Komen, Kosgei and Zanardi are the Venicemarathon winners
From several points of view, the 24th Venicemarathon, that was held on October 25 from Stra to Venice, was an extraordinary edition. On a warm day, Kenyan John Komen set a new race record in 2h08’13" (preceding record: Makori 2h08’49" in 2002, while Anne Kosgei broke the spell and finally won the race in 2h27’46" after three second places in different editions. Former Formula One driver Alex Zanardi obtained his first career victory in the hand-bike competition and almost 6,500 runners gathered in front of Villa Pisani at the marathon start. The only negative note was the disappointing 8th place by Giovanna Volpato, the local runner who was in search of a better performance. The competition, that saw for the first time an anticipated start of the élite female athletes, became very exciting in the last few miles, as often happens. Komen, that until 35th kilometer stayed well hidden in the leading group, took command of the race at the end of Ponte della Libertà where he started a strong progression despite the difficulty of the 14 bridges in the final 3 kilometers. Behind him finished the compatriots Paul Samoei (with a new personal best of 2h10’09") and Benson Cherono in 2h10’19". Komen, a former soccer player who entered the marathon world only last year, had already made clear during the pre-race press conference that he was in great shape and running for a victory. One of the favorites, Oleksandr Kuzin from Ukraine, finished 4th while while the first Italian to cross the finish line was Pasquale Rutigliano in 2h20’18". The female race was a fight between Kenya and Ethiopia, with Kosgei on one side and Yal Koren and Haji Makda on the other. The three stayed together until Parco San Giuliano (30th km), then the Kenyan attacked to avoid the risk of spoiling another victory on the Venetian course. Koren arrived second at the finish line with a delay of 55" (2h28’41”) while Alena Samokhvalova managed to finalize her pursuit of the leading group by surpassing in the last kilometers other Ethiopian Makda and almost reaching Koren as well: her final time was 2h28’47". Giovanna Volpato couldn’t do better than 2h32’12", time was valid for the 8th place. "I don’t know what happened and I’m still thinking about it. Marathon should be like math: if you are in shape, as I was, the calculations should be exact. But today something, unfortunately, went wrong”. Alex Zanardi – the testimonial for the Bimbingamba project, a charity supported by the Venicemarahon - put some icing on the cake while winning the hand-bike competition in1h13’56". "I really believed in my chances of victory! I cannot say that I was sure of winning, but I really hoped so. I made a mistake on a turn in Parco San Giuliano and went out of the track, then I had problems with the chain of my hand-bike, but I didn’t quit and I kept pushing even more until the finish line”. Behind Zanardi, Mauro Cattai was second (1h14’54”) and Christian Summit third (1h30’06”).