The field of elite runners included the winner of the 2010 Volkswagen Prague Marathon and the present record holder, Eliud Kiptanui from Kenya, who had been unable to defend his title earlier this year and had chosen the Volkswagen Olomouc Half Marathon for his next race in the Czech Republic. He set off as one of the favourites along with one of the other Kenyans, Paul
Kimaiyo Kimugul, who started the race with a better half marathon personal best than Kiptanui.
Within just a couple of minutes of the start, a group of ten elite runners had broken away from the rest of the field, with Kiptanui heading the pack. At the 3 km mark, five of the runners had already dropped back, and it was Kiptanui and Kimugul, together with another Kenyan, Daniel Kinyua Wanjiru, and the two Ethiopians, Dawit and Takele, who were vying for the lead. By 7 km, Wanjiru had been dropped and just four of the group remained, crossing the 10 km mark together in a record breaking time of 28:40 and still together at the 15 km, led by Kiptanui.
At the 17 km mark the group sped up again and Takele started to drop behind slightly as Kiptanui and Dawit made a break for home. Just two km from home, Dawit put on a burst of speed and Kiptanui was unable to answer, with Dawit crossing the line the winner in a new record of 1:00:44,
Kiptanui following in 1:01:23 and Takele in 1:01:39 just behind in third place.
In the women’s race, Petra Kaminkova, the leading Czech runner and a native of Olomouc, drew the biggest cheer, but she was always going to be up against it with some very fast Africans in the field, including Netsanet Achamo from Ethiopia, an exceptional steeplechaser who has now turned
her hand to the half marathon.
1. Shami Abdulahi Dawit (ETH)
2. Eliud Kiptanui (KEN)
3. Adugna Takele (ETH)
1. Netsanet Achamo (ETH)
2. Pamela Chesopich Lisoreng (KEN)
3. Tadelech Bekele (ETH)
The Europeans in both the men’s and women’s races put up a great showing, with the marathon runner, Ivan Babaryka coming home 9th in the men’s race in a time of 1:09:26, just ahead of the leading Czech, Pavel Novak, who crossed the line in 10th place in 1:10:40. In the women’s race,
Petra Kaminkova came in in 1:19:46.
It was Achamo from Ethiopia, in her first official half marathon, who played her hand very early on, crossing the 10 km mark side by side with two of the second group of elite men runners and staying ahead of the rest of the field right to the very end, smashing the women’s record by more than 2 minutes 31 seconds in a time of 1:10:41. She was followed home by Pamela Chesopich
Lisoreng from Kenya in 1:11:39 and the other Ethiopian, Tadelech Bekele in 1:12:13.