Muhitira misses Half Marathon target in Italy

Felicien Muhitira missed his target of making it to top three at the 44th Roma Ostia Half Marathon on Sunday in Italy. Muhitira finished in fifth place in a race won by American Galen Rupp.
L-R: Rwanda's Felicien Muhitira finished in fifth place, although his target was to come in the top three. | Galen Rupp in action in the marathon. / Net photo.
L-R: Rwanda's Felicien Muhitira finished in fifth place, although his target was to come in the top three. Galen Rupp in action in the marathon. / Net photo.

Men, top five
1. Galen Rupp (USA) 59:47
2 Moses Kemei (Ken) 1:00:44
3. Justus Kangogo (Ken) 1:01:02
4. Emmanuel Kipsang (Ken) 1:01:33
5. Felicien Muhitira (Rwa) 1:02:05

Women, top five
1. Haftamenesh Tesfay Haylu (Eth) 1:09:02
2. Dera Dida (Eth) 1:09:21
3. Rebecca Chesir (Ken) 1:11:04
4. Amane Shankule Beriso (Eth) 1:12:08
5. Jelela Koren Yal (Eth) 1:13:30

Felicien Muhitira missed his target of making it to top three at the 44th Roma Ostia Half Marathon on Sunday in Italy. Muhitira finished in fifth place in a race won by American Galen Rupp.

Rupp, a Rio Olympics 2016 Full Marathon bronze medallist, clocked a personal best of 59:47 to win the annual 21.1km race in which he was taking part for the first time. Rupp also won silver in men’s 10,000 metres in track race at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

The 31-year-old beat Kenyan Moses Kemei by 57 seconds and another Kenyan Justus Kangogo (1:01:02), who was on the podium for the second consecutive year after finishing second last year.

Emmanuel Kipsang, also from Kenya, used 1 hour, 1 minute and 33 seconds to finish fourth while Muhitira completed the top five, crossing the finish-line in 1:02:05.

Speaking to Times Sport from Rome on Sunday, Muhitira said he was contented with the result and he now looks forward to working harder for the upcoming races, including the 2018 IAAF World Half Marathon Championship slated for March 24 in Valencia – Spain.

“It is unfortunate that I failed to finish in top three, but, overall I did well and I look forward to doing better in future races. I raced against some of the world’s best, I am not disappointed with the result,” Muhitira said.

The 23-year-old added that, “I am racing for a new team with a new coach and I already like it. Roma Ostia Half Marathon is a promising start. I am contented with my performance here today.”

The top-five group formed by Kipsang, Kangogo and Kemei from Kenya, Hurisa Desalegn Derara from Ethiopia and Rupp set off at a very fast 13:50 for the first five kilometres, which indicated a possible final time under the 59-minute barrier.

Kangogo led at halfway closely followed by Kemei, Kipsang and Rupp on an uphill section of the course, reaching the halfway mark in 28:09.

At 14 kilometres, Kemei and Rupp broke away from Kangogo by five seconds and reached the 15 kilometres in 42:44. A kilometre later, Rupp had built an eight second lead on Kemei.

Upping the pace, Rupp reaching 18 kilometres in 51:09 extended his lead over Kemei by 40 seconds with one kilometre to go.

The US long distance star smashed his previous career best time of 1.00:30 set at the New York Half Marathon in 2011 and narrowly missed Ryan Hall’s national record of 59:43.

Rupp becomes the first non-African winner in the men’s race since 2004 Olympic marathon champion Stefano Baldini took the honours in 1997.

Meanwhile, Ethiopian Haftamenesh Haylu Tesfay took the honours in the women’s race in 1:09:02 beating her compatriot Dera Dida by 19 seconds. Kenyan Rebecca Chesir took third position in 1:11:04 improving on her fourth place in last year’s edition.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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