By Richard Slater
RIYADH — Hamad Ozaybi and Claudine Roghi both returned to winning ways last Friday as they snatched their first victories of the season in the Riyadh Road Runners’ 16km race at Ranco Farm.
Both have been perennial victors at the RRR in the past, with Ozaybi dominating the half marathon in recent years and Roghi the 3-time female club champion. Therefore it was no surprise to see the pair on top of the podium after Friday’s race, with both athletes winning by sizable margins.
In the male race, the lithe figure of Ozaybi strode into the lead just after the first bend, and with his great rival Mo Foustok absent on this occasion, ran at the front of the race throughout in order to clinch victory by a margin of almost 3 minutes.
In second place for the second race in succession was Samuel de le Rochebrochard, a newcomer to the club but already displaying his considerable potential. Behind them was Sam Richards, returning to the podium for the first time in three races.
Behind them saw an excellent performance by Wayne Hayes, competing in the Masters Category and beating a host of talented younger runners.
Claudine Roghi was similarly dominant in the female race, winning by a huge margin of over 7 minutes. In second place was Mia McDowell, the Finn finishing on the podium for the first time in Riyadh and showing excellent improvement since the end of the 2015-16 season. Katie Taylor, usually more renowned for her triathlon prowess, ran an evenly paced race to complete the female podium, immediately behind McDowell.
The next race will be an 8km race as the build up to the Subway Half Marathon in December continues in earnest.
The RRR would like to thank Carrefour Tala Mall for their provision of water and fruit, as well as all the volunteers who helped out on the day.
Male race: 1. Hamad Ozaybi (KSA) 1:01:19, 2. Samuel de la Rochebrochard (FRA) 1:04:10, 3. Sam Richards (UK) 1:07:30.
Female race: 1. Claudine Roghi (NZ/FRA) 1:17:22, 2. Mia McDowell (FIN) 1:24:39, 3. Katie Taylor (UK) 1:25:23.