Abebe Bikila 1960, 64& Feyisa Lilesa 2016


Monday, May 27, 2013

Best yet to come as African duo leave Edinburgh marathon field in their wake | Herald Scotland

A LITTLE dose of African sunshine smothered the capital yesterday as Tola Lema of Ethiopia and Risper Kimaiyo of Kenya claimed victory in the Edinburgh Marathon, both reaching the finish in Musselburgh with no challenger in sight.
Tola Lema of Ethiopia won the men's race in a fast 2hr 15min, 32 sec
Tola Lema of Ethiopia won the men's race in a fast 2hr 15min, 32 sec
Lema coasted past the deckchairs and ice cream stalls which skirted the route, taking the lead with 12 miles to go and tightening his grip with every stride. His eventual time of two hours, 15 minutes and 32 seconds was just short of Zachary Kihara's existing course record. It would surely have fallen if he had been pushed just a little more.
Forming an early two-man break with Nouridene Jalal, the pair pulled away from the pursuing pack before Lema raised the stakes and accelerated past at the midway point.
Jalal, his energies spent, regressed to third, but the victor was untroubled and ultimately carved out an advantage of two minutes over Kenya's John Gales, who was making his debut at the distance after acting as a pacemaker in leading events.
The Great Britain internationalist Andi Jones produced a late surge to end up as the leading Briton in fourth place.
However the dominance of athletes who are B-list in African terms illustrates what awaits the home contenders at Glasgow 2014.
"It shows the very big challenge," said Jones. "Those lads are class acts. "They might not be the very elite, running 2:03, but they'd be running 2:12 or better in a race with more competition. So it shows that British athletes, whether English or Scottish, have to look at how we get quicker because the Commonwealth Games is only a year away."
Kimaiyo became the first African to win the women's race with her time of 2:35.58 good enough to come 11th overall, well ahead of her closest female challengers, Jane Khan and Julie Briscoe.
Ideally, she admitted, there would have been tougher foes. "I got into the middle of the race and I was hoping someone would be with me but I had to run on my own for a long time."
Will Wright, in 13th place, and the Glasgow-based paediatrician Avril Mason were the first Scottish male and female finishers in a field of 15,000 in the race's 11th edition.
Elsewhere, the world championship-bound Susan Partridge was ninth and fellow Scot Elspeth Curran 13th in the BT Manchester 10k as Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba claimed victory in 30:49.
Scotland's Steph Twell was fourth in the Bupa Westminster Mile with the Commonwealth bronze medallist set to run the 10,000m in London today.