(Verona) – It was a record for the tenth edition of Gensan Giulietta & Romeo Half Marathon that was run this morning in Verona. Record for the path, for the public, for solidarity, for smiles, for the desire to be there, compete and have fun in the most popular half marathon of northern Italy with the Gold Label awarded by FIDAL.
Three great characters will remain in the history of this event. The first one is the undoubtedly fastest, the Kenyan Edwin Koech who signed the primacy of the race with high rhythm: 1h00’24” time signed on arrival in Piazza Bra after crossing the Arena. A great time, definitely better than 1h00’51” made in 2014 by his compatriot William Kibor. Koech took today his second victory on Verona’s streets because he was the king of Veronamarathon on November 2016. Two months ago he won the marathon in 2h10’53”. Today has signed important partials times: 14’48 “at 5000 meters, 29’15” at 10,5km, 42’45 “at the 15km with a final average of about 2’50” for kilometer: “I wanted to come back to this beautiful city – he said after crossing the finish line – I have trained hard in Kenya where I live in Kapsabet training with the great Stanley Biwott who won the New York Marathon in 2015. I centered the victory, I improved my personal that was 1h01’16 “and especially I made happy the audience and the organizers doing the path record. I ran practically alone since the third kilometer, I was already going strong but I still accelerated. It is not easy this path of Verona and this makes me realize that maybe with the help of a hare here it is possible to run under the hour wall. I will return and I will try to sign a 59’50″which I think it is in my ability. Meanwhile, I now focus on a big marathon to do in April”.
Distant 2’43 “, in 1h03’08” finished the race in second position Bernard Bett, he could not do the “bis” again after the success of last year. The third position for the winner of 2013, Robert Ndiwa, who finished the race in 1h03’15”. After the podium, there was space for the “blue color” athletes thanks to Xavier Chevrier, the Italian national mountain runner and road racer, able now to race in 1h04’52.
The second protagonist today is the winner of the women’s race Mimi Bele Gebregeiorges, Ethiopian-born but with an asian passport from Bahrain. It was her debut on the distance of 21,097 and she did it in 1h09’15 “, a new race record. She beats 1h09’45 “which belonged to Valeria Straneo in 2014 when she won the Italian Championship. Even for her, Olympic in 1500 and in the 5000 meters, a race alone. “I have an immense happiness inside me right now – says the champion – It ‘was my first half marathon and I knew I could do a great time but I had to prove it to myself first. I started fast and I tried to keep a high rhythm from the first half of the race. I also suffered a bit tired, especially in the last kilometers, but two things happened that made me hold on to the end. The run through the streets crowded with people of this wonderful city and the many amateur runners who met in the streets where there was a back and forth. The warmth and the fans are great, I had the chills, it was important for me to feel this warmth”.
Podium completed by two Italians, the “azzurre” Fatna Maraoui second with 1h12’37 “and Rosalba Console just behind with 1h12’48” for the third place of prestige.
The third character of the day is the almost 51 years old Veronese Max Bogdanich. No podium for him but a role of protagonist for the initiative called “Max Overtaking”. The Italian Master marathon champion of the 2015 and 2016 left for last, after all, with the intention to overtake all if not most. Not at his best physically, he gritted his teeth and has surpassed more than seven thousand people, allowing the Association Abeo to incase 1€ donated by Agsm for each person that he surpassed in the way. Official time on the finish line was 1h20’28 “, in real-time since it has actually passed the starting line 1h16’22”, big time if you considered the slalom needed to overcome the mass of athletes before him. He arrived in 112th position, allowing to donate a lot thanks also to two guardian angels as the Olympic mountain bike Paola Pezzo and ultra Ironman Giampaolo Bendinelli that escorted him cycling. It ‘s official news that Agsm, represented today by President Fabio Venturi, has rounded the amount available to the charity in favor of Abeo in euro 10,000.
Gensan Giulietta & Romeo Half Marathon, as always, was dedicated to Sergio Pennacchioni an unforgettable man of Verona sports. The Trophy, set up by the organizers in his name, rewards the most represented sports club in the race and this time went to Team Km Sports with 158 athletes today at the finish line.
With competitive 21,097 km race it was run today the Agsm Duo Half Marathon, the non competitive event open to everybody, a relay race: 10,5km for each of the two people team, with up to 700 teams present at the start.
So it stores a record-breaking tenth edition with the big Pasta Party at the final at Agsm PalaSport where all the award ceremonies were also held. Next appointment on March 5th always in Piazza Bra with the charity race dedicated to women ‘La corsa di Giulietta’ and then to November 19th, with a new edition of Veronamarathon. The 42.195 km will be highlight in Italy because the competition will be valid as FIDAL Italian Absolute Championship and Masters. The strongest Italian marathon runners of all ages will come to Verona to win the national title. Will be chills and thrills like today, as often happened in the past and how, we are sure, it will happen in the future.