Next weekend will see the climax of international marathon running in spring. While on Sunday the 25th Flora London Marathon will take place the 109th BAA Boston Marathon will be started a day later. A week before three other big road races took place in Europe. Despite some difficult weather conditions great times were run.
Felix Limo, the defending champion and winner of the Berlin Marathon in 2004, suffered defeat in Rotterdam. The Kenyan was the favourite of the 25th edition of the Rotterdam Marathon but finally Jimmy Muindi triumphed. The 31-year-old clocked 2:07:50. Kenyan born but now Dutch citizen Lornah Kiplagat took the women’s race in 2:27:36. The jubilee race was plagued by rain, wind and very low temperatures (11 degrees). 12,500 runners had entered the Rotterdam Marathon.
There were quick split times at first in the race. 10 k were passed in 29:44 and 15k in 44:36. But while the weather got worse the race became slower. Half way was reached in 1:03:20. The leading group slimmed, but at 35 k there were still three runners in contention: Kenyans Jackson Koech, Limo and Muindi passed 35k in 1:45:40. The decisive moment came between 37 and 38 k, when Muindi broke away. Jackson Koech finished second in 2:08:02. Limo took third place in 2:09:01.
The Paris Marathon had 35,500 entries and two surprise winners: Kenyan Salim Kipsang ran 2:08:04 and Russian Lidiya Grigorieva clocked 2:27:03. Both of them set new personal bests. In the men’s race Paul Biwott (Kenya) was second in 2:08:18 while Gashaw Melese (Ethiopia) took third in 2:09:25. Florence Barsosio (Kenya) was the second fastest woman in 2:27:19, followed by Asha Gigi (Ethiopia/2:27:41).
There was another Kenyan triumph last weekend. The traditional Stramilano Half Marathon was won by Wilson Kebenei Kiprotich. Clocking 60:11 minutes he set the fastest time of the year so far for the distance, discounting times on Lisbon’s downhill course. John Yuda (Tanzania) was second in 60:25 while Lawrence Kiprotich (Kenya) took third in 60:30. With three men under 61 minutes the race had very good quality. The women’s race was won by Hungary's Aniko Kalovics in 1:11:57.