Poland’s Andrezj Lachowski dominated a sunny and warm 2015 Grassland Marathon with a solo record run to finish just under 2:40. The women’s race on the other hand concluded in a sprint finish and saw Chen Linming beat Ma Yanxing.
Almost 1300 runners took the start under a blue sky in the early morning in Xiwuqi. Lachowski was immediately to be seen at the front. Paul Young attempted briefly to join the tall Polish runner, but decided otherwise at the 4 km point. A group containing Young, Pavel Toropov, Charlie Epperson, Ding Zhijian and Wang Wei would decide the rest of the podium behind Lachowski. Quickly it seemed that a new course record was a possibility, and Lachowski also succeeded to beat Linus Holmsater’s time from last year by a couple of minutes. Wang Wei and new KOG leader Charlie Epperson also managed to stay under three hours. Defending KOG champion Wang Lidong lost his green leader’s jersey to Epperson. After a fast start, he paid the price in the remaining ten kilometers of the race and lost over half an hour to Epperson. Piers Touzel (tenth) also remains strongly in contention for the crown.
The women’s podium was all Chinese for the first time since long. Behind Chen Linming and Ma Yanxing, pre-race favourite Vero Messina came in third ahead of last year’s champion Olya Korzh, who actually ran faster today.