Sunday, 10 December 2017 17:37

Kipsang and Tusa claimed victories at the Guangzhou Marathon, IAAF

Kenya’s Dickson Kipsang Tuwei and Rahma Tusa of Ethiopia claimed victories at the Guangzhou Marathon, an IAAF Silver Label road race, in the southern Chinese city on Sunday (10).

The 24-year-old Tusa continued her flying form this season. She built up comfortable lead after midway and trimmed more than two minutes from her personal best to wrap up the third marathon title of her career in 2:25:12.

Tusa’s winning mark also beat the course record of 2:26:46 set by countrywoman Mulu Seboka when the race was first launched back in 2012.

It was Tusa’s third marathon in 2017. She arrvied in Guangzhou with high spirits after successfully defending her title at the Rome Marathon in April and meanwhile improving her career best by 88 seconds to 2:27:21. She also finished third at the Beijing Marathon in 2:33:22 three months ago and more recently renewed her half marathon PB to 1:08:28 with victory in Boulogne-Billancourt.

Sifan Melaku, also from Ethiopia, cut more than six minutes from her PB to finish second in 2:31:21. The 20-year-old only began competing over the classic distance in February. It was just her third race and the first time for Melaku to step onto the podium.

Gebeyanesh Ayele, the 13th finisher at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Kampala 2017, clocked 2:32:25 in what was only her second marathon to date to complete the podium sweep for Ethiopia. The 22-year-old celebrated her marathon debut in Xiamen in January with a 2:34:07 clocking and two months ago she took the victory at the 20 Kilometres de Paris.

The men’s race was won by Tuwei, who rallied to upset Ethiopia’s pre-race favorite Markos Geneti in the final 200 metres. His winning mark of 2:10:03 was just two seconds shy of the 2:10:01 course record set two years ago by Morocco’s Abdellah Tagharrafet.

Racing under cool conditions with the temperature ranging from 12-16C, a group of nine runners led the first ten kilometres with a fast pace in 30:07. The leaders were trimmed to eight when they passed the 20km water table in 1:00:29. But the pace of the next 10km was relatively slow.

When the leading pack hit 35km in 1:49:01, only five men were left including Tuwei, Geneti, Kenya’s Edwin Kipngetich Koech, Ethiopia’s Husein Mohammed and Ziani Mohammed of Morocco.

The Moroccan was the first to drop out while Mohammed fell back before 40 kilometres.

The leading trio remained together for another kilometre, before the 33-year-old Geneti, the fastest entrant on paper with a PB of 2:04:54 set in Dubai in 2012, tried to pull away. Tuwei managed to keep up. The 25-year-old Kenyan waited for one more kilometre before launching his powerful charge for the victory with only some 200 metres to go before the finish.

“It is a little pity because I did not break the record here. But I am happy with my race today,” said Tuwei, who started his marathon career last year and set his PB of 2:09:27 when winning the 2016 Yellow River Estuary International Marathon in Dongying.

Geneti completed his first marathon race in two years but his pursuit of first marathon victory has to be prolonged as he trailed by three seconds to finish as the runner-up.

The 25-year-old Koech, who set an Italian all-comers’ record of 2:07:13 when winning in Milan eight months ago, took third place in 2:10:27.