Felix Kirwa wins a dramatic men's race at the adidas Stockholm Marathon


Justin Lagat

This is Justin Lagat's column on the adidas Stockholm Marathon. Justin did a piece on the marathon debut of Pauline Korwikwiang last week, who took second here in her debut.

Some curious challenges for the lead men marathoners in the Stockholm race-they ran an extra 1.1 kilometers.

Felix Kirwa Stockhom lo 1.jpeg

Felix Kirwa, at 35k in Stockholm marathon, after a 1.1km sojourn off the course, photo by Justin Lagat from adidas Stockholm broadcast

In an interesting 2022 Adidas Stockholm marathon race that had a dramatic turn of events in the men's race that definitely cost the lead runner the course record, two debutants emerged top in the women's race as Felix Kirwa of Kenya fought all the obstacles thrown at him, including taking a wrong turn and having to race back to the course again, to emerge victorious in the men's race.

There was a clear determination by Kirwa from the start of the race as he quickly moved to the front just after the start gun went off. He was confident enough to stay alone ahead of the chasing pack that had eight runners, that early in the race.

Seven runners were together in the leading pack at around the 10km point, but still, Kirwa appeared to be in control. The seven went up past the half marathon point before the group split further to four runners, then to three.

The unfortunate happened as they approached the 35km point when the three went off-course. But, despite losing about 1.1km in the mishap, Merhawi Kesete of Eritrea and Kirwa fought their way back - overtaking a number of runners who had already taken advantage of the situation - to the lead again.

Felix extended his lead in the last few kilometers to cross the finish line first in 2:11:08, missing the course record of 2:10:10 that Nigussie Sahlesilassie ran in 2019. Kesete followed for 2nd place at 2:11:45 ahead of John Langat who came in third at 2:12:39.

The women's pace was relatively slower compared to the men's as a huge pack kept together in the leading pack. They were down to four at the halfway point before Tsige Haileslase of Ethiopia broke away with Kenya's Pauline Korikwiang. This would explain the slow early pace of the race as the two runners were doing their marathon debut, and perhaps did not want to make any mistakes.

21-year-old, Haileslase would gradually build the gap on Korikwiang toward the end of the racing before emerging victorious in 2:31:48. Korikwiang followed at 2:32:18 for second place while Mercy Kwambau of Kenya finished a distant third in 2:33:43.
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