The Kenyan Roncer Kipkorir Konga is the winner of this year´s Prague Half Marathon, with time of 59:42.
Uganda’s Maxwell Kortek Rotich finished second, followed by the third Geoffrey Kimutai Koech of Kenya. The fastest woman is the presumed favourite, Irine Jepchumba Kimais, who crossed the line in 1:06:00.
The best Czech performance was recorded by Patrik Vebr, who made his debut on the track with a time of 1:05:42 and finished 11th. Jiri Homolac finished one second behind him. Moira Stewart was the fastest Czech female pro athlete at the popular race.
Almost 12,000 runners took part in the Prague Half Marathon. The Prague International Marathon will follow in early May.
Prior to the start, the organizers and pro athletes were worried about the cold and rainy weather. Finally, it didn’t rain then and the temperature was definitely higher than last year.
However, a headwind bothered the runners towards the end of the race. In spite of that, the pro athletes put up very good times – the best being recorded by Roncer Kipkorir Konga who finished in less than an hour.
“It’s definitely a great result for me, I felt good on the course. I’m very happy for a time under an hour,” said the Kenyan, whose personal best time for the half marathon is 59:38. He also attacked this time on Saturday, only took a wrong turn just in front of the finish straight, losing a few seconds.
“Yes, it slowed me down, I could have run faster, maybe some five seconds. The wind was also a problem and slowed me down a little bit,” said Konga, having made an important move for the win at the 14th kilometre, where he broke away from a group of six and built a nine-second lead.
“I wanted to run faster than the others. I knew I would finish alone. There is definitely a track in Prague where it is possible to break the world record,” added the Kenyan, who finished 23 seconds ahead of the second-placed Rotich of Uganda. He was the only one to have reached a time under one hour in Prague. On the other hand, the main favourite and two-time winner Benard Kimeli did not do that well, having finished at the sixth place.
Patrik Vebr was the best Czech runner at the finish line, with a time of 1:05:42. Moira Stewart was the best among Czech women. She had planned to break 72 minutes before the start, which she did not manage. She finished in 1:12:43.
The running public expected a lot from Kenyan Irine Jepchumb Kimais, who has been performing well in the recent seasons and belongs to great stars in the world of running. After all, she ran in Barcelona this year in one hour and four minutes.
In Prague, she was more than a minute and a half behind her half marathon best. She collapsed after having reached the finish line and had to be taken care of by the emergency. “It was not a bad race and the course was good. There were just some places I had to struggle with. Together with my pacemakers, we were fighting for the victory, and I am happy for this time,” Kimais said.
The race was started by the Mayor of Prague Bohuslav Svoboda, for whom sporting events like this are very important. “I am convinced that such things belongs here. The example shown by the athletes is extremely important, as is the fact that many people and tourists will come to the capital. So it’s also very interesting economically – whole families accompany the runners because to cheer them up,” Mayor Svoboda mentioned at the start.
On the other hand, Miloš Vystrčil, the President of the Senate, actively participated in the Prague Half Marathon. “I have been running regularly for a while, my colleague from the Senate, Jan Pirk, encouraged me to take part in the Prague Half Marathon, so I had to start the training,” Miloš Vystrčil smiled.
The race, of which the main charity partner is Světluška, the Foundation of the Czech Radio, is available to watch on runczech.com, YouTube or Pulse.TV.