The Bangsaen21 Half Marathon, a prestigious World Athletics Platinum Label road race hosted in Chonburi, Thailand, witnessed an exhilarating showcase of Kenyan excellence as Gladys Chepkurui and Mathew Kimeli triumphed in their respective categories under demanding weather conditions.
Chepkurui seized victory in the women’s division, displaying remarkable strength as she completed the race in 1:09:46. Her outstanding performance placed her comfortably 17 seconds ahead of her compatriot, Sheila Chepkirui, securing a standout one-two finish for Kenya. Meanwhile, in a fiercely contested men’s race, Kimeli held off Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Getachew, crossing the finish line in 1:03:39, a mere six seconds ahead of Getachew’s 1:03:45.
The race kicked off with Chepkirui, the Berlin Marathon runner-up, and 2019 world marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich setting a rapid pace in the early stages. This dynamic duo led the pack, establishing a significant 14-second lead over Chepkurui and Angela Tanui at the 5km mark, reached in 15:39.
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Undeterred by the initial gap, Chepkurui showcased unwavering determination, steadily gaining ground on her competitors. Surging past Chepngetich, she then overtook Chepkirui, seizing the lead at the 15km mark with a time of 49:13. Chepkirui couldn’t match Chepkurui’s pace, resulting in a 17-second difference at the finish line, where Chepkurui claimed victory in 1:09:46. Angela Tanui secured third place in 1:11:08, with Chepngetich finishing fourth in 1:11:51.
In the men’s event, Kimeli demonstrated incredible resilience in a fiercely competitive field. Initially part of an eight-runner pack that clocked 5km in 15:27 and 10km in 31:01, Kimeli faced a surge from Getachew after the 15km mark. However, Kimeli dug deep and eventually led a trio of runners towards the finish line.
In a thrilling final kilometer, Kimeli surged ahead of Getachew, securing victory in 1:03:39, a narrow six-second lead over the Ethiopian. Amos Kipruto, last year’s London Marathon champion, clinched third place in 1:03:52, while Kenya’s Nobert Kipkoech Kigen finished fourth with a time of 1:04:35.
The Bangsaen21 Half Marathon highlighted the extraordinary talent and determination of Kenyan athletes, showcasing their dominance and resilience on the international racing stage.