Ali Kaya of Turkey cruised to dominating victory at the third edition of the Vodafone Istanbul Half Marathon, an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race, on Sunday (24).
Kaya, last year’s European cross country champion, clocked 1:00:16 to win by 15 seconds in a race that featured a rare head-to-head battle between world record holders Zersenay Tadese and Leonard Komon.
“It felt very, very good,” said Kaya, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on April 20, when sizing up his first victory in a road race. “I finished with a lot of power. For sure I could have been even faster. We were hoping for under 60 minutes.”
In the battle for the minor places, Komon was first of the quartet to be dropped, leaving Langat and Tadese to give chase. Neither managed to chip away at the deficit, and instead took turns at claims to the runner-up spot.
Tadese broke from the Kenyan for good with just under a kilometre remaining to finish second in 1:00:31 in his first race since late November.
Langat was third in 1:00:39 with Komon a distant fourth in 1:00:48.
“The first 10k was a little bit slow. So we tried to push in the last 10k,” Kaya said. “It was very windy towards the end but I finished with a lot of power.”
Leading Results: MEN
1. Ali Kaya, Turkey, 1:00:16
2. Zersenay Tadese, Eritrea, 1:00:31
3. Leonard Kipkoech Langat, Kenya, 1:00:39
4. Leonard Komon, Kenya, 1:00:48
5. Kenneth Kipkemoi Kiprop, Kenya, 1:01:09
6. Vincent Rono, Kenya, 1:01:23
7. Titus Mbishei, Kenya, 1:01:55
8. Evans Kigen Kurui, Kenya, 1:02:08
9. Emmanuel Bor, Kenya, 1:02:23
10. Evans Kiplagat, Kenya, 1:02:50