Mbote and Kwambai win ,25 km von Berlin
The Kenyan had won the 25 k race in 2001 and 2002 as well
2003-05-06Four weeks earlier Kenyans dominated the Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON. Now they have come back to Berlin to take the first few places in another major road race. Jason Mbote and Caroline Kwambai won the ,25 km von Berlin. That meant of course that Magdaline Chemjors win streak in the German capital had come to an end. The Kenyan had won the 25 k race in 2001 and 2002. And she also triumphed in the Bewag BERLIN HALF MARATHON a month ago. But now she was denied the hat trick by Caroline Kwambai. The Kenyan won the race in a time of 1:24:50 hours, just twelve seconds ahead of Chemjor. Svetlana Demidenko (Russia) took third behind the two Kenyans in 1:26:22. It was much more a Kenyan affair in the mens race. They took the first six places and eleven of the first twelve. After a race that was more determined by tactics than by speed Jason Mbote won the 23rd edition of Berlins 25 k race in 1:15:07. Just two seconds behind Wilfred Kigen crossed the finish line.
5,400 runners plus 1,400 inline skaters from 43 nations took part in the event, which is started in front of the Olympic Stadium. It will be next year when building work in the arena has progressed far enough, so that the finish of the race will return into the stadium. That is when organizers of Berlins athletics federation hope to attract much more runners again.
“I did not expect to win here, because I had heard about this race before. It is a hard one with good competition and a course that is not easy in the last part because it slightly climbs up. So I am the more happy to have won here – and it is in fact my biggest success so far“, the 25-year-old Jason Mbote said. “I think I could have run a better time, but the first part of the race was slow.“ Although running slightly downwards during the first five kilometres a big leading group of about a dozen runners reached 10 k in moderate 29:58 minutes, after they had passed Brandenburg Gate. After another 10 k, which lead right through Berlins city centre with Friedrichstraße, Potsdamer Square and Kurfürstendamm, the 20 k point was reached in 60:04 minutes by a group of six Kenyans. The slight climb up had tired some of them, but not all. So it was only during the last couple of hundred metres that Jason Mbote managed to get away from Wilfred Kigen by a couple of strides.
It was not before last year that Jason Mbote ran his first race outside Kenya. His manager is Pieter Langerhorst, the Dutchman who is the husband of Lornah Kiplagat. So Jason Mbote mainly trains in Iten (Kenya), where Kiplagat and her husband run a training camp. There have been a number of winners from Kenya in Berlins 25 k race in recent years, who were new faces then but later became well known as world class marathon runners: Elijah Lagat won the 25 k in 1995, Kenneth Cheruiyot in 1997 and Rodgers Rop ran the world best in 2001 (1:13:44). But we will have to wait before we know if Jason Mbote could be one of the next big names in the marathon. “I am not planning to run my first marathon before autumn next year“, Mbote said. His next race will still be a marathon – but only as a pacemaker will he start in Vienna. It is just three weeks ago that he did this sort of job in Rotterdam. And when he dropped out after 27 k he had passed the 25 k mark in 1:14:59. So he has already proofed that he can run the distance faster. Today in Berlin it was about winning – and he finished this job as well.
It had been Magdaline Chemjor who set the pace in the womens race, leading Caroline Kwambai and Lenah Cheruiyot through 5 and 10 k (16:15 and 32:42 minutes). “Then I thought I was probably running a too fast. So I slowed a bit“, Chemjor said. She was well below the course record of 1:24:29 (Susan Chepkemei/1999) at these two points. But aiming for the record she probably went out too fast. After dropping behind the other two in the middle of the race she reached them again a couple of kilometres later. But while Lenah Cheruiyot got muscular problems and was only be able to jog into the finish far behind, Caroline Kwambai did not slow. “In the end I lacked strength“, Chemjor said. Four weeks ago she had won the Berlin half marathon, this time she was beaten.
“I thought Magdaline would win, because she has more experience. She was strong, and it was not easy to leave her behind on the last kilometre“, Caroline Kwambai said. The 27-year-old said she had started running at the age of 15 and qualified for Kenyans World Junior Cross team at once. If you look back at those results from Aix-les-Bains you can see what sort of potential Kwambai had in 1990: She finished fourth, four seconds behind winner Liu Shixiang (China), and helped winning the team title for Kenya. Just one second ahead of her was Susan Chepkemei in third place. Tegla Loroupe was 16th.
It took her long to find back the way to Europes races. “In 2000 I ran my first road race in Europe“, Caroline Kwambai said. She has the same manager as Jason Mbote: Pieter Langerhorst. But in contrast to Mbote she does not want to wait much longer before running her debut marathon: “I am thinking of this autumn or next spring. It would be nice to achieve a time of about 2:28 for a start.“
25 km von Berlin:
Men: 1. Mbote KEN 1:15:07, 2. Kigen KEN 1:15:09, 3. Peter Kiprotich KEN 1:15:15, 4. Kenduiywo KEN 1:15:20, 5. Metto KEN 1:15:38, 6. Kasimili KEN 1:15:50, 7. Bensalem MAR 1:16:13, 8. Kibet KEN 1:16:47.
Women: 1. Kwambai KEN 1:24:50, 2. Chemjor KEN 1:25:02, 3. Demidenko RUS 1:26:22, 4. Jerotich KEN 1:34:47, 5. Afoniouchkina RUS 1:36:45, 6. Wolfrom GER 1:37:56.
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