Bengaluru: Beating very hot and humid conditions, Mosinet Geremev and Peres Jepchirchir powered to impressive victories at the 9th TCS World 10K here today.
Taking control of the 8km-run, Geremew held on to win in 28.36 to become the first athlete to secure back-to-back titles.
Trailed by Kenyan John Langat and Bonsa Dida until the final lap on the track, Geremew pipped them by one second to earn a winner's cheque of USD 23,000.
"It was different this year because it was very hot," said Geremew, who like Jepchirchir arrived in Bengaluru after winning the Yangzhou Half Marathon.
"But at 9K I was sure that I would win." Despite the heat, he added with a smile, "I think I will come back next year."
Jepchirchir, the reigning world half marathon champion, broke from the field in the seventh kilometer to win in 32.15, 13 seconds clear of her Kenyan compatriot Helah Kiprop.
"The weather really was hot, but when I saw on my watch how slow the first three kilometers were, I said to myself, 'let me push'. So I pushed," said Jepchirchir, who followed up her victory at the World Half Marathon Championships with a win at the Yangzhou Half Marathon just three weeks ago.
"Those recent victories laid the foundation for the confidence she displayed in the race's second half. After seven kilometers I saw that I'm still strong, so knew that if I continued like this, I will win," she added. The races began under difficult conditions with a start- time temperatures of nearly 33 degree Celsius along with 90 per cent humidity.
Expecting the conditions to take their toll, Jepchirchir decided to run from the front early on in an effort to control the race. Her prediction proved correct: after just five kilometers, covered in a modest 16:31, only seven women remained in contention.
A kilometer later that number was reduced to three: Jepchirchir, Rio-bound marathoner Kiprop and Ethiopian Wude Yimer, the race winner in 2010.
Just beyond the 7K marker Jepchirchir made her bold break, building a nine-second lead by 8K and extending it to 13 seconds with one kilometer to go.
She maintained the margin through the finish to collect her fourth victory in as many races this year. Kiprop finished second in 32:28 minutes with Yimer, a former course record holder and runner-up here last year, third in 32:33. A different kind of drama played out in the men's contest. As a steady and cautious pace in the early stages did little to break up the lead pack of 12, Mule Wasihum, a sub-2:06 marathoner, decided to take matters into his own hands.