By Richard Slater
RIYADH – Andrew Powell and Claudine Roghi emerged as the dominant forces at the Riyadh Road Runners’ most recent race, a 5km event held at Al-Nakhla Residential Resort here.
This was the first time that the RRR have run at Riyadh’s newest compound, and after the success of this race, it certainly won’t be the last.
The field was the largest of the season to date, with 169 runners competing over the shortest distance in the RRR calendar.
Andrew Powell won the male race, an impressive performance from the RRR debutant. He opened up a lead on the field during the first lap and was never threatened thereafter. Sam Richards fought valiantly to stay within touching distance, however, Powell had too much in the legs and clinched victory by 41 seconds. Richards and Powell were head and shoulders above the rest of the field, as they were the only two athletes to run under the magical 20 minute mark.
In third place was Abdulwahed Al-Murshidi, and just behind him was another first timer, Mattia Zanetti, a mere 9 seconds off a podium place.
In the female race, the dominant forces of Roghi and Paajanen again clinched the top two spots on the podium, with Roghi proving the stronger of the two on this occasion. Roghi led by 6 seconds as the two lead ladies started the second and final lap, however ran an impressive negative split to eventually snatch the win by a margin of 40 seconds.
In third place was Anne Morrissey, an excellent display from a Master category runner.
The RRR thanked Al-Nakhla Residential Resort for allowing the use of its splendid venue, as well as Carrefour Tala Mall for providing fruit and water for the participants.
Male race: 1. Andrew Powell (UK) 18:23, 2. Sam Richards (UK) 19:04, 3. Abdulwahed Al-Murshidi (OMA) 20:24.
Female race: 1. Claudine Roghi (FRA/NZ) 22:32, 2. Carolyn Paajanen (FIN) 23:12, 3. Anne Morrissey (IRE) 23:24.