• Bernard Kimeli adds his name to Prague Half Marathon history, while women were breaking records
Kenyan Benard Kimeli defended his title at the 21st Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon. He managed to match his compatriot Daniel Wanjiru and become the second man in the history of the race to win twice in a row. While Caroline Kipkirui spectacularly improved the Kazakh women’s national half marathon record by six minutes.
The men’s race was won by Kenyan Benard Kimeli (59:07) in a tight duel to the finish while improving his personal best time by 40 seconds. "I was well prepared, and the pacemakers did a good job and I am also happy with the time," the winner said. In second Felix Kibitok, also from Kenya, was just a step behind Kimeli (59:08) and also improved his personal best by thirteen seconds. The fastest half marathon runner of the year, Stephen Kiprop, came in third (59:20). From the opening meters, the favored Kenyans broke away, and stayed together until the 15th kilometer.
Caroline Kipkirui, born in Kenya but now competing for Kazakhstan won by half a minute (1:05:44) ahead of Lonah Salpeter, another athlete originally from Kenya but competing for Israel (1:06:13), as Lydia Mathathi (KEN) finished third in 1:07:52. "I am happy to be able to improve my performance here, and I really did the best I was able to do," said Kipkirui, adding: "Although I was running almost the whole race myself, it was not easy, but I am glad that I could do it.
All three women stayed together until ten kilometers. The second fastest woman in the world, Fancy Chemutai, could not perform her best due to muscle problems and she did not finish. Kipkirui took the lead early and ran towards a clear victory. In addition, she and Salpeter were able to significantly improve the national records of Kazakhstan and Israel respectively. Lonah Salpeter has improved her previous personal best (1:06:40) by almost half a minute, while Caroline Kipkirui surpassed the previous best Kazakh performance of Nataly Sorokivskaya (1:12:05) from 1993 by six minutes. “I came to compete today at Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon as part of my preparation for next month's Volkswagen Prague Marathon” - added Lonah Salpeter.
The best Czech and the fastest European runner at Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon was Jiří Homoláč (1:04:03), who was not satisfied with his performance despite the victory over the Ukrainians and the French. Homoláč stayed together with the other Europeans for seven kilometers, then joined Felix Bour from France to increase the pace. “I am slightly disappointed, but every day can not be a feast. I was doing well, but the difference between my personal best and
today's time is about forty seconds” said Homoláč after the race.
As for the Czech women the best was Eva Filipiová, who achieved her second personal best in Prague with 1:20:19.RESULTS
1. KIMELI BENARD | KEN | 0:59:07
2. KIBITOK FELIX | KEN | 0:59:08
3. KIPROP STEPHEN | KEN | 0:59:20
4. KOECH GEOFFREY KIMUTAI | KEN | 01:00:32
5. RONO HENRY | KEN | 01:00:38
6. KIBET MOSES | UGA | 01:00:59
7. KEMEI MOSES KIPNGETICH | KEN | 01:01:20
8. GHEBREGERGIS YOHANES | ERI | 01:01:45
9. KALALE ISHMAEL CHELANGA | KEN | 01:01:46
10. MARITIM PHILIMON KIPKORIR | KEN |01:02:05
1. KIPKIRUI CAROLINE CHEPKOECH | KAZ | 01:05:44
2. SALPETER LONAH CHEMTAI | ISR | 01:06:09
3. MATHATHI LYDIAH NJERI | KEN | 01:07:51
4. CHERUIYOT LUCY | KEN | 01:08:27
5. GEBRE TRIHAS | ESP | 01:10:03
6. NUKURI DIANE | USA | 01:11:16
7. CRAGG AMY | USA | 01:13:27
8. GRAY ALIA | USA | 1:14:45
9. SKRYPAK OLGA | UKR | 01:15:09
10. KIRILUK LINA | LTU | 01:19:04
Video from the race