20 000 runners in the streets of Paris
Victory for Dennis N'DIOSO in 01h02'34'' and Lena CHERUIYOT in 01h11'56''
The road of the pyramid in the bois de Vincennes was crowded with people this morning. 20 000 competitors took off for the 13th Semi-Marathon of Paris at 10h00. Michèle Blumenthal, mayor of XIIth district of Paris and Joël Lainé, event director launched the impatient bunch. Off they went for 21,1 kilometres of the race through Paris.
In freezing conditions, the Kenyan armada, that had just made it from Nairobi on Saturday, immediatley moved to the leading positions. With a strong face wind preventing any record hopes, the best runners remained together for the whole race.
At 1km from the finish, eight runners could still go for the win. Denis N’Diso, Paul Kimaiyo and Ismail Sghyr managed to break away for the final sprint. On the line, young Kenyan Denis N’Diso (21 years of age) clinched the win just a few metres ahead of Paul Kimaiyo. Ismail Sghyr managed a very good 3rd spot which promises for the upcoming Marathon.
In the women's race, as expected, victory went to Kenya's Lena Cheruiyot in excellent shape. Just behind, Polish Grazyna took second spot, a few metres ahead of France's Hafida Gadi who had only decided on Tuesday to compete in the race. Zahia Dahmani finished just off the podium like last year after a very good race.
Three days before the arrival of the CIO's inspection team for the decision concerning the 2012 Olympic Games, the 20 000 runners who competed in difficult temperature conditions proved to the World how popular and willing the French sporting Nation was.
Second race in France in terms of competitors after the Paris Marathon, this 13th edition of the Semi-Marathon proved to be a good preparation before the well-awaited rendez-vous of the 10th of April when the runners will take off from the Champs-Elysées for double the distance.
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