Kenya’s Boniface Kongin beat pre-race favourite Loitarakwai Lengurisi to win the 2014 Lloyds Bank Cardiff Half Marathon
Kongin (Run Fast) finished third in last year’s race but produced a commanding performance to see off 2013 winner and course record-holder Lengurisi (Run Fast) with a winning time of 62:02.
He built a lead of 20 seconds after six miles and had increased it to more than 40 seconds by 10 miles. Kongin’s winning time took 48 seconds of his previous best with Lengurisi second in 63:06 and Uganda’s Ben Siwa third in 64:16.
Kongin said: “It’s a fast course. I would have preferred it a little warmer but I enjoyed it.
“I came third here last year so I am happy to come first.
“The city is very pretty, I enjoyed the scenery and I want to come back here next year to defend my title.”
Tipton Harriers’ Ryan McLeod showed impressive form as he claimed the British Half Marathon Championships title in 64:57, taking 22 seconds off his previous best over the distance.
McLeod, 29, who is now being coached by his legendary father Mike, said: “It’s a very, very fast course and I can see some really quick times being run here when the World Half Marathon Championships are held in Cardiff in 2016.
“I was really happy with my time for what was only my third half marathon.
“I’ve still got a lot to learn at this distance but I have beaten my previous best time and I’ve picked up my first UK title.
“I’m not sure if my father ever won this title but I am delighted to get my first one in my locker. I had a disappointing summer and I still don’t know what went wrong but my dad is coaching me now and I am approaching things with a different ethos.”
Paul Martelleti (Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets) was second British finisher in 65:30, ahead of Cardiff’s Ieuan Thomas, pictured below, who clocked an impressive 65:40 on his half marathon debut.
Thomas narrowly missed out on Wales’ Commonwealth Games team this year but claimed a bronze medal in the British Championships and his first Welsh Half Marathon Championships title.
He said: “It was an amazing experience, I wore my Cardiff vest so the crowd would know who I was and they gave me a major boost. It was unbelievable.
“It was every bit as hard as I expected but I am super happy with a top 10 finish and a British medal.
“Hopefully this is the start of even better things to come.”
Kenyan duo Joan Chelimo (Run Fast) and Perendis Lekapana (Run Fast) dominated the women’s field. Chelimo took the victory in a sprint finish to the line in 72:25 with Lekapana given the same time.
Chelimo said: “It was a competitive, tough race. The race had a really strong field.
“It was a very good experience, I am still getting used to half marathons.
“The Welsh were very supportive which I liked and if I am invited I would like to come back again.”
Emma Stepto (Cornwall AC) secured her first British crown with a third place finish behind Chelimo and Lekapana in 72:28.
Stepto, who won the British Half Marathon in 2013, went past Kenya’s Gladys Yator over the final mile.
She said: “I have run the race about four or five times but not for a couple of years and this was the best one yet.
“It’s flat but it’s got a few inclines in it which is good to break things up.
“Running behind someone gives you a good target, the Kenyan girls are really inspiring and if they can do it why can’t I?
“There were three Kenyan girls in front of me during the race and I passed one in the last mile. I didn’t see the finish line coming I thought I had another mile to go.
“I love coming to Cardiff, it’s such a great atmosphere and it really is such a beautiful city.
“It’s a great course, and the organisers do an amazing job. I would recommend everyone to come and do it.”
Second British finisher behind Stepto was Kendal AAC’s Rebecca Robinson in 72:38 and Jenny Jagger (Bristol and West AC) took bronze.
Emma Wookey (Lliswerry Runners) won her first Welsh Half Marathon Championships title in 75:56.
“I am really happy, I was not expecting that,” said Wookey.
“Anything under 80 minutes would have been great, so this is a big personal best for me.
“It’s a great course, there are no bad corners which cut your rhythm and the fact that all the roads are closed makes it much more enjoyable.”
Super veteran Martin Rees (Les Croupiers) also picked up yet another age-group world record, the 61-year-old posting 72:27 to lower his own record by almost a minute.