By: AYUMBA AYODI
Former Paris Marathon champion Kenya’s Stanley Biwott produced a brilliant solo performance to win the Bogota Half Marathon in 1 hour 03:15 minutes on Sunday.
In the women’s race, Kenya’s 2011 World marathon bronze medallist, Sharon Cherop came home third behind Ethiopians Amane Gobena and Shuru Demise.
Biwott, winner of Paris Marathon in 2012, got Kenya its fifth consecutive victory in the race, but it was the first time the country lost the women’s race after having dominated in the past four editions.
Biwott lived up to his pre-race favourite billing when he shot to the front and quickly established his superiority.
The Kenyan, who had the fastest half marathon time in the world this year with his 59:20 performance in The Hague, edged out Ethiopia’s Tadesse Tola (1:04:47 ) to second place as another Kenyan, Kimutai Kiplimo, wrapped up the last podium place in 1:05:14.
In the women’s race, Cherop, who is the 2012 Boston marathon champion, settled third in 1:13:55 as Gobena reigned in 1:13:44 with Demise settling second in 1:13:47.
“It was not easy,” reflected Biwott. “It was humid and windy sometimes, and the course was tough. I was expecting to run 62 but I was running all alone so that made the time a bit slow.”
The women’s race proved a cagey affair, with no one willing to pace the race in the early stages.
Four athletes initially ran together at the front – Ethiopians Birhane Dibaba, Demise, and Gobena, along with Cherop – as they passed 10km in a relatively pedestrian 37:11.
With the other three content to run in her slipstream, it was Demise who took on most of the pacing duties, but her efforts were never enough to shake the presence of the trio behind.
By 15km, the leading group had been reduced to three as Dibaba began to wither and it was then that Gobena made her move to the front, running alongside Demise – who re-established command of the race.
In the final kilometre, Gobena again made a move to the front and this time it proved decisive; she quickly opened a 10-metre lead on Demise, which she held all the way to the finish, coming home in 1:13:44.