Defying all pre-race predictions Italian Anna Incerti grabbed the top prize at the 9th Samsung Milan City Marathon on Sunday. The 24-year-old came up with her career best performance (2:27:42) to upset hot favourite and defending champion Pamela Chepchumba of Kenya.

Incerti also became the first Italian woman to win the Milan City Marathon since 2000 when Lucilla Andreucci had taken the top honour.

In extreme weather condition, Incerti employed a tactical ploy on going slow in the beginning to outwit her accomplished opponents. Chepchumba and Merima Denboba of Ethiopia led the pack at halfway stage; however Incerti ensured that their lead remained within her reach.

The home favourite joined the leaders at 23 km mark.

“Before the start I never had thought that I could win this one. But when I caught Pamela I realised that she had slowed and that I might have a chance,” said Anna Incerti.

She broke away from the pack just before the 40 km mark. In the process she broke 2:30 for the first time and also claimed the biggest cheque in her career so far.

“I found it hard to run in the wind and I got problems at 39 km mark,” conceded Pamela Chepchumba.

Ethiopian Denboba finished third with a personal best of 2:29:57.

Italian fans had more to cherish when Ivana Iozzia crossed the finish line at fourth position with a time of 2:37:32. Veronica Vannucci,  Silvia Luna and Donatella Vinci finished at seventh, ninth and tenth position respectively making it five out of 10 for Italian athletes in the annual Marathon.   

In the men’s section however the local athletes had no such luck, as hot favourite Duncan Kibet dominated the race from the word go, smashing the course record by five seconds in a time of two hours seven minutes 53seconds.

Much to the delight of organisers, the 30 year-old Kenyan broke the course record at the impressive Piazza Castello in the centre of the city. Elias Chelimo and Leonard Mucheru took second and third with 2:08:39 and 2:10:05.

The race not just lived up to its billing as the fastest course, but also attracted record number of 5,875 runners from 61 countries