By Richard Slater
RIYADH – The Riyadh Road Runners concluded their 16km series at Kapsarc last weekend. The cool conditions meant that many runners achieved fast times despite the hilly course. Atop the podium were two familiar faces in the Riyadh running community – Mo Foustok and Tennille McClean.
Tennille was racing over her preferred 10km distance for the first time, but showed no problems in adapting to the longer distance and won by a comfortable margin of just over 4 minutes. Her excellent time of 1:14:48 was nearly good enough for a top 10 place overall, and she showed remarkable consistency over the 4 laps.
Behind her was Claudine Roghi, who used the race as training for her first attempt at the Muscat marathon. In third place was Marie-pierre Arminjon, making a welcome return to the podium and demonstrating that the injuries which plagued her in the early season are well and truly a thing of the past.
In the male race, Mo Foustok ran his first race as a new father and did his watching family proud by claiming victory in a little over an hour. His lap times in the 15-minute range were too hot for the rest of the competition to handle.
The real drama, however, was happening behind him. Sam Richards and David Ferry, who finished first and second respectively over this same distance in November, were involved in a titanic tussle for the second step on the podium. Richards led by a few seconds after lap one, but then Ferry caught up and the pair ran the remaining 12km together. In the final straight, a burst of speed by Richards looked enough to seal second spot in a photo finish, although as both runners finished in identical chip time they were awarded 2=.
The Riyadh Road Runners now move on to a 10km race, the last chance for runners to race over a short distance before the annual marathon on Feb. 24. The club thanked Kapsarc for its splendid venue, and Carrefour Tala Mall for providing food and water to nourish the runners.
Male race: 1. Mo Foustok (KSA) 1:01:28, 2=. David Ferry (GB&NI) 1:06:32, 2=. Sam Richards (GB&NI) 1:06:32.
Female race: 1. Tennille McClean (AUS/NZ) 1:14:48, 2. Claudine Roghi (FRA/NZ) 1:19:04, 3. Marie-pierre Arminjon (FRA) 1:22:04.