Limo wins Usti Half Marathon
Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic, September 18th, 2011: As the ‚new boy‘ on the street insofar as long-distance road racing is concerned here in the Czech Republic, the first ever running of the Usti nad Labem Volkswagen Half Marathon had a lot to live up to. The organisers, tempo team prague s.r.o. („tempo team“) had, however, put together an exceptional list of elite athletes that included the winner of the Hervis Prague Half Marathon earlier this year and the METRO 10k Race just last week, Philemon Limo, and there was a definite buzz around the start that this first running was going to be something exceptional.
Limo was not the only runner to have a taste for running in the Czech Republic. He was joined in the line-up by the second and third from the previous week’s race, Henry Chirchir and Adugna Tekele as well as Sammy Kurui, who finished that race in 9th place, and as the gun went off this group of four went straight into the lead and quickly broke away from the rest of the field. By the 5k mark, however, Kurui had been dropped, leasing Limo, Tekele and Chirchir running together and setting the pace. As the leaders kicked on between the 5k and 6k markers Limo and Tekele had soon put 50 metres between the two of them and Chirchir, and within another two kilometers Limo had set sail for home.
At one point in the race, it looked as if the unbelievable could happen, as Limo was on target to break the magical one hour mark, but with the rain coming down and running completely on his own, Limo had slowed slightly as he headed towards home, eventually crossing the finishing line in a still exceptional 1:00:58, nearly three minutes ahead of Tekele, who was second in 1:03:35, just a short distance ahead of Chirchir in 1:04:42. In fourth, and the first of the Europeans, was the Ukrainian Igor Geletiy, in an excellent 1:04:55.
The women’s race was a fairly straighforward affair, with a group of four women running together and staying close to the second group of men until nearly halfway through the race. Soon after the 10k mark, however, Agnes Kiprop had broken away from the chasing Tadelech Bekele and Justina Heslop, and this is the order in which they finished, with Kiprop crossing the line in 1:09:12, followed by Bekele in 1:11:58 and the British woman, Justina Heslop, finishing in a wonderful third place in 1:13.12.
With a Ukrainian in fourth place in the men’s elite race and a Brit in third in the women’s, plus two Czech runners, Martin Frei, 8th in 1:09:28 and Petra Kaminkova 5th in 1:22:19, the Europeans could go home feeling that they had had a very good day!