Ondoro eases to victory in Bristol half marathon
DOMINIC Ondoro produced the fastest time in ten years to win the 24th Bristol half marathon yesterday.
The 24-year-old, who is coached by the legendary Yobes Ondieki in his homeland, followed up his victory in the Swansea Bay 10 the previous week with a handsome win in a time of 62mins 51secs.
That was the first time in ten years that the winner had broken 63 minutes for the event and such was Ondoro's dominance that he finished 43 seconds clear of training partner Bernard Rotich, both of whom had spent the week in Bristol preparing for the race.
"I am very pleased with my victory and I really enjoyed the race," said Ondoro. "The crowds were nice and cheered me on the whole way and that helped."
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For a brief moment it seemed that London-based Paul Martelletti had broken the African grip on the top end of the race as he came across the finish line in third with a big personal best of 63min 50ecs.
But the New-Zealand born runner, who had just received his British citizenship on Thursday, showed his sense of fair play and honesty by admitting that had taken a wrong turning in the final mile.
"I was on my own in fifth place with the four Africans well clear in front of me when I came to this mini roundabout, didn't see a marshal and took the wrong turning," said Martelletti. Suddenly I was in third place and ran a big personal best.
"It is so annoying I was running well and would have been still on for 65 minutes which would have still been a PB."
Martelletti would have also returned home with the £750 prize as top Brit plus a potential £200 bonus for breaking 65 minutes.
Instead he was disqualified and went home empty-handed.
Instead the honour of finishing first Briton went to Neilson Hall of Bedford & County AC in fifth while the top local runner was Bristol & West AC's Tom Merson, who was 20th in a personal best time of 68mins 31secs.
In her first race outside Kenya Emily Biwott won the women's prize after a good duel with countrywoman Eunice Kales as the pair clocked 71mins 22secs and 71:39 respectively.
In third there was a superb debut from the University of Birmingham student Hannah Walker, much to the delight of race commentator Bud Baldaro who coaches the 21-year-old.
"I really enjoyed the race and there was so much support around the course," said Walker.
England mountain running international Emma D'Alton of Westbury Harriers was the top local female finisher. D'Alton, who only last month competed in the gruelling Jungfrau Mountain International in Switzerland, was 10th in the women's race and 77th overall .