Kenyans win Rome Marathon, continue African dominance

ROME, ITALY, SEPTEMBER 19: Metto David Kiprono, of Kenya poses on the podium after winning the men's 26th edition of the Rome's Marathon, Italy, on September 19, 2021. The Italian capital hosts a special dawn edition of the race at the end of the summer following two consecutive postponements of the March 2020 and March 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Riccardo De Luca/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Metto David Kiprono, of Kenya, poses on the podium after winning the men’s 26th edition of the Rome Marathon. September 19, 2021. /Getty Images

A one-year pause due to the coronavirus pandemic didn’t have a big impact on the victory stands at the Rome Marathon at the weekend, with African runners continuing their dominance.

Kenyan Clement Langat Kiprono took the overall championship for the 42.2-kilometer race in two hours eight minutes and 23 seconds.

Tanzanian Emmanuel Naibei finished second in 2:08:28, followed by Ethiopian Ulfata Deresa Guleta in 2:08:42.

Kiprono’s compatriot Peris Lagat Cherono won the women’s race in 2:29:29, followed by Kenyan Judith Jurubet in 2:30:50, and Ethiopian Jifar Fantu Zewunde in 2:32:02.

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 automatically entered 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 two hours and nine minutes, 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 made by Ethiopian Alemu Megertu in 2019.

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 women’s races, following the victory of Russian Galina Bogomolova in 2008. Cherono’s win broke a six-race streak of victories by Ethiopian runners.

Leave a Reply