Kipkoech reaches the finishing line. /ñito salas

Kipkoech reaches the finishing line. / ñito salas

Kipkoech, winner of a very wet and windy Malaga Marathon, just misses out on course record

The Kenyan competitor was just 40 seconds short of Mark Korir’s record with a time of 2.08:19 on Sunday, although he did improve on his personal best

PEDRO LUIS ALONSO MALAGA.

It wasn’t as bad as 2016, when heavy rain at the starting time meant the race had to be suspended, but the 12th Generali Malaga Marathon was certainly marked by rain on Sunday. Despite the difficult conditions, however, the winner came very close to beating Mark Korir’s record-breaking time of 2.07:39 last year.

This year’s marathon was won by Barnaba Kipkoech, who like Korir is also from Kenya, with a time of 2.08:19, beating his personal best of 2h.09:12 (in Paris in October 2021), and only 40 seconds short of an all-time record over a 42.1 kilometre race.

Ethiopian Abdi Asefa Kebede came second, with a time of 2h.08:51, and Kenya’s Mathew Kibiwott Sang was third with 2h.09:19.

No records were broken by women competitors either, in the conditions of constant rain and strong winds along the coast. The winner, Risper Chebet from Kenya, completed the marathon in 2h.26:12, while Birke Debele Beyene was second with 2h.28:12 and Finnish runner Alisa Vainio came third with (2h.28:40).

Very difficult conditions

This year 8,000 runners took part, divided almost equally in the half-marathon and full marathon. This was a particularly hard race under such conditions, especially the stretch back to the city centre from the east, with a very strong headwind and almost non-stop rain. The final stretch was also very slippery in Calle Alcazabilla, Calle Granada, Calle Larios and the Plaza de la Marina, but there was plenty of encouragement for the competitors from onlookers who had also braved the weather conditions to see the finish.

New French record for women's half-marathon

In the half-marathon race it proved a historic day for Woldu Mekdes, 30, who broke the French record by ten seconds with a time of 1h.08:27. Her personal best had been the 1.09:43 in April in Berlin, when she came ninth, but her speciality is over 10,000 metres, which she has completed in 31.25.