More than 13,300 runners took to the streets of London on a windy Sunday (10) morning for the second edition of The Vitality Big Half, a five star certified road race by European Athletics Running for All.
With seven weeks to go until the London Marathon, European marathon record-holder Mo Farah made it back-to-back victories as he outkicked training partner Bashir Abdi from Belgium and Kenya’s Daniel Wanjiru to take the win in a sprint finish.
Farah fell off the pace in the early stages after struggling with stomach cramps but the multiple world and Olympic champion bridged the gap in the seventh mile before going on to successfully defend his title in 61:15 by one second ahead of Abdi with Wanjiru a further second back.
“I kind of felt good at the beginning but then at four or five miles I just felt a little cramp, not a stitch, and it was bothering me, so I was just thinking ‘sit back and try and get through it’, which I did and then towards the end I felt fine again. I wasn’t panicking because the pace wasn’t that fast,” Farah told Athletics Weekly after the race.
— The Vitality Big Half (@OfficialBigHalf) March 10, 2019
Charlotte Purdue also successfully defended her title in the women’s race, coming through in the latter stages to win in 70:38 ahead of Steph Twell (71:33) and Charlotte Arter (71:44).
“I’m really pleased to retain the title. I wanted to run faster than last year but I feel like the conditions were so bad the time is better than last year,” said Purdue who won last year in 70:38.
Behind the elite races, 13,353 runners crossed the finish line by Cutty Sark in Greenwich today, braving the windy conditions to complete the second edition of the event, a community running festival for everyone, no matter their age, background or running ability.
Chemtai Salpeter wins Rome Ostia Half Marathon
European 10,000m champion Lonah Chemtai Salpeter from Israel was a dominant winner of the Rome Ostia Half Marathon on Sunday, winning in 66:40 but falling short of the course record by two seconds.
“Mixed feeling today,” said Chemtai Salpeter. “I’m happy for today’s performance at Huawei Roma Ostia Half Marathon as part of my spring marathon build-up but I’m disappointed to finish two above the course record.
“After spending a month in Israel for basic training and shorter races, I traveled to Iten 2 weeks ago for starting the specific Marathon preparations. In my opinion, today's race conditions were not 100% ideal as we were bothered by a 16km/h winds from the south. Also, I had some issues with the pacer,” she added.
Chemtai Salpeter’s time was more than one minute faster than her lifetime best and national record of 67:55 but the course is not record eligible.
Stefano La Rosa was the top European and domestic finisher in the men’s race, finishing seventh in 62:29.
Dossena sets European-leading time in the Nagoya Marathon
Italy’s Sara Dossena enjoyed a sizeable breakthrough in the Nagoya Women’s Marathon on Sunday, finishing seventh in a substantial lifetime best and European-leading time of 2:24:00.
Dossena took nearly four minutes off her previous mark of 2:27:53 which she set at the European Championships in Berlin where she finished sixth. The former triathlete only missed Valeria Straneo’s national record by 16 seconds in just her third career marathon.
“Everything went very well up until the 30th kilometre. The final part was more difficult with some slightly uphill stretches but I managed to more or less to keep up the pace,” Dossena told FIDAL after the race.
Dossena’s next objective is to compete in the marathon at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar which begin in late September.
The European Athletics Quality Road Race standards act as an assurance for road runners throughout Europe. They distinguish between races that respect the standards and those that haven’t sought certification or assessment. They form the foundation of Running for All, a strong recognisable brand for running activities throughout Europe.
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