Two record-breaking performance highlight a warm day in Portugal.
LISBON, Portugal – Sunny blue skies created a spectacular backdrop along the Portugal coastline, but there was little doubt the warm weather impacted the winning times at Sunday’s EDP Rock ’n’ Roll Lisbon Marathon & Vodafone Half Marathon. While the scenic marathon route stole the show, the day’s races still produced two record-breaking performances.
Kenyan Wilson Kiprop, the 2010 IAAF World Half Marathon champion, won the 13.1-mile event in 1 hour, 19 seconds, breaking the course record by a second. Eritrea’s Goitom Kifle and Teklemariam Medhin finished second and third, respectively, in 1:01:18 and 1:02:05.
PHOTOS: Rock ‘n’ Roll Lisbon
The women’s half marathon was won by Italy’s Valeria Straneo in 1:09:21. She was the first non-African, eman or woman, to win in 14 editions of the IAAF Gold Label Road Race. Ethiopia’s Worknesh Degefa took second in 1:11:08, with 2011 New York Marathon Champion Firehiwot Dado finishing third in 1:12:03.
Originally entered as a pacemaker, Kenya’s Paul Lonyangata won the inaugural marathon in 2:09:46, the fastest time ever run in Portugal. Ukraine’s Serhiy Lebid finished second in his marathon debut with a time of 2:11:24. Laban Mutai finished third in 2:12:41.
“I know it is not my best, but because I saw I might win the race I preferred to finish,” said Lonyangata, who completed his second marathon. “When I pushed the pace I saw nobody could come and decided to finish the race with a good time. It was hard because there was a little wind running in the front and it was warm.”
Kenya’s Agnes Kiprop won the women’s marathon in 2:31:15, which was far from her personal best of 2:23:43. Behind her, Kenya’s Lucy Kabuu clocked 2:32:07, while Melkam Gizaw finished third in 2:35:16.
“The weather was not good to us, it was too hot for me and there were some ups and downs,” said Kiprop, who finished 53 seconds ahead of the next finisher. “Maybe if the weather was good, I could have run 2:25 or 2:26.”
The two Lisbon events featured separate courses, with the half marathon starting at Vasco da Gama Bridge and the marathon beginning in the beach city of Cascais. The marathon course featured spectacular vistas weaving along the waterfront and past Lisbon’s historic landmarks, beautiful churches and numerous cultural attractions.
“It was a very beautiful course along the sea front. It was not an easy course with some ups and downs, but running alongside the sea with this weather was something, although perhaps a little too warm for the runners as I think we would have seen a much faster result if it was 5 or 6 degrees less,” said Sean Wallace-Jones, Senior Manager at the IAAF. “I think the first edition (of the marathon) was a great success and I look forward to receiving an application for an IAAF label.”
After touring the city of Lisbon, the courses came together to finish at Parque das Nações, where the 1998 World Exposition took place. The race also included a shorter distance Mini Marathon sponsored by EDP, which starts and finishes at the same location as the half marathon and allows for wider participation. All three races combined to attract more than 22,500 entrants.