NEW DELHI: Last year's runner-up, Ethiopia'sLelisa Desisa won the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon in a sizzling 59 minutes and 30 seconds on Sunday.
He bettered last year's winning time of 59.38. Desisa was followed by Kenya's Geoffrey Kipsang with 59.31 while his compatriot, Mike Kigen took the third place with 59.58.
It was Milton Rotich who led thousands of runners at the 10-km mark in just 28.28. He led the course till Dr Zakir Hussain Marg before a group of 20 similar-looking Kenyans and Ethiopians increased the pace and Rotich fell behind.
At India Gate, the tightly knit group began to split. After a point, the group was reduced to six athletes including Desisa, race favourite and fastest man on the list Sammy Kitwara, Philemon Limo, Geofrrey Kipsang and Dino Sefir.
While coming towards the finish line, Limo and Sefir couldn't keep up the pace. Kitwara too started to trail with 3 kms to go. "The competition was good, I ran my best time. But I am not very happy with the time, I had cold, and could have easily run in 58 minutes," Desisa told TOI. Last year, Desisa had clocked 59min and 39sec.
Kipsang, who lost by just one second, said: "After 15k I pushed hard, and was at par with others. But Desisa sprinted in last 200m; I chased but couldn't catch him." Race favourite Kitwara was certainly not a happy man finishing fifth with one hour and 9 seconds.
Among women, Luch Kabuu of Kenya kept her pre-race promise of winning but missed breaking the meet record by 10 seconds. Kabuu clocked 1:07.04. The record stands at 1:06.54 in the name of Kenya's Mary Keitany which was created in 2009.
Defending champion Aselefch Mergia of Ethiopia, in her fifth appearance in Delhi, led for most part of the race but finished third. Kenya's Sharon Cherop finished just 2 seconds after Kabuu to take the second spot. All three women clocked their best timings.
"I have to thank God for making me strong. I gave my personal best and enjoyed the race as the course was flat and good. We supported each other during the course," Kabuu said in a post race conference.
Kabuu, who took three year's off from running to become a mother and look after the baby, dedicated the win to her family, husband-cum-coach-coach and daughter. Mergia was content with her podium finish, and said: "It was a very good course and I had a good race. I am happy with the time." Impressed with the event, Cherop said she wanted to be back next year. "If they invite me, I'll come again. Now I'll target 2 hours and 20 minutes in full marathon," Cherop said.
Both Desisa and Kabuu pocketed the winner's cheque of $25,000 each. The first and second runner-up in both categories took away $15,000 and $10,000 respectively.
The Half marathon was flagged off by sports minister Ajay Maken in the presence of chief minister Sheila Dikshit at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Monday, November 28, 2011
NEW DELHI: Last year's runner-up, Ethiopia'sLelisa Desisa won the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon in a sizzling 59 minutes and 30 seconds on Sunday.
Geremew, Afework take surprise Great Ethiopian Run 10km victories
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Mesenet Geremew and Abebech Afework were the deserved winners of the men’s and women’s races respectively in the 2011 CBE Great Ethiopian Run 10km road race in the Ethiopian capital on Sunday (27).
A record 36,000 people competed in the 11th running of the race that brings some of Ethiopia’s young and upcoming running talent to perform on a bigger stage.
Strong final push gives Afework victory
Defending champion and former world junior 5000m champion Sule Utura was the overwhelming favorite coming into the women’s race, but last year’s runner-up Abebech Afework had other ideas coming into the penultimate last 2km of the contest.
The 20-year old, who finished 14th in last year’s World Half Marathon Championships in Nanning, China, and has a personal best of 32:27 for the 10km, took a deserved victory ahead of Marathon runners Tiki Gelana and Atsede Habtamu. It was fourth time lucky for the race winner after finishing eighth in 2009 and second last year, while not managing a top 10 finish in 2008.
Gelana helped set a quick early pace ahead of a large leading group of 18 athletes. The group, which consisted of runners like Utura, Afework, Gelana, and Habtamu, piled on the pace for the first 3km upon which Afework took over the initiative at the front and further whittling down the leading group to just five runners with Utura, Gelana, Etenesh Diro and Hiwot Ayalew able to live with Afework’s adventurous move.
Gelana, Afework, and Ayalew continued to exchange the lead until the halfway point in the race when Diro became the first runner to drop back from the leading group. A kilometre later, Gelana decisively moved to the front in a move that nearly guaranteed her prospects of a top three finish. Her move was too much for Utura who dropped out of the competition at 7km leaving Afework, Habtamu, and Ayalew behind a gallant Gelana.
Despite her best efforts at the head of the four-woman pack, Gelana could not shake off the chasing trio. At the 8km mark, Afework replaced Gelana at the head of the pack, a position which she did not relinquish before crossing the finish line in 32:59. Gelana clocked 33:06 to finish 2nd ahead of Habtamu.
"I did my best to win this race,” Afework said. “It was the fourth time I ran this race and I have been progressing well each time I participated. In my first participation, I finished 13th , then 8th, last year 2nd and now this year I am the winner."
Geremew overcomes stiff challenge of Demelash & Kipkemboi
In contrast to the women’s race; the men’s contest was a tight affair until the waning stages of the race.
As is common with the Great Ethiopian Run, the start of the men’s race was tense with lots of pulling and shoving in the field’s desperate attempt at jostling for positions. The early stages saw as many as 20 runners in a large leading group with virtually no one daring to pile on the pace at the head of the group.
The first signs of a breakaway came just after the halfway point when the large leading group started to wither down in number. Two kilometres later, the field was further reduced to five athletes with newcomers Mesenet Geremew and Yegerem Demelash, shadowing Kenyan Nicholas Kipkemboi at the head of the pack.
In his first competition outside Ethiopia, Kipkemboi gave the Ethiopians quite a run for their money going into the final kilometre, but the young duo edged him across the line with Geremew winning the battle of the young Ethiopians in 28:37 ahead of Demelash who clocked 28:44, three seconds ahead of Kipkemboi. Geremew’s winning celebration was a military salute to the gathered media and spectators, a tribute to his club Amhara Police.
"It is the first time I participated in this race,” said Geremew. “The first 5km had a lot of difficult challenges and there was a lot of pulling and shoving. But after the 5km, every one of us was focused on our race. I am so excited to become the winner of this big race which will encourage me a lot to have a bright future."
Elshadai Negash (with the assistance of Bizuayehu Wagaw) for the IAAF
Leading Results -
1. Musnet Geremew 28:37
2. Yigrem Demelash 28:44
3. Nicholas Kipkemboi 28:47
4. Belete Assefa 28:51
5. Senbetu Mekebo 28:59
6. Berhanu Mekonen 29:12
1. Abebech Afework 32:59
2. Tiki Gelana 33:06
3. Atsede Habtamu 33:12
4. Hiwot Ayalew 33:22
5. Etenesh Diro 33:32
6. Hirut Aga 33:33
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Gelana and Gigi lead the field on a new course in Florence - PREVIEW
The 2012 edition marks the beginning of a new era for the Firenze Marathon, as the popular Tuscan race will be run on a new course which is expected to be flatter and faster than the previous one. No less than 9000 runners will toe the starting-line in the Lungarno Pecori Giraldi and will cross the finish-line in Piazza Santa Croce in the heart of the worldwide famous Tuscan city. The entry figure makes Florence the second largest Italian Marathon in terms of participation to the event.
The Florence Marathon, scheduled for Sunday 27 November, is anIAAF Bronze Label Road Race.
The entirely flat course without hills or slopes may help to produce new Florence Marathon records – the current men’s record is 2:08:41 set by James Kutto in 2006 while the women’s record of 2:28:15 has been held by Helena Javornik since 2002).
This fastest man in the field is Ethiopian Teshome Gelana, who ran his career best in Houston in 2010 when he clocked 2:07:37. Gelana finished runner-up in Florence last year in 2:12:41 in a race affected by rainy and cold conditions.
Gelana is coached by Haji Adilo who also trains Firehiwot Dado, who won in Florence last year and then went on to win her third Rome Marathon in a row and made the headlines three weeks ago when she took the honours at the New York City Marathon. [NOTE, 17:00 CET Friday 25-Nov: Gelana has withdrawn from the race.]
The Ethiopian team also features other sub-2:10 runners like Zembaba Yigeze and Berga Birhanu Bekele. Yigeze finished second behind Gelana at the 2010 Houston Marathon in 2:08:27 and seventh in 2:08:48 in Paris 2010. Yigeze holds solid track PBs of 13:24.98 in the 5000m and 27:36.36 in the 10,000m. Bekele dipped under 2:10 in Bejing 2009 (2:09:41) and Dubai 2011 (2:09:54).
The Kenyan challenge is led by Joseph Ngeny, third in Eindhoven in 2:10:10 and in Rome in 2:10:41 in 2009, and Ronald Kipchumba Rutto, 2004 World Junior champion in the 3000m Steeplechase in Grosseto and 2003 World Youth champion in the 2000m steeplechase in Sherbrooke. Kipchumba Rutto starts with a 2:09:17 PB set in Frankfurt in 2010 where he finished seventh.
The fastest woman in the field is Ethiopian Asha Gigi, who ran the fastest time of her career in Paris 2004 when she finished runner-up in 2:26:05. One year later Gigi took third place in Paris in 2:27:38 and clocked 1:09:55 in the Lisbon Half Marathon. She will take on Tigiste Memuye (PB 2:36:17), local favourite Gloria Marconi (PB 2:29:35 set in Rome 2003) who will run in her native city, Moroccan Hanane Janat (PB 2:38:34) and Ireland’s Maria McCambridge (PB 2:35:29 in Paris 2009).
The Florence Marathon programme also features the 2 km non-competitive Ginky Family Run for children and families which is expected to attract no less than 2000 entries and the Maratonabile for disabled athletes.
Among the VIPs entered for this year’s race is Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi.
Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Mary Keitany of Kenya is favored to win the women’s race Sunday at the New York City Marathon. She might even set a course record, but one thing she will almost certainly not do is set a world record.
The bridges and hills of New York are not accommodating to unprecedented performance. The fastest that any woman has run here, 2 hours 22 minutes 31 seconds, is more than seven minutes slower than the fastest time ever run, 2:15:25 by Paula Radcliffe of England at the 2003 London Marathon.
Technically, Radcliffe’s time is now considered a “world best” instead of a “world record.” In August, track and field’s world governing body made a controversial ruling, striking Radcliffe’s two fastest times from record consideration because they came in races in which she was paced by men.
Now, the official women’s record is 2:17:42, run by Radcliffe in a women’s-only race at the 2005 London Marathon. That is still nearly five minutes — or about a mile in distance — faster than any woman has run in New York, and 38 seconds faster than any other woman has covered 26.2 miles on any course.
Lately, the men’s world record has been batted around like a volleyball. It has officially been broken three times in the past four years. Patrick Makau of Kenya set the current record of 2:03:38 at the Berlin Marathon in September. That time had been beaten in Boston in April, but the course is not certified for records; and it was nearly eclipsed last Sunday in Frankfurt.
Meanwhile, the women’s record has gone unchallenged for years. The reasons are varied. First, Radcliffe is an outlier who radically changed the way women trained and raced, piling on the mileage and speed in workouts and setting a blistering pace from the starting gun, as elite male runners now do.
“Paula was ahead of her time,” said Deena Kastor of the United States, the 2004 Olympic bronze medalist in the marathon. “She could go out at a grueling pace and keep it. I think it brought a realization to the men as well that you don’t have to be so timid going into a marathon.”
Regarding training, Kastor said: “I think people go into a marathon so concerned about riding the line between getting as fit as possible without overdoing it, and that was never Paula’s concern. She goes out there and grinds on a daily and weekly basis. It’s very admirable. Sometimes, it leads to injuries with her, but the end result is that she’s got this untouchable world record and a well-deserved one. I think 2:15 will be in the books for a while.”
While the numbers of elite women are growing, the depth still does not match men’s marathoning. In particular, few women are fast enough to serve as pacemakers for a world-record pace. Only a few women have even run a half-marathon at Radcliffe’s record marathon pace, said Dan Lilot, the agent for the American marathoner Kara Goucher.
And given the new rules in the sport, men can no longer be used to pace women to record times.
“I don’t know how you find a woman pacesetter to go through the half in 68 flat,” said Mark Wetmore, an American agent who represents a number of female Ethiopian runners. “If a woman can do that, she’ll want to race. Maybe you’ll need to have two women in 2:20 shape and one decides to take care of the other and help her out so she can run 2:17. There are very few of these women.”
Women tend to run the marathon later in their careers, when they face decisions about motherhood, which inevitably disrupts training and can lead to protracted comebacks. Werknesh Kidane of Ethiopia won the world cross-country championship in 2003 and finished second in the 10,000 meters at the 2003 world track and field championships in a stirring 30:07.15; many projected her to be a sub-2:20 marathoner. But she then had two children and essentially took a three-year break from competition from 2006 to 2009.
Married to Gebre Gebremariam, the defending New York City Marathon champion, Kidane has finally taken up the marathon this year at age 29. She finished seventh in Boston in April in 2:26:15 and will run New York on Sunday, but she remains well short of earlier projections.
“When you take off 6, 8, 10 months, it’s hard to come back,” said Wetmore, Kidane’s agent. “Werknesh is just getting back to her premotherhood self.”
A number of the top female distance runners are still competing on the track and are expected to move up to the marathon after the 2012 London Olympics. They include Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia, the 2008 Olympic champion at 5,000 and 10,000 meters; Meseret Defar of Ethiopia, the 2004 Olympic champion at 5,000 meters and 2008 bronze medalist; and Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya, the 2011 world champion at 5,000 and 10,000 meters.
They can be encouraged by the marathon debut in Chicago last month of Ejigayehu Dibaba, Tirunesh’s sister, who won a silver medal at 10,000 meters at the 2004 Olympics. She finished second in Chicago in 2:22:09, the third-fastest debut marathon for a woman.
Stephanie Pilick/European Pressphoto Agency
Tannen Maury/European Pressphoto Agency
Donald Miralle/Getty Images
Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
But the question for track runners moving up the marathon is always one of timing: “Did they wait too long?” in the words of Mary Wittenberg, director of the New York City Marathon.
Although Radcliffe’s best times have not been challenged, this year has produced some encouragingly fast results. For the first time since 2008, a woman has run a marathon under 2:20. Actually three of them have. Keitany ran 2:19:19 to win in London in April. Florence Kiplagat of Kenya ran 2:19:44 to win Berlin in September. And Liliya Shobukhova of Russia ran 2:18:20 to win in Chicago last month, making her the second-fastest female marathoner.
“I feel like marathons have been more tactical in the last 5 or 10 years,” Goucher said. “In the past year, some women have shown more interest in running fast.”
Women from Kenya and Ethiopia are moving up to the half-marathon and the marathon at an earlier age, according to runners, coaches and agents.
Keitany did not have a long track career, running a half-marathon at age 24 in 2006. Six months later, she paced the London Marathon.
“I was not afraid” of the distance, Keitany, 29, said.
She represents another development among female African runners, who have begun in larger numbers to break free of traditional subservient roles in society to become full-time professional athletes.
“Finally, after many years, you are seeing women have the possibility to approach athletics like a job, not just as mothers who run,” Gabriele Nicola, an Italian who is Keitany’s coach, said.
This growing professionalization can be found in their wearing GPS watches, which give the precise distance run during workouts; using electrolyte drinks instead of water; and having a diverse support staff.
Keitany has a support group of 10 people, including physical therapists, masseuses and male runners hired to pace her during workouts. Her sister-in-law watches her 3-year-old son, Jared, so Keitany can train and sleep between twice-daily runs.
“She is already in the Olympics as a sleeper,” Nicola said with a laugh.
A whispery figure who is about 5 feet tall and 88 pounds, Keitany finished third in New York last year in her marathon debut in 2:29:01 but shaved nearly 10 minutes off that time in winning London in April. In February, she shattered the world half-marathon record in 1:05:50, breaking the previous mark by 35 seconds.
Eventually in the marathon, Keitany said, “Maybe I can run under 2:18.”
But everyone seems to agree that Radcliffe’s 2:15:25, the fastest time ever run, will remain safe for years. As fast as Shobukhova was in Chicago, she would have to run nearly three minutes faster to reach that mark.
“I don’t realize how you train for 2:15,” Shobukhova told reporters after the race.
NEW YORK — Watching the New York City Marathon on TV back home in Ethiopia, Werknesh Kidane felt a country's joy and sorrow.
Her husband, Gebre Gebremariam, had just won in his debut at the distance, anointing him as the next great Ethiopian star. But the greatest of all had been halted by injury, and afterward Haile Gebrselassie announced his short-lived retirement.
"In Ethiopia, New York Marathon is very, very big," Kidane, an elite distance runner herself, said through a translator. "Gebre won; Haile lost. People were regretting that Haile lost and people were happy because Gebre won."
Gebremariam will have to share the spotlight again when he defends his title on Sunday. Kidane is a last-minute addition to the women's field. She also was supposed to make her marathon debut in New York last year but pulled out because of a calf injury.
Her husband won in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 14 seconds — the sixth-best time in NYC Marathon history, 31 seconds off the course record. That seems like a plodding pace now, just a year later.
In April, Kenya's Emmanuel Mutai, the runner-up behind Gebremariam in New York, shattered the course record at the London Marathon with a 2:04:40. A day later, countryman Geoffrey Mutai (no relation) ran the fastest 26 miles (42 kilometers) in history (2:03:02) in Boston. It didn't count as a world record because the course is considered too straight and too downhill. Gebremariam was third in a personal-best 2:04:53.
Then in September, another Kenyan, Patrick Makau, officially broke Gebrselassie's world record in Berlin with a 2:03:38.
Both Mutais will be challenging Gebremariam in New York. And Geoffrey Mutai believes this course is easier than Boston.
The Kenyans have more at stake than just winning. Their country is so deep in the marathon that neither Mutai is guaranteed a spot at next summer's London Olympics. A fast time and a strong performance in New York could considerably boost their chances.
With a forecast of little wind and highs around 56 degrees (14 C) for Sunday, the 10-year-old course record of 2:07:43 set by Tesfaye Jifar of Ethiopia could be in jeopardy.
"If the weather is favorable for us, I think the results of that day will be different from the last few years," Emmanuel Mutai said.
On the women's side, Edna Kiplagat of Kenya won't defend her title after hurting her knee while winning the title at the world championships. Her country still will be well-represented, with London Marathon champ Mary Keitany and Boston winner Caroline Kilel.
A record field of about 47,000 runners is expected to start the race through the five boroughs.
The Kenyan men will work together to push the pace on Sunday but Gebremariam is confident he can keep up. He was surprised and thrilled to see his time in Boston. Now the once-remarkable seems routine.
And Gebremariam has only joyful memories of New York, the place where he became the next Ethiopian star.
"New York is not only running — New York is a business, too," he said of the victory's ripples. "It's so nice for me, and it's a good change in my life."—Copyright 2011 Associated Press