By Richard Slater
RIYADH — Sam Richards and Claudine Roghi both won again at the Riyadh Road Runners Friday, taking their tally of season victories to 2 and 3, respectively.
Roghi is on a particularly good run of form, and has now won 3 consecutive races. As for Richards, he has shown outstanding consistency throughout the season, never finishing below 5th and managing victories at the shortest (5km) and the longest (16km) races.
Kapsarc compound played host to this most recent race, a 16km race, run over 4 identical laps. In the male race, Richards bounded into the lead within the first few hundred meters, and thereafter ran unchallenged to victory — quite the contrast to his recent tussles with Giampaoli Ragosta and Mo Foustok. Richards ran each lap under 17 minutes, and was the only competitor to achieve this.
Behind him, David Ferry ran a well-judged race to take 2nd overall. Ferry was only in 9th place at the end of the first lap, however he moved through the field on laps 2 and 3 and as the fourth and final lap started found himself neck and neck with Abdulwahid Almurshidi in a battle for 2nd. On the last lap, Ferry had too much pace and ended up putting 40 seconds into Almurshidi, clinching a relatively comfortable 2nd place and running an impressive negative split. Almurshidi returned to the podium for the first time in a year, representing Oman with distinction on the occasion of their National Day.
In the female race, Claudine Roghi and Carolyn Paajanen started as strong favorites, with many observers predicting a tight battle between the two leading ladies of 2016. After matching each other stride for stride over the first lap, Roghi managed to distance her rival slightly at the start of the second lap. Paajanen kept Roghi in her sight for the remainder of the second and third laps, however the gap was to prove insurmountable and Roghi ended up winning by just under 2 minutes. In 3rd place was Katy Taylor, coming to the fore and pushing previous podium dweller Mia McDowell down into 4th.
The Riyadh Road Runners would like to thank Carrefour Tala Mall for providing water, juice and fruit, and Kapsarc compound for the use of their splendid venue.
Men race: 1. Sam Richards (GB&NI) 1:06:07, 2. David Ferry 1:08:31, 3. Abdulwahid Almurshidi (OMA) 1.09.03.
Female race: 1. Claudine Roghi (NZ/FRA) 1:16:12, 2. Carolyn Paajanen (FIN) 1:17:54, 3. Katy Taylor (GB&NI) 1:22:39.