Edwin Kipngetich Koech took the honours at the EA7 Emporio Armani Milano Marathon, breaking the Italian all-comers’ record with 2:07:13 at the IAAF Bronze Label Road Race on Sunday (2).
The 25-year-old Kenyan improved the fastest ever time on Italian soil set by his compatriot Benjamin Kiptoo in Rome with 2:07:17 in 2009. Meanwhile, compatriot Sheila Chepkoech produced a major surprise winning the women’s race in 2:29:52, breaking her personal best by more than 10 minutes.
Pacemakers Stefano La Rosa of Italy and Kenya’s Alex Korio and Joshua Kipkorir set a steady pace, going through the 10km mark in 30:03 ahead of an all-African pack formed by Edwin Koech, Eliud Bargnetuny Kiplagat, Kenneth Mungara and Henry Chirchir from Kenya and Abdela Godana from Ethiopia.
The seven-man pack went through at the halfway mark in 1:03.17, putting them on course for a sub-2:07 finish.
At 27km the leading pack was whittled down to five runners: Korio, Kipkorir, Mungara, Koech and Godana. Kipkorir was the first pacemaker to drop out at 28km, leaving Korio and Koech to go through 30km in 1:29:51, opening up a gap of four seconds over Mungara.
Koech broke away after 30km and continued to run at sub-2:06 pace, passing the 35km mark in 1:45:15. The Kenyan’s 1:50 lead over Mungara grew to more than two minutes by the finish as Koech crossed the finish line in 2:07:13.
Koech’s time smashed his previous personal best of 2:10:52 set in Verona last November. It also improved the previous course record of 2:07:53 set by Duncan Kibet in 2008.
Kenya’s 43-year-old Mungara, winner in Milan in 2015 and third in last year’s edition with a world M40 best of 2:08:38, finished runner-up, again dipping under 2:10 with 2:09:37 to finish ahead of Ehiopian Abdela Godana, who improved his PB by 92 seconds to 2:10:05. Italy’s European under-23 10,000m bronze medallist Yassine Rachik was the first European finisher, placing sixth in 2:13:22 on his debut at the distance.