SANTIAGO – Kenya’s Luka Rotich Lobuwan and Peru’s Inés Melchor cruised to their respective titles at the 11th Santiago de Chile Marathon, an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race, on Sunday.
Lobuwan clocked 2:09:37 to set a new course record in the Chilean capital while Melchor ran 2:34:12.
Lobuwan figured prominently in the lead pack from the start, with the first 10 kilometres covered in 31:26. A group of four athletes passed the halfway in 1:05:27 and by 25 kilometres (1:17:42) Lobuwan only had the company of his compatriot Julius Kipyego Keter.
Both athletes reached 35 kilometres in 1:50:21, with the duel between Lobuwan, the winner from 2015, and Keter, who won the race in 2011 and 2013, decided in the final 3000 metres, when Lobuwan made his decisive move.
The 28-year-old Lobuwan, who has a personal best of 2:08:12 from 2013, ran the third sub-2:10 race of his career, while Keter, also 28, improved his best to 2:09:55 from 2:10:31 set in 2013. Another Kenyan, Richard Sigei, was third in 2:12:10.
In the women’s race, after covering the initial 10km in a conservative 37:40, Melchor started to push the pace after crossing the midway point in 1:18:39 and found herself already alone by 25 kilometres (1:32:44).
The 30-year-old Peruvian, a lawyer by profession and South American record holder with 2:26:48 (2014), kept the pace steady through 35 kilometres, reached in 2:11:21.
The winner in 2015 in 2:28:18, Melchor covered the second half in 1:17:33.
“I am very pleased with the victory, which is dedicated to the people from my country after the natural disasters that hit us recently,” Melchor said.
“My goal was to run a confident pace and to achieve the qualifying standard for the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London. This victory gives me a huge boost after I had to abandon at the Rio Olympic Marathon.”
Ethiopian Alena Shewarge Amare was second with 2:36:46, while Kenyan Olga Cherono Kimaiyo, winner in Santiago in 2016, was third in 2:37:02.
The best Chilean finishers were Francisco Méndez (2:25:07) and Clara Morales (2:47:22).
A total of 28,000 runners took part in the three-race event. In the other distances contested, Chileans Carlos Díaz and Jennifer González won the 10km – which was short by some 500m – in 27:38 and 32:51. Chilean Enzo Yáñez and Peruvian Rocío Cántara took the half marathon in 1:05:14 and 1:17:17 respectively.
Conditions were pleasant with a start time temperature of 12° C with low humidity and around 16° at its conclusion.