Eighth Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon ends in triumph for the RunCzech Racing Team
Securing the first two podium spots in the men’s category and a victory among the Czech women, members of the RunCzech Racing Team delivered fine performances at this year’s eighth edition of the Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon.
After winning the 2015 Olomouc race, Josphat Kiprop Kiptis from Kenya reigned supreme, proving he still has what it takes even in the summer heat. He was closely followed by his compatriot Kenneth Keter with both hailing from the RunCzech camp. First place overall among the women, was Worknesh Degefa from Ethiopia. While Eva Vrabcová, another RunCzech Racing member, secured a new race record for the Czech women. Meanwhile Jiří Homoláč was the first to cross the line among the Czech men in the unfavourably warm conditions.
Distance runners from a total of 49 countries flocked to Olomouc for the race. “For one weekend, Olomouc has been transformed into a world-class running city. I’m delighted that this wasn’t merely an occasion to showcase such a beautiful city to the world, but also played host to some excellent performances by our elite athletes running for the RunCzech Racing Team,” boasted RunCzech Organising Committee President, Carlo Capalbo.
A group of six African runners plus two pacemakers led from the start through the first half, after which Kenneth Keter picked up speed. His pace was only matched by Josphat Kiprop Kiptis and it was immediately clear that neither were prepared to let a win for the RunCzech Racing Team slip through their fingers without a fight. The only question was which of the two Kenyans would nab the victory. However at fifteen kilometres in Smetana Gardens Kiptis managed to pull ahead and he continued on to his second victory in Olomouc after a year off last year. “I’d like to thank the RunCzech Racing Team for their support, I couldn’t have done it without them. I felt great on the course. Kenneth and I both managed to get ahead of the rest and I was then able to edge past him. I’m really happy with the result,” revealed the clearly delighted winner who ran 1:01:50. Keter followed soon after with 1:02:14 with third place going to Amos Kibiwott Kurgat with a time of 1:03:21. In fourth place, Festus Talam, yet another RunCzech Racing Team member, also had a great race.
When it came to the women, the predictions on paper pointing to an Ethiopian victory, turned out to be correct. The duo of Worknesh Degefa and Netsanet Gudeta, stayed together until the sixteenth kilometre. From there onwards, Degefa finally opened a lead which she held to her finish of 1:09:19. “I experienced some problems in my groin yesterday but was able to run well in the race. I’m pleased I was able to run to my best ability and that it was enough to secure a win,” revealed an subdued Worknesh Degefa. She was able to secure victory despite a problem with her sock at the twelfth kilometre. Following her in second place with a time of 1:10:03 was Gudeta with third place going to Rose Chelimo in a time of 1:10:33.
A new Czech race record for Olomouc went to the current number one Eva Vrabcová seeing her improve her previous best for this event by more than three minutes to 1:12:01. “I felt really relaxed and had no idea I was running so fast. When I stopped at the refreshment stand at the third kilometre, I lost my pace a bit and was overtaken by a group of runners which cost me a few seconds and energy, but I managed. I thoroughly enjoyed today’s race thanks to the atmosphere. The spectators are an amazing backdrop to the race, and I even managed to high-five with some young boys and I hope they enjoyed the race just as much as I did,” Vrabcová revealed with a laugh. She was followed in second place by Petra Kamínková (1:20:20) and Marcela Joglová (1:21:14) securing bronze.
The winner among the Czech men, Jiří Homoláč, also commented on the fantastic race atmosphere. While he didn’t manage to set a race record on this occasion, it seemed to take nothing away from his sense of joy at the finish. “ I ran alone from the eighth kilometre onwards but I knew there were runners in front of me and was at least able to stay in contact that way. The Olomouc race course is beautiful and the spectators are simply amazing. I think that given the right conditions, it might actually be a faster course than Prague, but you can never choose the weather, said Homoláč who crossed the finish in a time of 1:06:29. He was followed in second place by Vít Pavlišta (1:09:31) with Pavel Dymák (1:10:59) running in third.
A grand total of more than 6,200 runners took part in this year’s eighth edition of the Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon, with other 3 500 participants in the dm family run.
Watch the highlights of the race here.
Watch the whole live broadcast of the race here.
TOP 10 MEN
1. Josphat Kiprop Kiptis | KEN | 1:01:50
2. Kenneth Keter | KEN | 1:02:14
3. Amos Kibiwott Kurgat | KEN | 1:03:21
4. Festus Talam | KEN | 1:04:19
5. Felix Kipchirchir Kandie | KEN | 1:04:55
6. Peter Some | KEN | 1:05:10
7. Javier Guerra | ESP | 1:05:21
8. Paulo Roberto Paula | BRA | 1:05:26
9. Roman Romanenko | UKR | 1:06:04
10. Jiří Homoláč | CZE | 1:06:29
TOP 10 WOMEN
1. Worknesh Degefa | ETH | 1:09:19
2. Netsanet Gudeta | ETH | 1:10:03
3. Rose Chelimo | BRN | 1:10:33
4. Lucy Cheruiyot | KEN | 1:10:36
5. Eva Vrabcová-Nývltová | CZE | 1:12:01
6. Polinne Wanjiku Njeru | KEN | 1:13:24
7. Olga Skrypak | UKR | 1:13:45
8. Olha Kotovska | UKR | 1:14:26
9. Sonia Samuels | GBR | 1:14:39
10. Christelle Daunay | FRA | 1:15:08