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Senegal - Marathon Eiffage: Kenya's Kipyego wins ahead of Mor Fall

marathon Eiffage
Senegal - Marathon Eiffage: Kenya's Kipyego wins ahead of Mor Fall

The 4th edition of the Dakar Eiffage Marathon took place this Sunday in the streets of the Senegalese capital. Unsurprisingly, Kenya won the two main races thanks to Kipyego in the men's race and Cherotich Milgo in the women's race. The big surprise came from Senegalese athlete Mor Fall. The regional star finished 2nd in the men's marathon with a very respectable time. This 2023 edition also saw record numbers of runners, with 14 registered for the various events on Saturday November 18 and Sunday November 19.

The esplanade of Dakar's Grand Théâtre National was the setting for the start of the 6 races in the 2023 edition of the Dakar Eiffage Marathon. An urban circuit was designed for the 42.195 km Marathon, the 21 km half-marathon, the 10 km race for able-bodied runners and the three events for people with reduced mobility. The route takes in the main avenues of the city center, passing along Dakar's beautiful corniches with a breathtaking view of the ocean. A breath of fresh air for athletes already dulled by kilometers of effort.

No surprises for the Kenyans

The scorching heat was the main theme of this 4th edition of the Eiffage Dakar Marathon. At 7:00 a.m. local time, the sun broke through for the long-awaited start of the Marathon, the weekend's premier race. No need to intimidate the several hundred people who had registered for the 42 km, 195 km route. At the start of the men's and women's Marathon, the two Kenyan and Ethiopian colonies did not go unnoticed.Ready for battle, they will also have to manage their effort in a climate that is far from clement.

In this game, it's the Kenyans who come out on top. Alice Cherotich Milgo dominated the women's marathon ahead of Azeb Tesfay Gebremedhin (Ethiopia) and Pascaline Manga of the Senegalese Armed Forces. Kenyan Cherotich Milgo won in 02:43:57. His compatriot Geoffrey Kipyego won the men's race in 02:25:13. An experience he'd already like to repeat."I'd like to come back next time because I loved Dakar. The last 5 km were difficult because of the heat. The race was very competitive and I really enjoyed it," he told Sport News Africa.

The 36-year-old was severely challenged by the race conditions and had to hold his own against Senegal's Mor Fall, who was on his tail for the first part of the race. Kipyego, who holds a Marathon personal best of 02:14:54, had to settle for the 42 km, ten minutes faster than his personal best."My time wasn't too bad (2h, 25mn, 13 sec) because, as you can see, it was very hot and it showed on the course. We couldn't run any faster or we wouldn't be able to finish the race. We needed a certain balance in the pace of the race", he explained.

Mor Fall, the regional revenant of the stage

A special feature of the Eiffage Marathon is the ranking of Senegalese runners, to ensure that the elite athletes don't take all the stakes. The first Senegalese runner of the Marathon wins a car. In the women's category, Pascaline Manga of the Association sportive des Forces armées (ASFA) was the lucky winner of the car, finishing 3rd in 03:47:45, more than an hour behind the winner.

While the gap between expatriate and local athletes on the women's side might come as a shock, it was not the case on the men's side. The first Senegalese finished 2nd in the Marathon ahead of Philip Ngetich (Kenya), a half-marathon specialist with a record time of 01:02:52. Most impressive of all was Fall's time of 02:30:05, less than 5 minutes behind the winner. Ultra-motivated after the sad episode of the 2021 half-marathon, where he crossed the finish line first before being downgraded, the AS Douanes resident took his revenge this year.

A 16-time Senegalese champion in the 1,500 m and 5,000 m, Mor Fall was keen to prove his worth in front of the marathon's elite. "I won the half-marathon in the last edition before being disqualified by the organizers. It was a mistake on their part," he says. This year I had set myself the goal of running the Marathon, my first 42 KM. I came to prove to them that I deserved to win in 2021, and this year again I've worked for that reward," he confesses to Sport News Africa.


A double world athletics champion as Guest Star

The 4th edition of the Dakar Marathon may not have attracted the world's best marathon runners, but it can boast an XXL sponsor. Ladji Doucouré, world champion in the 110 m hurdles and 4 x 100 m relay in 2005 in Helsinki (Finland), was chosen by the organizers to promote the event, as he did for the first edition in 2016 with Haile Gebreselasie.Doucouré showed his pride to Sport News Africa.

I think the Dakar Marathon has evolved and adapted," explains the native of Juvisy-sur-Orge (France). We're in front of a sporting public, which has responded to the challenge. The Senegalese people love sport and partying, and we know that in three years' time there'll be the Youth Olympic Games. That's going to be a great thing.As a Franco-Senegalese-Malian, I'm proud to see so many people taking part. We had some great races," he enthused.

A total of 14,000 people registered over the weekend, including 6,000 for the hike, and a thousand children for the Kids Stadium on Saturday November 18. On the menu in the Marathon village: fun activities for the whole family, and introductions to athletics initiated by the Senegalese National Sports Committee.






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