Kimutai shrugs off Ethiopian challenge to clinch Lanzhou Marathon
Kenyan Justus Kimutai edged out Ethiopian Hailu to win the Lanzhou Marathon, IAAF Gold Label road race in China on Sunday.
Kimutai who was running for the first time in China’s soil clocked 2:11:47 to lead the set with the subsequent six slots crammed by Ethiopian athletes.
Ethiopian Gizachew Hailu seized the second position in 2:12:05 and his team mate Afewerk Mesfin finishing third in 2:14:10.
The race experienced a packed out leading for the first five kilometers and China’s Guan Yousheng was the first to drop down before they went through the 10km water station.
Ethiopia’s Bira Seboka took an early lead after reaching 20km in 1:03:01 putting up an advantage of 15 seconds at the 25km mark before being gulped down by the charging pack of athletes.
The 26-year-old Kimutai took charge after 33km mark, taking behind a pack of six athletes, with Ethiopian teammates Hailu and Mesfin managing to keep up with Kimutai’s pace.
Kimutai uneven the sole lead after 38km and was 11 seconds ahead of Ethiopian challenger Hailu when he reached the 40km mark in 2:05:17.
The Kenya international winning time of 2:11:47 was one and one-and-a-half minutes diffident from breaking the course record of 2:10:10 set in 2015 by Ethiopian Abayneh Ayele.
Conversely, the Ethiopians managed to dictate over the women’s race category by scooping the top three slots.
Ethiopian Worknesh Edesa topped the women’s winners log after clocking 2:30:22 which marked it as her first marathon triumph ever since winning the 2016 Xiamen Marathon in 2:24:04.
Edesa’s teammate Gutemi Shone secured the second position in 2:30:40 as Fantu Jimma sealed Ethiopian 1-2-3 dominance by clocking 2:30:49.
The 26-year-old Worknesh Edesa, made the fastest participant for Lanzhou as she broke the tape in 2:30:22 despite the race kicking off under cloudy weather.
The Ethiopian trio managed to finish the women’s race inside the previous course record of 2:31:22 set by Kenyan international Nguriatukei Rael Kiyara.