Olomouc, Czech Republic, June 18th, 2011: As the younger brother of the Hervis Prague Half Marathon, the holder of an IAAF Road Race Gold Label, the Volkswagen Olomouc Half Marathon has a lot to live up to!
The race put itself well and truly on the map with a really exceptional list of elite athletes turning out to lead a capacity field that had sold out more than two weeks prior to the event.
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.
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.
It was Achamo from Ethiopia, 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.
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 at 1:19:46.