RRW: Team Birell Wins Prague Battle of the Teams Marathon

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2021 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

(30-May) — With 7152 points, Team Birell won the inaugural Prague Battle of the Teams Marathon in the Czech capital this morning.  Individual victories were recorded by Kenyans Benson Kipruto (Team Birell/adidas) in 2:10:15, and Purity Rionoripo (Team Volkswagen/adidas) in 2:20:14.

Purity Rionoripo of Kenya wins the 2021 Prague Battle of the Teams Marathon in 2:20:14 (photo via Czech television)

Rionoripo had the most impressive run.  She put in a big surge ahead of the 25-kilometer mark to break the race open and was never challenged.  Her mark was the third-fastest time in the world this year and a personal best.  Second place went to Ethiopian Guteni Shone (Team Birell/adidas) in 2:21:46, and third to Kenya’s Valary Aiyabei (Team Mattoni/adidas) in 2:22:39.

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Farther back, two Czech athletes qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.  The 2018 European Athletics Championships marathon bronze medalist Eva Vrabcova (Team Mattoni/adidas) clocked 2:27:07, well under the 2:29:30 she needed to qualify.  Moira Stewartova slipped under the qualifying mark by just three seconds, running 2:29:27. Back on April 3 in Belp, Switzerland, she clocked 2:29:39, missing the standard by nine seconds.

The men’s race was more conservative.  A pack of five were still together on the last of 13 laps, and Kipruto waited until the final 1500 meters to make a definitive surge, pulling away easily to get the win.  Kenyans Dickson Chumba (Team Volkswagen/Nike) and Norbert Kigen (Team Skupina CEZ/adidas) finished second and third in 2:10:25 and 2:10:26, respectively.

“I’m very happy today,” said Kipruto in his post-race broadcast interview.  “The time was OK.  Today was not about the time, but winning and the teams.”

Today’s race also served as the Czech Athletics Marathon Championships.  Vrabcova and Vit Pavlista (2:18:28) won the national titles.

The full team standings, which were based on six scoring runners per team using the World Athletics points tables, were as follows:

1. Team Birell, 7152
2. Team Volkswagen, 6887
3. Team Mattoni, 6845
4. Team Skupina CEZ, 6673

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