One of the final weekends of the autumn road race season proved to be one of the most successful of 2016 for Run-Fast athletes, who recorded wins in the UK and overseas.
At the Valencia Marathon in Spain, an event enjoying its new IAAF Gold Label status, no fewer than six athletes with sub-2:07 best times were on the start line, among them Boston and New York Marathon winner Geoffrey Mutai. Spurred on by three pacemakers, the lead group passed the halfway mark in a rapid 1:02:31 and 30km in 1:29:13. In the closing stages, Run-Fast athlete Victor Kipchirchir made his move at the 40km mark and crossed the line a few minutes later to take the win in 2:07:39, a personal best time over the distance by a minute and a half.
Meanwhile in Paris, four members of the team were on the start line of the Semi-Marathon de Boulogne-Billancourt in the city’s western suburbs. With a strong, blustery wind and little shelter along the banks of the Seine, it was never going to be a day for fast times.
Damaris Areba finished 2nd in the women’s race in 1:11:59, running unaccompanied from around 10km onwards. The men’s race was a much tighter affair, with a lead group of five athletes going clear of the field in the opening kilometres. Among them were three Run-Fast athletes (Ben Siwa, Morris Gachaga and John Lotiang) and two Ethiopians, one of whom was the defending champion Yitayal Atnafu.
After going though 15km all together, the group finally split at around 19km as each runner tried to push the pace. The final few hundred metres saw a sprint finish between Gachaga and Atnafu, with Gachaga prevailing and crossing the line first in 62:04. Atnafu was a close 2nd in 62:06 and John Lotiang 3rd in 62:13. Uganda’s Ben Siwa took 5th in 62:28, with the first five athletes across the line being separated by just 24 seconds.
On Saturday, Cumbria’s Pete Huck proved he is back to his best with an emphatic win in the senior men’s race at the London XC Championships at Parliament Hill.