Kenyans ushered in the New Year with strong performances in races across the world.
In Sao Paulo, Brazil, James Kwambai led a clean sweep by Kenyans as he won the 84th edition of the Corrida Internacional de Sao Silvestre, held on December 31, 2008.
The traditional year-ending event was contested by more than 20,000 runners. The women’s title went to Ethiopian Ayalew Yimer. Kwambai was timed at 44:42 while Yimer stopped the clock after 51:37.
The 32-year-old Kwambai closed a successful 2008 season where he won the “Rock n’ Roll” Half Marathon in West Virginia (60:22) and placed second to Haile Gebrselassie at the Berlin Marathon, where he registered his personal best time in the 42km event of 2:05:36 when the Ethiopian legend set the current world record of 2:03:59.
Kwambai battled compatriot Evans Cheruiyot, winner of the 2008 Chicago Marathon (2:06:25). Kwambai pulled away from Cheruiyot at the 10km mark.
Cheruiyot finished in 45:16.34. Another Kenyan, Kiprono Mutai, was third in 45:28, while Tanzanian Marco Joseph was fourth (45:37).
In Trier, Germany, Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist Micah Kogo led another Kenyan podium sweep in the 19th edition of the Bitburger Silvesterlauf. Ethiopia’s Mimi Belete won the women’s race.
The 22-year-old Kogo dominated the 8km race to win in 23:08 ahead of his countrymen Shadrack Lagat (23:21) and Hosea Tuei (23:23). German middle distance hope Carsten Schlangen finished fourth in 23:29.
In Italy, Edwin Soi and Gulnara Samitova Galkina of Russia took the honours at the end-of-year Boclassic Silvesterlauf Road Race in Bolzano last Wednesday in front of 10,000 spectators.
Soi scored his second consecutive win in the 10km road race in Bolzano crossing the finish-line in 28:55.
The Kenyan beat Sergiy Lebid (28:59), an eight-times European Cross Country champion and five-times Boclassic winner.
Olympic 3,000m steeplechase women’s champion Samitova Galkina (15:59) added her name to the prestigious list of past winners of the Boclassic with a solid win in the 5km women’s race.
Results Sao Paulo: Men - James Kwambai 44:42, Evans Cheruiyot 45:16, Kiprono Mutai 45:28, Marco Joseph (Tanzania) 45:37, William Naranjo (Colombia) 45:47, Nicholas Koech 45:52, Raimundo Nonato Sousa Aguiar (Brazil) 46:05, Eduardo Antonio da Silva (Brazil) 46:17. Women - Ayalew Yimer (Ethiopia) 51:37, Fabiana Cristine da Silva (Brazil) 52:28, Marily dos Santos (Brazil) 52:48, Edielza Alves dos Santos (Brazil) 53:02, Luzia de Souza Pinto (Brazil) 53:52, Cruz Monata da Silva (Brazil) 53:57, Priscah Jeptoo 53:58. Bolzano, Italy 10km men race - Edwin Soi 28:55, Sergiy Lebid (Ukraine) 28:59, Betona Sahle Warga (Ethiopia) 29:13, Jaouad Gharib (Morocco) 29:22, Stefano Baldini (Italy) 29:33, James Theuri (France) 29:44.Women 5km -Gulnara Samitova Galkina (Russia) 15:59, Aniko Kalovics (Hungary) 16:07, Sylvia Kibet 16:09, Sonja Roman (Slovenia) 16:19, Federica Dal Ri (Italy) 16:30, Agnes Tschurtschenthaler (Italy) 16:45.