Ugandan marathoner Stephen Kiprotich has beaten all to win gold in the marathon of the World Athletics Championships in Moscow.
The London 2012 gold winner replicated his heroics on the Moscow course he said was “perfect” ahead of the triumphant Saturday race.
He clocked 2:09:01, beating three Ethiopians to the finish line.
AS IT HAPPENED
2.00pm – The marathon at the World Championships will start in 30 minutes, 2.30pm. Uganda is led by Olympic champion Stephen Kiprotich. This is the Ugandan team: Bib 1078 Abraham Kiplimo Season best 2:13:32 Personal best 2:13:32; Bib 1079 Jackson Kiprop Season best 2:09:32 Personal best 2:09:32; Bib 1080 Stephen Kiprotich Season best 2:08:05 Personal best 2:07:20
2.25pm – The marathoners are out on the track at Luzhniki and we will be getting started in about five minutes.
2.30 pm: Race starts. Conditions are significantly milder than they were for the women’s Marathon a week ago. In the shade it is cool.
2.35pm: We are six minutes into the run, which started off with Uganda’s Kiprotich taking the lead on the track. It ‘s now a battle on the open course!
2.46pm: It’s a run-in-a-pack moment on the Moscow course. The Ethiopians are leading the entire pack with their own little one, with the Ugandan pack closely keeping up from not so behind.
2.50pm: Around this time of the year last year (June), not all eyes were focusing on that one Ugandan athlete called Stephen Kiprotich in the 2012 London Olympics. Well, not until the moments towards the end of the historic race that saw the young marathoner who hails from Kapchorwa in eastern Uganda win gold for his country. This time, all eyes are set on him. Will he replicate his heroics? Race on!
3.00pm: 32 minutes into the race and an Ethiopian, whom I am yet to pick out well by name, is leading the whole pack. His intentions are out there in the open. ” Peel away from the rest!” he must be thinking. Well, he is a couple of yards ahead, but right in tow is the rest of the group. A Kenyan there, another Ethipioan, another Kenyan. Kiptorich is in 9th place now. He looks calm.
3.07pm: Time check: 40.05 minutes. The time seems to be racing ahead of the race! It’s a pacy run upfront. A pack of Kenyans is running tightly together right behind the Ethiopian who has managed to steady his determination at the pin-point front. Kiprotich is the only of the three Ugandans in the race in the fastest group so far. Very reminiscent of last year’s historic marathon, innit it?
Meanwhile, the sun’s up, but under Russian weather, that doesn’t necessary translate to sweltering temperatures. The runners could be sweaty but you out there in the crowds should be holding on tight onto your cardigan. Brrrrr!
3.25pm: The leading group is still featuring the same runners. Ethiopians, Kenyans, Ugandans, and one Eritrean who has shown his determination to keep up with the ‘Kips’. Are you surprised about who is who in the lead pack? No me! The eastern Africans have long proved they are the best of the best when it comes to long-distance running. And the script is reading pretty much the same today. We are approaching the hour-mark now.
OVER THE HOUR
3.33pm: It’s a little over the hour mark now and the book is still reading the same. A couple of cheers and hand-claps are put together by the crowds along the route, pushing the runners on. Ethiopians, Kenyans and two Ugandans, who include, Kiprotich, are still in the lead. Whatever is going through each athlete’s mind now!
3.50pm: No notable shift in the leading group as Uganda maintains two of its own in the leading group. But they have to keep up with a group of fellow athletes who are clearly driving forward every bit of the course on the engine of determination and endurance. From an aerial view, the leading pack looks quite bigger with the shadows of the runners keeping up with their ‘masters’. It is as tight from here as it is on the road. Nothing comes easy, right. What gives folks?
3.55pm: With 1 hour 28 minutes so far ran (going by the leading group), it is no doubt we are not more than 40 minutes away. The finish line is that far. But who has the will and power to push on and get there first? Has any of you watched Rat Race? That movie that features a whole crazy pack of the likes of Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg, John Cleese? All racing for one million dollars? Or, if you haven’t watched that, then you definitely haven’t missed out on The Amazing Race….that amazing American reality TV race show? It’s all about the will folks!
Let’s get back on the Moscow course now. Time check: 1 hour 28 minutes ran so far.
LESS THAN 25 MINUTES TO GO!
4.12pm: Very soon, this will be over. With less than 25 minutes left now, it is three Ethiopians, two Ugandans and one Kenyan left in the leading pack. Uganda’s hope remains in the form of two determined running objects in the form of Kiprop and Kiprotich. But now this where things get a whole lot messy and tricky. Remember how the then-little known young man from Kapchorwa broke away from his two Kenyan challengers, going all the way to win gold? Can Uganda see something lke this again? But now he and his fellow countryman have to beat a huge force of three Ethiopians who are looking determined to go for the kill !!!
JAPANESE IN THE MIX
4.20pm: The script has finally changed! It is Kiprotich in the lead, three Ethiopians righ on his heels and a JAPANESE! Now this is intense. Meanwhile, the Ugandan gold Olympian is clinging onto hi lead as the time ticks away. TIGHT!
KIP SIPS AND KEEPS IN THE LEAD!
4.25pm: Okay please if you are high-blood pressure medication, please look away here! Uganda’s Kiprotich reaches out for a bottle of water as he maintains his lead in the dying minutes of the heated race. But the duo of Ethiopians right under his nose are showing no way of backing away. It’s the three in the very lead. Righ behind are hungrier lions too! Could this be another of that delightful moment in Uganda’s historical books? Wondering what speed these guys are pacing? Please don’t try this at home!
GOING FOR GOLD!
4.33pm: He is still the man to beat!….. final minutes ladies and gentleman and Olympic gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich is shaking off a formiddable force of three Ethiopians.
GOLD FOR STEPHEN KIPROTICH!