Prague, Czech Republic (IAAF) – Deressa Chimsa ran to form to win the men’s title in 2:06:25, the second fastest performance ever in Prague. He took command from shortly before 25k and beat the Kenyan duo of Stephen Tum and marathon debutant Philemon Limo.
Deressa Chimsa carries a considerable amount of muscle on his upper body for a distance runner and he showed a prize fighter’s swagger in breaking away from a leading group of eleven shortly before 25k. The Ethiopian was the fastest man in the field on lifetime performances, having brought his best down to 2:05:42 for eighth place in Dubai on January 27. The group had gone through halfway in 1:02:54, right on cue for a performance which might threaten the course record of 2:05:39, set by the Kenyan Eliud Kiptanui two years ago.
Chimsa’s second surge broke the group down to five and then he assumed the role of solo runner par excellence, yet with a good 15k still to run. It was an all-Kenyan chasing pack of marathon debutant Philemon Limo, Stephen Tum, winner of Marrakech on his debut in January, Julius Arile Lomerinyang and Nephat Kinyanui.
The front runner continued to look strong as he went through 30k in 1:29:36 with the lead now eleven seconds and growing. A contest of attrition was developing for the podium places behind Chimsa, as Stephen Tum dealt Philemon Limo a lesson in coping with the latter stages.
Deressa Chimsa extended his lead to a winning 51 second margin, reflecting that however hard the last 10k felt, he was confident.
“I knew I was strong before the race. The training had gone so well, I could be confident.”
Runner-up Stephen Tum was a happy man as well, having improved his winning debut in Marrakech on January 29 by one minute, 35 seconds.
Philemon Limo, the Prague 2011 half marathon champion, was in rueful mood afterwards, the effort showing in every sinew as ran the last couple of kilometres into the Old Square.
“Now I know what the marathon is about. I shall go away and train harder than ever before my next one.”
In a year that marks the 60th anniversary since the Czech’s own distance running legend, Emil Zatopek, completed his epic Olympic triple triumph by winning the marathon in the Helsinki Games, this is a host city and nation that will particularly appreciate the debutant’s reflections.
Andy Edwards (organisers) for the IAAF
1. Deressa Chimsa ETH 2:06:25
2. Stephen Tum KEN 2:07:16 pb
3. Philemon Limo KEN 2:09:25 debut
4. Francis Bowen KEN 2:10:05
5. Nephat Kinyanui KEN 2:11:06
6. Julius Arile Lomerinyang KEN 2:12:13
7. Wirimai Juwawo ZIM 2:14:38
8. Teferei Bacha ETH 2:14:38 (correct)
1. Agnes Kiprop KEN 2:25:40
2. Filomena Chepchirchir KEN 2:26:50
3. Meseret Debekle ETH 2:27:15 pb
4. Salem Ait ALG 2:27:21
5. Misiker Mekonnin ETH 2:29:46
6. Silvia Skvortsova RUS 2:30:27