Charles Langat, Irene Kimais bag wins as Kenyans reign supreme at Barcelona Half Marathon

ATHLETICS Charles Langat, Irene Kimais bag wins as Kenyans reign supreme at Barcelona Half Marathon

Abigael Wafula 09:05 - 19.02.2023

The Barcelona Half Marathon was held on Sunday, February 19, 2023.

The 2022 Jeddah Half Marathon champion Irene Kimais and 2022 Luso Half Marathon winner Charles Langat are the 2023 Barcelona Half Marathon victors.

The men’s race had attracted strong opponents from Ethiopia but debutant Langat against all odds obliterated the strong field to clinch the title in 58:53. Ethiopia’s Birhanu Legese and another Kenyan, Solomon Yego settled for second and third places in respective times of 58:59 and 59:29.

At the 5km mark, Legese looked composed as he led the pack of athletes which included compatriot Gebrie Erkihun and the Kenyan trio of Yego, Isaac Kipkemboi and Enos Kakopil.

Langat was in the chasing pack but as the athletes were passing through the 10km mark, he managed to close the gap. Langat took the lead at the 15km mark where he managed to open a wider gap between him and Legese.

With the finish line in sight, he then unleashed a finishing kick which saw him clinch the highly contested title.

In a post-race interview, Langat said: “I really enjoyed the race…I was more courageous and that is what propelled me to victory.”

Meanwhile, the women’s race had also attracted a strong field of athletes including the women’s 1500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia who was lining up as a pre-race favourite.

Passing the 5km mark was the Kenyan quartet of Gladys Chepkurui, Catherine Reline, Kimais and the 2021 London Marathon champion Joycilline Jepkosgei. The quartet maintained the momentum as they went through the 10km mark with Reline leading the pack.

At the 15km mark, Jepkosgei had taken the lead but could not keep up when Kimais decided to unleash a sprint finish and clinch the title in 1:04:37. Jepkosgei and Reline settled for second (1:04:46) and third (1:05:39) places respectively.

Dibaba finished fourth in 1:05:46 as Chepkurui followed closely in 1:05:46.

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