Abdelhadi El Mouaziz today admitted his unplanned pit stop – and his aim to break the resolve of his rivals – might have cost him victory in the Edinburgh Marathon.
The Moroccan looked on course to smash Kenya’s winning streak in the race when he surged into a massive lead after 18 miles, despite stopping for a toilet break that left him playing catch-up with a lead group of four.
But as the sun began to beat down on the East Lothian coast, El Mouaziz watched rival Boaz Kiprono fly by as the final stretch into Musselburgh came into view with the Kenyan eventually winning by 19 seconds in 2:19:55.
“I wanted to win,” the runner-up said. “I had to stop half-way through to go to the toilet but I got back with the leaders and that gave me a lot of confidence. But he came past me around 25 kilometres, and I couldn’t quite follow him and go for the win. But that was a good run for me.”
2015 champion Peter Wanjiru was hindered by a back injury as he ended up fifth, one spot ahead of leading Briton Matthew Jones, with Kenyan compatriot Japhet Koech third and Chris Zablocki of the USA fourth after heading the field at half-way.
“I ran out of steam in the second half,” the American, who is a trainee doctor in Sussex, admitted. “I was just a bit tired. My housemates came home at 3am on Friday and had a party and I’m pretty sure that didn’t help.”
Janeth Jepkosgei dominated the women’s race from start to finish to pick up her first-ever marathon win in 2:39:53, ending up over three minutes clear of Kilbarchan’s Hayley Haining with Garscube Harriers’ Katie White third.
“It’s my first major win abroad,” Jepkosgei said. “After 10k, the weather changed and I had to deal with that. And then at 30k, I was left to run on my own but I kept my pace going and that went well.”
44-year-old Haining, in her first marathon since the 2014 Commonwealth Games, remains a class act. Less than three minutes off the pace, she might even have got more. “I had to stop for the loo a couple of times which wasn’t expected but I kept going and it was grand,” she declared.
Gala’s Darrell Hastie held off Andrew Powell to win the adjoining Edinburgh half-marathon in 1:10:38 with Tracy Millmore taking the women’s title in 1:18:41.