Sarah Chepchirchir of Kenya broke the course record at the Rock 'n' Roll Lisbon Marathon EDP to highlight a busy day of IAAF Gold Label Road Race action in the Portuguese capital on Sunday (2).
The 30-year-old clocked 2:24:12 to eclipse the previous course standard by nearly a minute while shattering her own lifetime best by nearly six.
In the morning's other three races, also IAAF Gold Label events, Kenyan Alfred Kering won the men's marathon in 2:10:27, while Nguse Amlosom of Eritrea and Genet Yalew of Ethiopia took the half marathon titles, clocking 1:02:39 and 1:10:25 respectively.
The women’s race began with a balanced pace, with a group of five still in contention at the midway point, reached in 1:12:23. Ethiopian Shanko Genemo, who was gunning for her third marathon triumph of 2016, was forced to drop out just beyond the half, leaving four Kenyans to battle for the win: Chepchirchir, Brigid Kosgei, Esther Ndiema and Rose Chepchumba.
Midway through the race’s second half, Chepchirchir and Kosgei dropped the other pair with Chepchirchir making her decisive break in the closing kilometres to easily take down the previous course record of 2:25:09.
Behind her, Kosgei notched a big personal best as well, clocking 2:24:45 for second place, finishing inside the previous course record. Her performance was also a big improvement on her previous lifetime best of 2:27:45 set when winning April’s Milan Marathon. Ndiema was a distant third in 2:31:41.
In relative terms, the men’s race wasn’t nearly as fast.
After an opening half of 1:04:07, Alfred Kering pulled away in the latter stages to win comfortably in 2:10:27, well ahead of Reuben Kerio, who clocked 2:11:09.
Seboka Nigusse closed well to clock 2:11:42 and dash the hopes for a Kenyan double podium sweep.