Despite heavy rainfall, 21-year-old Dorcas Kimeli won the Ottawa 10k on Saturday night, setting a PB of 31:09 at the IAAF Gold Label road race.
The Kenyan dominated the race, sharing the early spadework with her compatriots Valary Jemeli and Paskalia Kipkoech. After covering the first 5km in a sedentary 15:57, the pack was whittled down as Kimeli went to work.
Turning on to the final straight, only Jemeli was close and the gap between the two widened to the finish. Jemeli finished second in 31:12 which was also a personal best. Kipkoech completed the podium in 31:30. The winner collected CDN$5000.
“This is my first time in Canada,” Kimeli acknowledged. “I was confident because of my training. I believed in myself and I won. I was thinking around 7km we would push and then go on to a good time. It was my plan. “At first, I was worried (about the competition) but when the race started, I was confident and I dropped them one by one. I was thinking to win the race.”
Jemeli was gracious in second place and was clearly pleased with her effort which comes only 11 weeks after her third-place finish at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon.
“The pace was good because I have not done any 10k in Canada or anywhere,” Jemeli said. “I was thinking I might win the race but in the last stretch, my leg was in pain and she passed me. But I am very happy; it’s my personal best.”
Equally important to the Ottawa victory was the ‘gender gap’ contest which saw the elite women set out 3:40 ahead of the elite men. Spectators could follow the race on a split screen television as the men chased the women.
The men’s pack quickly evolved into five runners at the front with three Moroccans—Mohammed Ziani, Mohamed Reda El Aaraby and Abderrahmane Kachir —running alongside Kenya’s Moses Kibet and Wilfred Kimetei. Kibet did a lot of the early work, taking the pack through 5km in 14:19. Then Ziani went to the front a couple of times surging.
With two kilometres remaining it was the three Moroccans who appeared likely to fill the podium as Kibet and Kimetei went to the back. Kibet dropped well off the pace and out of contention but Kimetei had other ideas.
Ziani came around the final bend in front and sprinted away to a 28:12 victory. Kimitei finished four seconds behind with El Aaraby third in 28:22 and Kachir, racing for the first time outside Morocco, fourth in 28:33.