To Race Directors: For inclusion in this section, please send your articles to gary@distancerunning.co.uk.

Minsk Half Marathon

Race date for Minsk Half Marathon (BLR) changed

The Minsk Half Marathon (BLR) will take place on Sun 4 September 2016, not Sun 11 September 2016 as previously published.

Gran Maraton Mexiquense

Race date for Gran Maraton Mexiquense (MEX) changed

The Gran Maraton Mexiquense (MEX) will take place on Sun 5 June 2016, not Mon 6 June 2016 as previously published.

Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon

Race date for Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon (UKR) changed

The Wizz Air Kyiv City Marathon (UKR) will take place on Sun 9 October 2016, not Sun 18 September 2016 as previously published.

Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon and Ottawa 10K

Heat forces shorter race for some runners at Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

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Hot and humid temperatures forced a detour for some runners at the 2016 Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon.

Shortly after 11 a.m. at around the 4-hour mark of the race, officials made a weather-based decision to close a roughly 10 kilometre stretch of the marathon course to remaining runners returning to Ottawa from Gatineau via the Alexandra Bridge.

At their pace this meant about 1 ¼ hours less time on the roads at what would be the hottest point in the day, with expected humidex readings as high as 40 degrees C.

It was a different story in the earlier part of the day, where spectators witnessed an Ethiopian sweep in both the men’s and women’s categories.
Hot weather conditions didn’t do much to slow down the frontrunners and Rio Olympic Games hopefuls, who delivered some of the marathon’s strongest performances ever. Ottawa was a preferred destination for many elite-level athletes looking to secure an Olympics berth.

Frontrunner Dino Sefir, 28, crossed the finish line in 2:08:14, nearly two full minutes ahead of fellow Ethiopian Shura Kitata, 19, who ran 2:10:04. Kenyan Dominic Ondoro rounded out the top three with a time of 2:11:39.

All three of the top female finishers this year were Ethiopians. Koren Jelela, 29, ran 2:27:06. She beat last year’s winner, 32-year-old Aberu Mekuria, who came in at 2:29:51. Third place finisher was Sechale Dalasa, 24, with a time of 2:32:46.

HAJ Hannover Marathon

Race date for HAJ Hannover Marathon (GER) changed

The HAJ Hannover Marathon (GER) will take place on Sun 9 April 2017, not Sun 23 April 2017 as previously published.

London honours

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Hugh Jones, Secretary of AIMS since 1996, received the Disley Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to marathon running in the United Kingdom over several decades.

Hugh, a Londoner himself, was the first British winner of the London men’s title in 1982 (2:09:24), has been actively involved with the event ever since, and is the AIMS/IAAF Measurer responsible for its certification. The honour first given last year to Paula Radcliffe, world record holder and three times previous winner at London, was initiated by John Disley, co-founder of the London Marathon in 1981 who died aged 87 in February 2016.

HRH Prince Harry, as Patron of the London Marathon Charitable Trust, and Mrs Sylvia Disley, John’s widow and an Olympian herself who won bronze in the 4×100m relay at the 1952 Olympics, are pictured jointly presenting the Award to Hugh after the London Marathon on 24th April 2016.

Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Mainova is new title sponsor of Frankfurt Marathon

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The Frankfurt Marathon has a new title sponsor for its 35th and latest edition. Mainova AG will make its debut as title sponsor for the anniversary race on 30 October, 2016. The contract will run until 2018. The Mainova Frankfurt Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, which finishes in the magnificent indoor setting of the city’s “Festhalle” or Festival Hall.

The announcement marks a new chapter in the longstanding and proven partnership between Germany’s oldest city marathon and Hessen’s biggest energy provider. Mainova has already been for some time the chief supporter of the Children’s and Youth competitions, “The Kids Race powered by Mainova” and the “Mainova Mini-Marathon”. In future the regional service provider will concentrate on the main race over 42.195 kilometres but will retain its links as partner with the junior races.

Mainova’s chairman Dr. Constantin H. Alsheimer commented: “The involvement with the Frankfurt Marathon is the guiding light of our new running sponsorship. The race is the most important mass participation sports event in the Rhein-Main region. The marathon attracts around 25,000 ambitious and committed runners to our mutual home region every year. In addition there are the hundreds of thousands of fans who cheer the runners along the course and celebrate a great festival of mass sport.”

Race director Jo Schindler expressed his delight: “Mainova AG as Germany’s fifth largest energy supplier has, with its choice of the Frankfurt Marathon in its home city, selected the best platform to give living proof of energy and sustainability. The classic race as one of the greenest marathons in the world and Mainova with its attractive Eco-offers make for a great combination.”

Maratón Powerade Monterrey

Race date for Maratón Powerade Monterrey (MEX) changed

The Maratón Powerade Monterrey (MEX) will take place on Sun 11 December 2016, not Tue 13 December 2016 as previously published.

Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon and Ottawa 10K

Elite runners compete for top places in Ottowa

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Organisers of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Gold label 2016 Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon expect a hotly contested race as the list of confirmed elite runners grows.

Organisers have seen an impact on the elite field in the lead-up to the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Some well-known marathoners familiar to Ottawa fans, including Canadians Reid Coolsaet and Lanni Marchant have already qualified for the Games and are taking a pass on the marathon to pace their training. For others it is a last opportunity to qualify, and as many as seven runners from several countries are eyeing Ottawa as a flat, fast course to secure an Olympics berth. Despite these factors, organizers say event records could topple – even the marathon record on Canadian soil.

Ethiopians could dominate the course for the third year running, based on how the roster is shaping up. Last year’s winner in the men’s category, 29-year-old Girmay Birhanu, is returning to defend his title and shave time off his 2:08:14 finish. He’ll face hot competition from fellow countrymen Dino Sefir and Megersa Bacha, who boast personal best times of 2:04:50 and 2:07:14 respectively. But a win won’t be handed to the Ethiopians on a silver platter. They’ll need to keep a sharp eye on the Kenyans and particularly Vincent Kipruto, who comes to Ottawa with a 2:05:13 personal best under his belt.

Ethiopians also dominate the top 10 women. Aberu Mekuria, 32, will be at the start line hoping to defend her Ottawa title and improve on her last year’s 2:25:30 winning time. She could be joined by as many as five of her compatriots including Koren Jelela, the current Canadian-soil record holder. Leading the charge against the Ethiopians is Kenyan Isabella Ochichi, a 5,000 metre Olympic silver medalist. Canadians Rachel Hannah, Tarah Korir and Leslie Sexton are also on the start list and hope to achieve the Canadian Olympic standard of 2:29:50.

If it’s a good day, organizers believe the 2016 Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon could continue to build on its reputation as Canada’s fastest course. Ottawa already boasts the best marathon time for men on Canadian soil and has had the fastest men’s marathon in Canada for the last two years. If the women can beat the 2:22:43, set by Koren Jelela in 2011, the winner would take home a new Hyundai Tuscon from Ottawa’s Pathway Hyundai and add to the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend’s already long and impressive list of records.

METRO GROUP Marathon Düsseldorf

Kosgei and Erdelyi win in Düsseldorf

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Japhet Kosgei won the 14th edition of the METRO GROUP Marathon Düsseldorf. Taking into account the weather conditions with cold temperatures, wind and a couple of hail showers he clocked a fine time of 2:10:46.

Defending champion Marius Ionescu of Romania took second with a personal best of 2:13:00 while Germany’s Hendrik Pfeiffer ran a superb debut in difficult conditions. The 23 year-old was third, but more important qualified for the Olympic marathon with a time of 2:13:11. Hungary’s Zsofia Erdelyi dominated the women’s race, winning with 2:35:37 from Beverly Ramos of Puerto Rico, who clocked a national record of 2:36:31. Belgium’s Hanna Vandenbusche was third in 2:39:50.

Adding other running events staged parallel to the marathon a total of around 17,000 runners entered the METRO GROUP Marathon Düsseldorf. “We are really happy and proud that Hendrik Pfeiffer snatched a ticket to Rio today. That was a superb bonus to a great event,” said race director Jan Winschermann.

For a large part of the race the leading group ran a pace that pointed towards a finishing time of around 2:09. Running behind a pacemaker Kenyans Mathew Bowen, Francis Lagat and eventual winner Japhet Kosgei passed the half way point in 64:25. The fastest man in the field had already been dropped at 15 k and was trailing the first group by almost 90 seconds at half way: Philipp Sanga, who has a PB of 2:06:07 and hoped to attack the 2:07:48 course record, had problems in the cold and windy weather. He later dropped out. In contrast Japhet Kosgei ran strongly in the uncomfortable conditions. The Kenyan dropped his rivals at 23 k and built a commanding lead. It was only in the final section of the race when he slowed a bit and missed a sub 2:10 time.

“Of course it was very cold today. But the course is good. In better weather conditions I could have run 2:08 today,” said Kosgei, who has a personal best of 2:08:08. While Sanga had been a late entry to the marathon the same applied to Japhet Kosgei. The 28 year-old, who has been known as Collins Kosgei Tanui before, was supposed to run the Warsaw Marathon today. However his visa was somehow not valid for Poland. “I only found out on Tuesday that I would not be able to run in Warsaw. So I was very grateful when I got the chance to run in Duesseldorf instead,” said Kosgei, who hopes to improve to 2:06 in the future. “I would very much like to run one of the big German autumn marathons in Berlin or Frankfurt this year and improve my time.”

The most surprising performance of the day came by a runner born in Düsseldorf, who now lives not far away from the city and competes for Wattenscheid. Against all odds Hendrik Pfeiffer booked a ticket to Rio. With the help of pacemakers he achieved a debut time of 2:13:11. While the weather was far from ideal he additionally suffered of a muscle problem in his lower leg during the final week before Düsseldorf. “I could barely walk some days ago, but today I had no problems. I was a bit sceptical before the race. However everything went according to plan,” said Hendrik Pfeiffer. “I have to thank my pacemakers, because they did a tremendous job.”

In the women’s race Zsofia Erdelyi and Beverly Ramos left behind the other contenders early in the race. They passed through 10k in 36:42 and were already 40 seconds ahead. It was around the 20 k mark, when 28 year-old Hungarian Erdelyi, who had a personal best of 2:36:56, took the lead. At the half way mark, which she passed in 1:17:51, she was already 12 seconds ahead of Ramos.

While Erdelyi won in 2:35:37 second placed Ramos beat her own national record by more than five minutes with a time of 2:36:31. The runner from Puerto Rico had a PB of 2:41:56 from her debut in New York last year.