"I saw her dropping off so I picked up my speed," said Kibii. "Last year I was sick, so I wasn't as strong, so when I saw (Abrha) falling off so early, I started to push. Kipii took the lead from 2016 Grandma's champion Sarah Kiptoo and the two left Abrha behind with Kiptoo having some problems sticking to Kibii's surges. "(Kiptoo) kept falling back," said Kibii, "but then she would catch back up."
|Jane Kibii and Sarah Kiptoo dueling on the River Road. |
Photo by Gene Niemi
Kibii kept pushing, hoping that eventually Kiptoo would drop back and not catch back up again. That point came in mile 21 where the series of hills in the last 10K of the race begins.
"(Kiptoo) told me she was not good at hills," said Kibii. "Yes, I told her that," said Kiptoo with a smile. "We have raced many times, but I haven't beaten her yet. Perhaps next time"
"After 21 miles I know there were more hills, so I kept pushing it," said Kibii, who was hoping to break 2:30 because organizers of the bigger races, such as Chicago, Boston, and New York wouldn't consider you until you were running in the 2:20s. Kibii came close, finishing in 2:30:01, so she knows breaking the 2:30 barrier is within reach. She has one more opportunity this year as she is planning on running The Sacramento Marathon in December.
"I like running in Minnesota," said Kiptoo. "I like this weather." Kiptoo was aiming to run 2:32 on Sunday and she finished in 2:32:18 in second place. Kiptoo will be running one more marathon this year, she said, and hopefully will return to Grandma's in June to defend her title.
Top five Minnesota finishers:
1. Kimberly Horner 2:51:16.
2. Lindsey Pierret 2:53:49
3. Megan Smith 2:55:26
4. Alison Smyth 2:56:39
5. Carrie Donohue 2:58:29