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Nov 26 - Dec 8, 2019
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Chepngetich wins first medal of Doha 2019

Bahrain’s Chelimo and Namibia’s Johannes win silver and bronze in first Midnight Marathon at World Championships.
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Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich celebrates on reaching the finish line in the Midnight Marathon on the Corniche in Doha. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

Caps filled with ice were out and so were the wet towels as runners tried their best to cope with the conditions in the first Midnight Marathon of an Athletic World Championships.

For Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich, there was no need for such precautions on the Corniche. The occasional wet sponge and her bottles of water were enough to see her through to a comfortable victory in 2hrs 32mins 43sec and pick up the first medal of Doha 2019 in the early hours of Saturday.

RESULTS

  • 1. Ruth Chepngetich (Kenya) 02: 32:43
  • 2. Rose Chelimo (Bahrain) 02:33:46
  • 3. Helalia Johannes (Namibia) 02:34:58
  • 4. Edna Kiplagat (Kenya) 02: 35:36
  • 5. Volha Mazuronak (Belarus) 02:36:21

On a day when the humidity was telling on the 68-woman field, with 23 of them pulling out midway, Chepngetich was a contrast. She was steady and calm and even dashed to the finish in the last 100M, indicating just how much energy she had in reserve.

Chepngetich could never dominate the race as Bahrain’s Rose Chelimo (2:33:46), Namibia’s Helalia Johannes (2:34:15) and her own team-mate Edna Kiplagat (2:35:36) closely followed her as part of the leading bunch. They stayed close on her heels for a majority of the run. What she did was hold back some energy in reserve and that paid off in the end.

The leading bunch stuck together until around the 20km mark. Maybe it was caution that had set in, given the conditions and none of them really attempted to step up the pace or pull away from the rest.

When they were together even in the last five kilometres, a close finish seemed to be on the cards and a change in tempo was expected. It was Chepngetich who effected that change breaking away in the last two kilometres.

Surprisingly, there was no challenge from either Chelimo or Johannes. While Chepngetich seemed to have the energy for the final push, the others seemed content to just hang on. Chepngetich was allowed to build up a comfortable lead and race away to the finish. While Chelimo was no match for Chepngetich on the day, she was far superior to Johannes finishing second by a huge margin.

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Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich (centre), Bahrain’s Rose Chelimo (right) and Helalia Johannes of Namibia after the Midnight Marathon on the Corniche in Doha.IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran