Posted by: Joe English | March 22, 2009

Races — Lel and Goucher show their stuff at Libson Half-Marathon

LISBON — In what appears to have been a major tune-up race for many athletes preparing for next month’s London and Boston Marathons, Martin Lel and Kara Goucher showed that they are in top form. The two won the men’s and women’s races respectively, in front of top elite fields.

Lel took the overall title in 59:54 with Goucher winning by 30 seconds over the women’s field in 1:08:30.

Also showing that he is in top form was Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot of Kenya, the multi-year Boston Marathon champ, who cruised home to third in 1:00:02.

World record holder Sammy Wanjiru was the biggest surprise as he finished seventh in 1:01:23. Wanjiru has twice set the world half-marathon record, but did not compete in last year’s world championships, citing his recovery progress and training status after the Olympics. He has been quoted as hoping to run a world record in the marathon in Berlin later this year.

Goucher, third in last fall’s New York marathon on her debut at the distance, fought off the challenges of the Kenyan pair of Alice Timbilili and Jane Kiptoo – who clocked 1:09:00 and 1:09:07 respectively.

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