(Reuters) - Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor recovered from falling flat on his face at the start to retain his world half-marathon title in rainswept Cardiff on Saturday.
Kamworor and compatriot Bedan Karoki Muchiri, who kept up near world-record pace throughout the race, were shoulder to shoulder approaching the final mile before Kamworor forged ahead through horizontal rain and gusting winds for victory.
Olympic and world 5,000m and 10,000m champion Mo Farah gave the sodden home fans something to cheer on a dismal Easter weekend as the Briton kept plenty in the tank to produce a late dash and take the bronze medal.
Kenya’s women completed a second successive clean sweep of the podium with Peres Jechirchir kicking away from pre-race favorite Cynthia Limo near the finish to take the title.
Mary Wacera Ngugi was third.
Kamworor’s race began farcically as he slipped over on the start line and was almost buried under a stampede of athletes before climbing back to his feet and carrying on.
“I was trying to get up, but people kept coming from behind. It was very difficult,” Kamworor said of his fall.
He was quickly up with the leaders, though, and while the world record of 58:23 minutes was ultimately beyond him in the atrocious conditions his winning time of 59:10 was impressive.
“If Geoffrey can run this fast in these conditions, I think he can break the world record,” Farah said.
Kamworor, who was second to Farah in the 10,000m world championship race in Beijing last year and could be a threat in Rio this August, was the first man to retain the half-marathon title since Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese in 2009.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Clare Fallon and Ed Osmond