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Joyce Chepkirui wins ASICS Grand 10K in photo finish

Joyce Chepkirui (left) and Emily Chebet battle at the finish line. Credit: BERLIN RUNS / Action Photo

Joyce Chepkirui (left) and Emily Chebet battle at the finish line. Credit: BERLIN RUNS / Action Photo

World-class performances by Kenyans Joyce Chepkirui and Emily Chebet produced the highlight of the ASICS Grand 10 in Berlin on Sunday. In a photo finish Chepkirui clocked 31:02 in the lunchtime 10 k event, just edging out World Cross Country Champion Chebet who was given the same time.

Both Kenyans clocked the third fastest times in the year. Margaret Wangari Muriuki made it an all Kenyan podium with a fine 31:06 for third place. Ethiopia’s Kinde Atanaw took the men’s race with 27:49 from Kenyans Reuben Maiyo (28:04) and Wilson Too (28:07). A record number of 7,389 runners participated in the ASICS Grand 10 in fine weather conditions.

A group of four runners – Atanaw, Maiyo, Too and German Arne Gabius – passed the 5 k mark in 13:48. Little more than a kilometre later the group broke up, with Kinde Atanaw taking the lead. The Ethiopian kept going strong with some wind now slightly slowing the elite runners. With a finishing time of 27:49 the 21 year-old, who has a PB of 27:36, ran his third fastest 10 k time and the fastest in a German 10 k race this year.

Germany’s Arne Gabius, who prepares for his marathon debut in Frankfurt in two weeks time, showed fine form, improving his 10 k time to 28:08 for fourth place. He now is the third fastest German runner of all times behind Carsten Eich (27:47) and Jens Karraß (27:53) at this distance. Daniel Muteti of Kenya took fifth place with 28:57.

Joyce Chepkirui and Emily Chebet ran very fast from the start. Their 5 k time of 15:07 was world record pace. And it was indeed Paula Radcliffe’s eleven year old mark of 30:21 that Chepkirui and Chebet wanted to attack on the flat Berlin course. However with some headwind during the second half Chepkirui and Chebet realised that they would not succeed with their record attempt. The pace became slower and both women concentrated on getting the win, which involved some drama. Sprinting to the tape next to each other they produced a photo finish.

It was difficult to see who won, but Chebet later confirmed the official result: “Joyce was a little bit ahead of me.” Although she missed her personal best by just four seconds Chebet was still happy with her performance. “Without the wind we would have been faster,” said Chebet, who now plans to run a half marathon in Valencia next Sunday. “Next year it is my goal to defend my World Cross Country title.”

“Unfortunately the wind was too strong for a record today,” said Joyce Chepkirui, who holds the course record of 30:37. “But I will try to break the world record again in the future. And I would like to come back to Berlin next year to have another go.” Chepkirui will now prepare for the Honolulu Marathon in December.

There was a considerable gap behind third placed Margaret Wangari Muriuki. Germany’s marathon runner Katharina Heinig, the daughter of Katrin Dörre-Heinig, took fourth place with a personal best of 33:31. Fifth place went to Alina Reh. The 17 year-old German broke the national under 18 record with a time of 33:32.

More information is available online at: www.berlin-runs.com

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