Abebe Bikila 1960, 64& Feyisa Lilesa 2016


Monday, November 3, 2014

New York Marathon 2014: Wilson Kipsang Wins Race and World Majors Bonus - NYTimes.com


Wilson Kipsang from Kenya shared the podium with the runner-up Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, right, and Gebre Gebremariam, who was third, after winning the men's race.CreditUli Seit for The New York Times
As Wilson Kipsang of Kenya and Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia ran stride for stride into the last stretch of the New York City Marathon on Sunday morning, a long run turned into an unusually personal sprint. As Desisa, the younger challenger, tried to surge ahead, his left arm pushed Kipsang’s arm away.
That turned a windy, tactical race into, well, hand-to-hand combat. And the look on Kipsang’s face said everything. He glared at Desisa. His next move was to dig into his finishing gear and sprint ahead in the final turn of the course in Central Park, a surge that sent him flying through the finish line, seven seconds ahead of Desisa. Only then did his defiance turn into a smile.
But Kipsang said he had not been motivated by anger.
“I didn’t see him because he was coming from behind,” Kipsang said. “Then I decided now to sprint because I saw the finish was very close and the speed was very high. So when he gave me more space, then I would sprint.”

Not only did Kipsang win in his first appearance in the New York City Marathon, in a time of 2 hours 10 minutes 59 seconds, he also captured the World Marathon Majors title with his third major marathon victory in two years.

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SLIDE SHOW|27 Photos

Racing the Wind

Racing the Wind

CreditBenjamin Norman for The New York Times

Had he finished second, he would not have won that $500,000 bonus — and he acknowledged that had been no small part of his motivation at the end.
“Yes, of course I was thinking,” he said. “The only chance for me to win the jackpot was to win this race. That’s why I was feeling very strong and I was trying to apply all the tactics to make sure that I win.”
Desisa, 24, had to settle for a close second, still a remarkable result, in only his fourth career marathon. He won the Boston Marathon last year only about three months after winning the first marathon of his career, in Dubai.
But he was trying to unseat the 32-year-old Kipsang, who held the world record for a year until it was broken at the Berlin Marathon in September.
And Sunday, Desisa found himself compromised in the end, he said, because he needed to use the bathroom.
“I’m not relaxed because of that,” he said, adding that he was “very happy” with second place.
Desisa’s second-place time was 2:11:06. Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia, who won this race in 2010, finished third in 2:12:13. The American Meb Keflezighi, who won in 2009, was fourth in 2:13:18. Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya, who won the last two New York City Marathons, was in the lead pack until the final miles but faded to finish sixth.
Keflezighi, a popular former champion who broke long droughts among American men with his victories in New York in 2009 and in Boston this year, finished to huge cheers from the crowd.
“The race was deep, strong, windy and tactical,” he said. “When it is tactical, may the best man or woman win, and he did today.”
The runners were greeted with a sunny day for the marathon, in contrast to Saturday’s rain and gloom, but it was cold and windy for the entire race. The temperatures poked into the mid-40s, and the winds were about 31 miles per hour at the start but gusted to nearly 50.

Continue reading the main story


The New York City Marathon

A poem in sights and sounds, featuring an interactive map of the course and video.

The contenders formed a large pack for much of the race. It was 17 strong until they crossed the Pulaski Bridge into Queens, when the strongest runners began to push the pace and the pack shrank to 11.
It stayed just about that size into Manhattan as Keflezighi took turns in the lead with Kipsang, Mutai, Peter Kirui and Lusapho April.
As the leaders raced into a strong headwind on that long stretch, the pace slowed.
“I am used to a much faster race from the start,” Kipsang said. “So when it comes to a race like this, you find that it is more tricky. There are no pacemakers; there’s a lot of wind; guys are not ready to take the lead. So you have to exercise patience. If you want to take off, it’s a bit too hard. Everybody was trying to run from behind.”
It was not until Mile 21 that Kipsang put on a move that stretched the pack, with only Mutai, Gebremariam and Desisa able to hang with him. Keflezighi and Kirui fell off the pace, along with the reigning Olympic champion, Stephen Kiprotich.
That contending pack dwindled to Kipsang and Desisa as they began their two-man battle in Mile 23. Mutai fell about 10 seconds back at that point, watching a possible third straight title slip from his grasp.
The end turned into a match race, much as the women’s race had about half an hour earlier.
As Kipsang and Desisa made the final turn into Central Park, with only the final 0.2 of the 26.2 miles remaining, they showed a contrast in styles. Kipsang ran calmly, with a cool expression. Desisa flailed his arms wider, trying to find an avenue around Kipsang. He tried to pass on the left and then switched tactics and passed to Kipsang’s right. When he pulled even, his left arm swung out and swept against Kipsang’s arm.
Kipsang sprinted ahead through the final yards, as if answering a final question about his dominance of the past two years.
“I had to save energy for the closing kick,” Kipsang said. “I was trying to check the distance and the amount of energy that was really left.
“I was really very sure of that kind of sprint, even if it was 50 meters. I really trusted myself.”
Kipsang became the first man to win the major marathons in New York, Berlin and London, race officials said.
Correction: November 2, 2014 

An earlier version of this article misstated the amount of time between the 2014 Dubai Marathon and the 2014 Boston Maraton. It was about three months, not three weeks.

New York Marathon 2014 - Duelo final entre Kipsang y Desisa

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Why so many marathon records are broken in Berlin - BBC News

Dennis Kimetto at the Berlin finish line
Kenyan runner Dennis Kimetto set a new world record for the men's marathon in Berlin on Sunday. It's the fifth time the record has been broken in eight years and each time it has happened on the same course - so what makes Berlin special?
The Berlin Marathon started out as a humble affair in 1974 with a mere 284 athletes running through the nearby woods. In 1981 it moved to the city's streets and nowadays attracts more than 70,000 runners every year.
On Sunday it maintained its place in the record books when Dennis Kimetto covered the 26.22 mile (42.2km) course in two hours two minutes and 57 seconds, breaking the previous mark by 26 seconds.
The director, Mark Milde took over from his father, the founder, in 2003. He says there are a few key factors that make it an ideal race for breaking records.
One is that "Berlin is a flat course with few corners". It starts at 38m above sea level, never gets higher than 53m or lower than 37m.
In comparison, London undulates more, twists and turns more frequently, plus runners often face a head wind when running along the River Thames past Embankment. And Boston's finish line is so much lower than its start that it is ineligible for world record attempts.
Graph comparing the undulations of the Berlin, London and Boston courses
Also, competitors in Berlin "run on asphalt and compared to concrete this seems to be helpful. We hear from runners that they have less problems with their joints," says Milde.
"And in late September we have running conditions that are close to ideal. There is not much wind and the temperatures are in the range of 12C to 18C."
In fact the average temperature for late September when the marathon is run is 15C - which falls inside the 10C to 16C window that experts agree is the optimum temperature for a fast race.
The good weather and the flat course have blessed Berlin since 1981 but the spate of world records being broken at this event only started in 2007, so what's changed in recent years?

Marathon records - all set in Berlin

Paul TergatHaile GebrselassieHaile GebrselassiePatrick MakauWilson KipsangDennis Kimetto
Paul TergatHaile Gebrselassie 2007Haile Gebrselassie 2008Patrick MakauWilson KipsangDennis Kimetto
It's widely accepted that we are in something of a golden age of marathon runners with the likes of Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie, Kenya's Wilson Kipsang and the current record holder 30-year-old Dennis Kimetto.
Marathon organisers, with the exception of London, can't afford to pay the massive appearance fees to attract all the top stars. But if you want to break a marathon world record you don't actually want all the best runners in one race says Ross Tucker, an exercise physiologist at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa.
"They get to halfway on course for a world record but now suddenly it becomes a tactical battle because no-one wants to sacrifice themselves to pull four other potential world record breakers towards the line.

More or Less: Behind the stats

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"The optimum set up to break a world record is to have one or two guys who are committed to going for the world record, who are willing to work together and you just set the race up around those two. London pays for its own strengths sometimes with slower times."
Two top stars raced in Berlin this year - Kimetto and compatriot Emmanuel Mutai helped each other maintain a world record pace until Kimetto broke away three miles from the finish.
Kimetto became the first man to run a marathon in under two hours and three minutes and this has led to renewed speculation about when, not if, we will see the magical two-hour barrier broken.
Kimetto seems to have the world at his feet. In 2008 he was a subsistence farmer in Eldoret, Kenya running four miles a day. A chance encounter with Geoffrey Mutai, a winner of the Berlin, Boston and New York marathons resulted in Kimetto going to train with Mutai and he ran his first competitive race in 2011.
The man who won the London Marathon in 1982, Hugh Jones, isn't surprised at the increasingly competitive nature of these races.
Hugh Jones, 1982
Jones ran a respectable, but now seemingly pedestrian, 2:09:24 but says that an increase in the appearance fees, prize money and the general profile of marathon runners has changed things dramatically in the past decade or so.
"In Kenya and Ethiopia certainly it's seen as a career. You would never have thought that in the days of Abebe Bikila and Kip Keino, and now it is. Athletes are almost a different class of people in East Africa and people aspire to that. Any kid running to and from school sees that, latches on to a training group and climbs the ladder," he says.
There are serious amounts of money on offer too. Kimetto won 130,000 euros ($164,000, £102,000) for his efforts last weekend and the winner of a two-year competition called the World Marathon Majors will get $500,000 (£313,000).
But despite the prize money and the removal of political and economic barriers that stopped previous generations of African runners from competing around the globe, Ross Tucker thinks it will take a long time for someone to go under two hours.
"In the midst of all these records falling, it would be foolish to say that we won't see a two-hour marathon because you'll be shown up within a decade, however I think that what will happen is these 20 to 30 second improvements that we've seen will slow down and become 10 to 15 second improvements.
"If it continues as it has in the last five years, we would see a sub two-hour marathon in 15 to 20 years from now but I don't expect that to happen - I think it will take double that, if at all."
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Monday, September 29, 2014

First to Break 2:03, Kenyan Shatters Marathon Record - NYTimes.com

World records at the Berlin Marathon are not so much set as incubated in laboratory conditions.
On Sunday, the sixth men’s world record was achieved in Berlin in the last 11 years as Dennis Kimetto of Kenya ran 2 hours 2 minutes 57 seconds.
On the flat course, aided by a phalanx of pacesetters in cool weather, Kimetto became the first person to run 26.2 miles faster than 2:03 and shattered the record by 26 seconds. It had been set only a year ago in Berlin by a fellow Kenyan, Wilson Kipsang.
“Today is a big day for me,” Kimetto, 30, told reporters after his victory. “The fans made me confident, and I thought I could do it.”
Kimetto’s record victory was the latest in a career of searing ascent. He ran his first marathon only two years ago, in Berlin, and set a world mark for the fastest debut in 2:04:16. He won the 2013 Chicago Marathon and set a course record in 2:03:45, his best time until his world record Sunday.

In 2012, some Berlin commentators said that Kimetto seemed to purposely allow his more accomplished training partner, Geoffrey Mutai, to win the race by a second. But Kimetto showed no deference to his competitors Sunday, running a negative split by covering the second half of the course 33 seconds faster than the first.


Dennis Kimetto of Kenya crossing the finish line of the Berlin Marathon on Sunday.CreditBoris Streubel/Getty Images

His record pace was a stunning 4 minutes 41.5 seconds per mile.
In the final miles, Kimetto took an insurmountable lead over his countryman Emmanuel Mutai, who finished second in 2:03:13 and also broke the record. Abera Kuma of Ethiopia took third in 2:05:56.
Immediately, speculation was renewed about whether, and when, the two-hour barrier might be broken.
“From what I saw today, times are coming down and down,” Emmanuel Mutai told reporters. “So if not today, then tomorrow. Maybe next time we’ll get 2:01.”
In the women’s race, Shalane Flanagan of the United States missed her attempt to set an American record but established her personal best of 2:21:14 in finishing third.
As she did in Boston in April, Flanagan went to the lead in Berlin. She was attempting to break the American women’s mark of 2:19:36, held by Deena Kastor, the bronze medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
At the halfway point, Flanagan held a lead of 18 seconds at 1:09:38. Her buffer expanded to 22 seconds before she was reeled in by two Ethiopians. Tirfi Tsegaye won in 2:20:18, while her countrywoman Feyse Tadese took second in 2:20:27.
“I think it’s all about perspective,” Flanagan, a bronze medalist in the 10,000 meters at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, told reporters. “This year I’ve dropped four minutes from my overall marathon time.”
She added, “Sometimes we have to push ourselves and be subject to failure before we have the big, breakthrough success.”
In the men’s race, a half-dozen runners followed pacesetters to the halfway point in 1:01:45. Emmanuel Mutai reached 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) in 1:27:37, a record for the distance. He surged to try to break Kimetto and another Kenyan, Geoffrey Kamworor.
By 35 kilometers (21.7 miles), four and a half miles from the finish, Kamworor, who would finish fourth, had drifted off the pace. It was now left to Kimetto and Mutai to settle the race and the world record.
Kimetto began to draw away slightly. At 40 kilometers (24.8 miles), his lead expanded to seven seconds. In April, Kimetto dropped out late during theBoston Marathon because of a hamstring injury. There was no such disruption Sunday. Kimetto ran through the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and maintained his speed to set a world record and break the 2:03 barrier.
Afterward, Kimetto said he thought he could run faster. No one doubted him. Not in Berlin. Not on this course.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Robin Williams Had Deep Running Roots | Runner's World & Running Times

View image on TwitterComedian was fast in high school, joked about marathons.


August 12, 2014

The death of stand-up comedian and Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams has had a profound effect on communities worldwide–the running community among them. 
Williams, beloved for his roles in Good Will HuntingDead Poets SocietyGood Morning Vietnam, and countless others, ran track in high school, including a 1:58.8 800 meters in 1969. His relay team at Redwood High in Larkspur, California, once held the 4 x 400-meter school record , which remained in place for decades. 
Track records aside, Williams once famously quipped, “I love running cross-country … on the track I feel like a hamster.”
Although Williams participated in numerous running races, including the Dipsea Race in 1984 , he's probably better known in sports for his cycling involvement and support of the Challenged Athletes Foundation , an organization that provides opportunities and support to athletes with physical disabilities. 
His 20-year involvement with the foundation included teaming up with disabled athletes to participate in triathlons. One of his teammates, double-amputee Rudy Garcia-Tolson–featured in our 2006 Heroes of Running–went on theOprah Winfrey show with Williams to talk about the achievements of athletes with disabilities.
Founding members of the organization said the actor's presence brought attention and credibility to their cause. "He truly found joy in participating side-by-side with our challenged athletes and we cannot thank him enough for the support and energy he brought to our organization," they said in a statement onthe organization's website .
Williams will always be remembered for his outstanding comedic roles and standup performances, which occasionally touched on the subject of running. 
In his act, Williams had this to say of elite running: "One of my favorite runners of all time was Abebe Bikila. He was an Ethiopian distance runner, and he won the Rome Olympics running barefoot. He was then sponsored by Adidas. He ran the next Olympics, he carried the f–-in’ shoes!"
Below is a clip of Williams explaining how running a marathon delivers a cheaper high than cocaine (with some explicit language). RIP to an unparalleled actor, comedian, humanitarian, and runner.