Kenya's Agnes Tirop winning the TCS World 10K Bengaluru 2019 / Photo credit Procam International

Agnes Tirop's finishing time may have been more than two minutes slower than her course record run to win 12 months ago but the 2017 IAAF World Championships 10,000m bronze medallist made a winning start to her 2019 campaign and defended her title, becoming the first woman to win back-to-back titles in the 12-year history of the Bengaluru race.

It was clear from the leisurely opening kilometres that this was going to be a much slower race than in 2018, which Agnes Tirop won in 31:19, and group of nine women went through the first half of the race in a modest 18:06, more than two minutes down on last year’s split.

Tirop herself injected regular short bursts of pace during the next three kilometres but none were sustained, and they did nothing to break up the group apart from dropping Bahrain’s 2017 world marathon champion Rose Chelimo.

Coming into the Bengaluru’s famous Cubbon Park, eight women were still closely grouped together and that was still the situation as they entered the stadium for one final lap of the track.

Ethiopia’s Letsenbet Gidey darted into the lead on entering the stadium but, with 50 metres to go, Tirop still had plenty in reserve and emerged victorious in a thrilling five-woman sprint for the line.

Tirop won in 33:55 – in sharp contrast to the fast men’s race it was the slowest winning time in the history of the event – with just two seconds covering the top five, with the Kenyan being followed home by five Ethiopian women.

“I would have liked to have run faster and I did my best but no one else wanted to push hard so I was just content with the win,” said Tirop, who also declared her ambition to return next year and bid for a hat trick of wins.

Senbere Teferi was second and Gidey third, both women also given 33:55; 2018 world half marathon champion Netsanet Gudeta was fourth in 33:56 with Dera Dida one second further back in fifth place.

The TCS World 10K Bengaluru 2019 has a total prize fund of US$213,000, with the men’s and women’s winners each taking home US$26,000.

An estimated 25,000 runners took to the roads for five different races in what has become one of highlights of Bengaluru’s sporting year.

In addition to the TCS World 10K for elite runners, there is an Open 10K, the Majja Run (5km), the Senior Citizens’ Race and Champions with Disability Race (both 4km).

Top 10 Results

Women
1. Agnes Tirop (KEN) 33:55
2. Senbere Teferi (ETH) 33:55
3. Letsenbet Gidey (ETH) 33:55
4. Netsanet Gudeta (ETH) 33:56
5. Dera Dida (ETH) 33:57
6. Tsehay Gemechu (ETH) 33:59
7. Evaline Chirchir (KEN) 34:04
8. Alia Mohamed Alia Saeed (UAE) 34:13
9. Rose Chelimo (BRN) 35:08
10. Sanjivani Jadhav (IND) 35:10