Kenyan Clement Langat Kiprono and Peris Lagat Cherono [photo courtesy]

A one-year pause due to the coronavirus pandemic didn’t have a big impact on the victory stands at the Rome Marathon, with African runners continuing their long dominance of the race on Sunday, which was first run in 1982.

Kenyan Clement Langat Kiprono took the overall championship for the 42.2-kilometer (26.2-mile) race in 2 hours 8 minutes and 23 seconds. Kiprono came in five seconds ahead of Tanzanian Emmanuel Naibei, who finished in 2:08:28, followed by Ethiopian Ulfata Deresa Guleta, who took third in 2:08:42.

Kiprono’s compatriot Peris Lagat Cherono won her race by a more comfortable margin, finishing in 2:29:29, well ahead of Judith Jurubet, also from Kenya, who crossed the finish line in 2:30:50, and Jifar Fantu Zewunde of Ethiopia, who finished in 2:32:02.

All told, more than 7,500 runners were on the early-morning starting line in the shadow of Rome’s Colosseum. The city’s mayor, Virginia Raggi, was the race’s ceremonial starter.

Last year’s race was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and this year’s edition was pushed back from April, its normal spot on the calendar, for the same reason.

Runners who registered for the 2020 race were automatically entered in this year’s edition, and race finishers were awarded two medals: one for 2020 and one for 2021.

Kiprono was the fifth consecutive Rome Marathon champion to run under 2 hours and 9 minutes in his victory, but he was still short of the course record of 2:07:17 set by countryman Benjamin Kiptoo in 2009. Cherono was also slower than the course record of 2:22:52 run by Ethiopian Alemu Megertu in 2019, the previous edition of the race.

African runners have won the men’s title in 15 consecutive races, starting after Italian Alberico Di Cecco won in 2005, and they have won 12 straight races in the women’s division, following the victory of Russian Galina Bogomolova in 2008. Cherono’s win broke a six-race streak of victories by Ethiopian runners in the women’s division.

 

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