Masai, Kipkoech claim Kenyan double in Waraw

Wednesday March 18 2020

Kenya's Gilbert Masai cuts the tape to win the 2019 Warsaw Half Marathon on March 31, 2019 in Poland. PHOTO | IAAF |


Gilbert Masai and Gladys Kipkoech pulled away in the final five kilometres to win the PZU Warsaw Half Marathon, securing a Kenyan double at the IAAF Silver Label road race on Sunday.

A lead pack of seven had emerged within the first five kilometres, which was covered in 14:27. But at 10 kilometres, reached in 28:42, the pack had been whittled down to four: Masai, Silas Kiptoo, Peter Kirui and Ethiopia’s Getaye Gelaw.

Masai started to gradually open a gap on his opponents in the second half. He had a four-second lead over Kirui at 15 kilometres (43:15) with Kiptoo a further seven seconds in arrears.

The positions remained the same until the end but the gaps grew. Masai eventually won in 1:01:43, leading a Kenyan sweep with Kirui taking second place in 1:01:57 and Kiptoo completing the podium in 1:02:03.

In the women’s race, Abebech Mulugeta ran alongside Kipkoech and Tabitha Wambui through the first five kilometres in a swift 15:50, but the pace soon settled with the Kenyan duo reaching 10 kilometres in 32:24 and Mulugeta already starting to pay for her early efforts.

Kipkoech and Wambui were still together at 15 kilometres (49:35) but Kipkoech slowly pulled ahead of her compatriot soon after.

The 22-year-old went on to win in 1:10:19, just six seconds shy of the PB she set on her debut at the distance last year. Wambui took second place in 1:11:07, while Mulugeta prevented another Kenyan podium sweep, finishing third in 1:12:19.