By Richard Slater
RIYADH — The Road Runners season continues to go from strength to strength, as witnessed by the excellent turn out for the 8 km race at Ishbilia compound last Friday. The cooling conditions saw some fast times throughout the field, with many athletes running quicker than they did at the previous 8km race on the National Day.
In the men’s field newcomer Giampaolo Ragosta ran an impressive negative split to claim the victory, the first by an Italian in the last few seasons. He and Sam Richards matched each other stride for stride over the course of the first lap, however Ragosta made a decisive move after 5km and managed to pull away from his rival for the victory.
Richards continued his remarkable start to the season with another podium finish, something he has now achieved at three different distances this season.
In third place was the resurgent Thomas Brackmann, who looks to have fully overcome the collar-bone injury which marred his triathlon season. Jean-Pierre Berthiaux edged a close battle for fourth, beating Mohamed Soliman by a solitary second.
In the female race, Claudine Roghi clinched another victory, her second of the season. Behind her was Mia McDowell, who narrowed the gap between the leading females from seven minutes at Race 4 to a single minute at Race 5.
Both Roghi and McDowell managed to sneak under the magical 40-minute mark, signifying that they ran under 5:00/km throughout the race. In third was Naomi Gordon, who translated her swimming fitness onto the running track and sealed the final podium place.
The club would like to thank Ishbilia compound for the use of their venue, as well as Carrefour Tala Mall for the race drinks and food. The next race will be over 16km, as the half marathon draws ever closer.
Male race: 1. Giampaolo Ragosta (ITA) 31:30, 2. Sam Richards (UK) 32:37, 3. Thomas Brackmann (GER) 34:18.
Female race: 1. Claudine Roghi (FRA/NZ) 38:26, 2. Mia McDowell (FIN) 39:37, 3. Naomi Gordon (UK) 40:54.