Stephen Kiprotich has started the 2013 athletics season in the same fashion he signed off last year. The runner, who ended Uganda’s 40-year Olympic gold medal drought by winning the men’s marathon in London last August, recorded another victory in Spain on Sunday morning. In his first race of the season, the 23-year-old triumphed in the Granollers Half Marathon (21km) in 1 hour 1 minute and 15 seconds. It’s the fastest he has run over the distance.
Running in front of a partisan crowd, Kiprotich left Spanish athletics fans in disappointment after defeating home boy Carles Castillejo, the 2012 champion. In a field of 12,000 runners, Kiprotich had a great start, breaking off the pack alongside Castillejo and Kenyan David Maru after the 6km mark.
Heading into the second part of the race, Kenyan Maru started running in reverse, leaving Kiprotich and Castillejo to fight for the top slot. With the encouragement from the crowd, Castillejo gave Kiprotich a run for his money but couldn’t match the Olympic champion’s finishing push.
“It was a tough race but I was confident I would win,” Kiprotich said yesterday. “But I am happy I set a new personal best.” The star runner is taking off a few days in Holland before he returns to resume training in Eldoret, Kenya.