while Salpeter closed within 16.

The ’11 and ’13 winner, Kiplagat upped the tempo with a 3:33 for kilo 26, stifling Salpeter’s attempt to bridge the gap as the Israeli recordholder began to fade before eventually collapsing in kilo 33. Many athletes suffered a similar fate as the race progressed. The hugely talented Ethiopian squad of Ruti Aga, Shure Demise and Roza Dereje all retired before 17K, and as the race extended past 90 minutes, ambulance carts seemed to outnumber runners.

The lead quartet remained together through 35K, before Chepngetich surged ahead into the aid station and kept going through a 3:17K that broke the race open as she explained, “I made my mind not to give up and I just push because we worked for this in training.” Chelimo gave chase while Johannes and Kiplagat were left behind to battle for the bronze.

Chepngetich steadily pulled away extending her lead to more than a minute. As a final measure of the oppressive conditions, she was compelled to grab a fluid bottle at 42K and take a few sips before sprinting the final 40m to finish off a very strong effort. “I had to use my mind to be the winner,” she observed.“During the race I only use water. I poured it on myself and also used a sponge and it made me cool.”

Overall, it was a race of extreme attrition with only 40 of the 68 competitors managing to finish the race, and Chepngetich’s hard-earned victory being the slowest in meet history.


WC WOMEN’S MARATHON RESULTS

RESULTS

(September 27–28; temperature 90F/32C, humidity 74%)

1. Ruth Chepngetich (Ken) 2:32:43 (18:21, 18:23 [36:44], 17:17 [54:01], 18:33 [1:12:34], 18:27 [1:31:01], 18:12 [1:49:13], 18:10 [2:07:23], 17:29 [2:24:52], 7:51) (1:16:40/1:16:03);

2. Rose Chelimo (Bhr) 2:33:46 (1:16:40/1:17:06);
3. Helaria Johannes (Nam) 2:34:15 (1:16:40/1:17:35);
4. Edna Kiplagat (Ken) 2:35:36 (1:16:40/1:18:56);
5. Volha Mazuronak (Blr) 2:36:21 (1:17:58/1:18:23);
6. Roberta Groner (US) 2:38:44 (1:19:00/1:19:44);
7. Mitsugi Tanimoto (Jpn) 2:39:09 PR (1:20:11/1:18:58);
8. Ji Hyang Kim (NK) 2:41:24 (1:20:12/1:21:12);

9. Lyndsay Tessier (Can) 2:42:03; 10. Un Ok Jo (NK) 2:42:23; 11. Madoka Nakano (Jpn) 2:42:39; 12. Desi Jisa Mokonin (Bhr) 2:43:19; 13. Carrie Dimoff (US) 2:44:35; 14. Kwang Ok Ri (NK) 2:46:16; 15. Visiline Jepkesho (Ken) 2:46:38; 16. Marta Galimany (Spa) 2:47:45; 17. Nastassia Ivanova (Blr) 2:48:41; 18. Charlotta Fougberg (Swe) 2:49:17; 19. Anne-Mari Hyryläinen (Fin) 2:51:26; 20. Marcela Joglová (CzR) 2:52:22;

21. Rutendo Nyahora (Zim) 2:52:33; 22. Sardana Trofimova (Rus) 2:52:46; 23. Nazret Weldu (Eri) 2:53:45; 24. Yugui Ma (Chn) 2:55:24; 25. Khishigsaikhan Galdabrakh (Mgl) 2:56:15; 26. Alisa Vainio (Fin) 2:56:30; 27. Melanie Myrand (Can) 2:57:40; 28. Carla Salomé Rocha (Por) 2:58:19; 29. Glória Privilétzio (Gre) 2:58:43; 30. Valdilene Silva (Bra) 2:59:00;

31. Manuela Soccol (Bel) 2:59:11; 32. Sviatlana Kudzelich (Blr) 3:00:38; 33. Ciren Cuomu (Chn) 3:01:56; 34. Munkhzaya Bayartsogt (Mgl) 3:02:57; 35. Rochelle Rodgers (Aus) 3:05:12; 36. Andreia Hessel (Bra) 3:06:13; 37. Johanna Bäcklund (Swe) 3:08:30; 38. Kelsey Bruce (US) 3:09:37; 39. Mayada Al-Sayad (Pal) 3:10:30; 40. Gabriela Traña (CR) 3:19:13;

… dnf—Elvan Abeylegesse (Tur), Ruti Aga (Eth), Bojana Bjeljac (Cro), Monika Bytautienė (Lit), Fadime Çelik (Tur), Rosa Chacha (Ecu), Linet Toroitich Chebet (Uga), Shure Demise (Eth), Roza Dereje (Eth), Sara Dossena (Ita), Giovanna Epis (Ita), Shitaye Eshete (Bhr), Sasha Gollish (Can), Dagmara Handzlik (Cyp), Ayano Ikemitsu (Jpn), Sitora Khamidova (Uzb), Mariya Korobitskaya (Kgz), Dan Li (Chn), Failuna Matanga (Tan), Clementine Mukandanga (Rwa), Elvanie Nimbona (Bur), Cecilia Norrbom (Swe), Matea Parlov Koštro (Cro), Charlotte Purdue (GB), Lonah Chemtai Salpeter (Isr), Oleksandra Shafar (Ukr), Hanna Vandenbussche (Bel), Hiruni Kesara Wijayaratne (Sri).

Leader splits: Salpeter 18:21; Jepkesho 36:44; Chepngetich 54:01; Jepkesho 1:12:34; Chelimo 1:31:01, 1:49:13; Chepngetich 2:07:23, 2:24:52.

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