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Feleke and Hahner sensationally take Vienna

Getu Feleke clocked a superb course record at the 31st Vienna City Marathon. The Ethiopian won the race in good weather conditions with 2:05:41. He was well ahead of the Kenyans Alfred Kering (2:08:28) and Philip Kimutai Sanga (2:08:58). There was a major upset in the women’s race. With 300 metres to go Germany’s Anna Hahner passed a struggling Caroline Chepkwony. Hahner clocked 2:28:59 in her first marathon victory. The Kenyan was second with 2:29:18 and Ethiopia’s Marta Lema took third in 2:31:10. A record number of 42,078 runners from 127 nations entered the various events of the Vienna City Marathon. The event is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

Anna Hahner at the Vienna Marathon

Anna Hahner at the Vienna Marathon (Photo:

A very fast men’s race developed in fine weather conditions with temperatures of 10 Celsius at the start, overcast skies and hardly any wind. However in the later stages it started raining and the wind picked up. A group of twelve runners passed the 10 k point in 29:45 minutes. With the high pace the group was reduced to eight runners by half way (62:42). Surprisingly one of those who lost contact was defending champion Henry Sugut. The Kenyan, who had hoped to become the first runner to win in Vienna for a fourth time, started struggling around the 15 k mark and later dropped out of the race.

At 25 k there were four runners in contention behind two pacemakers: Feleke plus Kenyans Philip Kimuta, Felix Kiprotich and Wilfred Kirwa Kigen. The group continued to run very fast, covering the 5 k section from 20 to 25 k in 14:32. Once the last pacemaker dropped out at 30 k (1:28:48) it was Feleke who took the initiative. The 27 year-old, who has a PB of 2:04:50 and is the fastest runner ever entered into the Vienna City Marathon, burst away, covering the 31st kilometre in 2:46. This was the decisive break with noone able to follow the Ethiopian. “Before I pushed the pace I had a look at the others and thought that I should go,” explained Feleke, who said: “It was my goal to win and to run under 2:06. However if I would have had company in the final part of the race I could have run under 2:05.” Feleke broke Sugut’s course record of 2:06:58 by well over a minute and was almost three minutes ahead of second placed Kering.

The women’s race was a completely different story. Caroline Chepkwony, who was the pre-race favourite, took control from the start. Running in a leading group of four with Lema, Alice Chelangat (Kenya) and Mai Ito (Japan) she moved ahead before the 20 k mark. At half way (1:12:13) Chepkwony was already 20 seconds ahead. While Chelangat, Lema and Ito all faltered badly Chepkwony soon had a huge lead. Well behind her Germany’s Anna Hahner, the twin sister of Lisa, overtook one after another and was finally second at 35 k. “That was the best I could have hoped for,” Hahner later explaiend. At this point Chepkwony was 2:23 minutes ahead of the German, who had broken 2:30 in last year’s Frankfurt Marathon for the first time (2:27:55).

While Chepkwony looked a certain winner the picture suddenly changed. With a few kilometres to go the Kenyan dramatically slowed and Anna Hahner made up ground. But at 40 k there was still a 1:24 minute gap between the two. However with 300 metres to go Hahner indeed caught the Kenyan, who could barely run any more. “I am totally overwhelmed and still in dreamland,” said Hahner, who waltzed in the finish are since this year’s motto of the race was “Everybody waltz”. Hahner sealed the first German victory in Vienna since Christa Vahlensiek in 1989.


Mergia drops out of Vattenfall Berlin Half Marathon

Photo of Aselefech Mergia

Aselefech Mergia from Ethiopia is a world class contender on the halfmarathon and the marathon. She was one of the favourites at the Vattenfall BERLIN HALFMARATHON. Photo: PHOTORUN


Aselefech Mergia has dropped out  of the women’s elite field at the Vattenfall BERLIN HALFMARATHON on March 30 due to a cold. New in the field is another Ethiopian runner, Tadelech Bekele (22), who has clocked 1:08:38 for third place at the Valencia half marathon 2013. She will be the main contender of Sabrina Mockenhaupt of Germany who most recently placed 7th in the 2013 New York City Marathon (half marathon pb 1:08:45). With a personal best of 30:38 for 10 k which she clocked last October in Berlin, Tadelech Bekele should be able to run faster than 1:08 on a good day.

Leonard Komon (26) from Kenya is trying to run fast in the men’s half marathon. He was a very successful cross country runner and holds world records at road distances of 10 and 15 km, having clocked 26:44 min in Utrecht/Netherlands in 2010 and 41:13 min in Nijmegen in 2011. His 10,000 m best on the track stands at 26:55:29 (2011).

His main competition on the flat and fast course should come from Daniel Chebii (Kenya), Abera Kuma (Ethiopia), Abraham Cheroben and Richard Mengich (both Kenya).

30.000 runners have registered for Germany’s biggest halfmarathon. The limited field sold out in December of last year.

There is a livestream of the race on the website lasting from 9.15 am until 2 pm.

Newly appointed Race Director for the Comrades Marathon

Rowyn JamesThe Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) has welcomed its newly appointed Race Director. Rowyn James joins the association as of next month and will oversee the 89th edition of the world’s greatest ultra-marathon, come 1 June 2014.

Rowyn brings with him a wealth of race organising skills and experience; having been the former General Manager and Race Director of the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town.

He has also previously worked as the Sports Marketing Manager of Nike South Africa; was a member of the Deloitte Pretoria Marathon organising committee for 8 years; and is a qualified Athletics South Africa level 2 official. Rowyn is also the proud owner of 15 Comrades Marathon medals.

Rowyn’s previous work experience and his love for road-running will be a boost to his new position. The largest part of his working career has been within the sporting industry with particular emphasis on road running.


On his appointment, he says, “I am honoured and privileged to have been appointed to this position and thank the CMA Board for the faith and trust they have placed in me; thereby enabling me to achieve my lifelong dream of being a part of the iconic Comrades Marathon Association.”


He adds, “Key for me will be to maintain and enhance the wealth of knowledge and experience of my fellow team players which already exists; and work with them in enhancing new innovations and strategies which will continue to propel the Comrades Marathon forward, whilst acknowledging and respecting the rich culture, history and tradition of the race.”


Rowyn continues, “I have a passion for athletics and in particular road running and being able to channel that passion and knowledge towards the number one road running event in South Africa is paramount; thereby enhancing the overall runners experience of the Comrades Marathon.”


On having completed 15 Comrades Marathons, Rowyn says, “I have been fortunate and blessed to have finished 15 journeys of my own, so I can attest to the spirit of camaraderie that exists in the months leading up to race day and indeed on race day itself. It’s an opportunity for each and every participant to “make excellence happen”.


CMA General Manager, Chris Bruwer says, “Together with the rest of the Comrades Marathon team, we are thrilled to welcome Rowyn to the Comrades Marathon family. With Rowyn overseeing the 2014 Ultimate Human Race, we aim to give all participants an unbelievable race day experience and ensure the continuity and sustainability of this iconic brand that is the Comrades Marathon.”

CMA Chairman, Macdonald Chitja says, “We are pleased to announce the appointment of Rowyn James as the new CMA Race Director. The Board is relieved that the Race Director position has been filled. Rowyn has all the qualities to be a very successful Race Director and we wish him well.”

Wilson Chebet in new course record at TCS Amsterdam

Wilson Chebet passes the Amstel Hotel. Photo: Soenar Chamid

Mister Amsterdam fulfilled his favourite role during the 38th TCS Amsterdam Marathon. Loud cheers were heard when Wilson Chebet entered the Olympic Stadium, and improved the course record with five seconds, with a time of 2.05.36. This signifies his third win in a row, which, in itself, is a spectacular achievement. Kenya also took first place amongst the ladies. Valentine Kipketer received the flowers after 2.23.02, which was a personal record for her. The TCS Amsterdam Marathon, which holds the IAAF Gold Label, received more participants than ever before. An incredible 42,600 runners entered the race in the various components (marathon, Mizuno Half Marathon, TCS 8 km and the children’s run).


Record Breaking Day at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Performances at today’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon left organisers delighted as the Canadian women’s marathon record was finally beaten after twenty eight years, writes Paul Gains. And, not by just one athlete.

Lanni Marchant and Krista DuChene, who both represented Canada at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow, climbed into the upper ranks of marathoning with their personal best performances under near ideal weather conditions.

Marchant recorded a time of 2:28:00 to take 36 seconds off Syliva Ruegger’s record claiming 3rd place overall while DuChene finished 33 seconds behind in 4th.

The former earned $8,000 prize money plus a $28,000 Canadian record bonus which was generously offered by title sponsor Scotiabank. The pair were greeted with hugs at the finish of this IAAF Silver Label Race by Ruegger herself.

“It is a great day for the marathon in Canada and a great day for Canadian marathoning” Race Director Alan Brookes declared. “And it was a great day for our city.”

Lanni, Sylvia Ruegger and Krista - a special moment for Canadian Women's marathoning!Lanni, Sylvia Ruegger and Krista – a special moment for Canadian Women’s marathoning!

Marchant, a native of London, Ontario, finished behind Kenyan winner Flomena Cheyech (2:25:13) and Ethiopia’s Sechale Adugna (2:26:43) but the result scarcely mattered. Sharing the spotlight with Ruegger was a dream come true.

“It’s kind of special for me,” she declared. “When I first started marathoning my coach Dave Mills in London said ‘hey the record needs to go down some day.’ I don’t think either of us thought I would be the one to do it. I am in shock now. I didn’t expect it

“And having Sylvia here; she is such a legend to me and she is such a strong personality, I am in awe. I have never put myself on her level so I am kind of weirded out on the whole thing.”

Asked when she knew she had the record safely in her hands she laughed.

“Really not ever until even the last kilometre,” she laughed. “I asked the guy on the bike ‘how far back is Krista? and ‘what pace ‘am I on?’ My calfs didn’t cramp as bad as the world championships but they definitely started to hurt.

“Throughout the whole race our pacers were great and I just tucked in behind Krista and the pacer. I guess about 33k or 34k I kind of pulled away from Krista and I was thinking I have to keep going. The worlds was in the back of mind and with a flip of a switch things can go wrong. So I though just take control, stay patient. Then some of the Ethiopian and Kenyan women started coming back to me. I am still in shock.”

Deressa Chimsa of Ethiopia sets a new Canadian All Comers’ record of 2:07:05

The men’s race yielded a new Canadian All Comers’ record of 2:07:05 as Deressa Chimsa of Ethiopia ran away from the field in the last five kilometres. The victory earned him $20,000 plus a course record bonus of $35,000. Behind him Kenya’s Solomon Kiptoo ran 2:09:03 with Habtamu Assefa (Ethiopia) third in 2:10:38.

“I couldn’t make a 2:06 today but next time I can.” he said. “I am happy to finish in the time I did. I can run 2:06 but in the end I felt tired. I made a mistake in the end and (temporarily) went with the pace car when it turned off the course (with 400m remaining).

“The roads were smooth, I didn’t mind the course I had no problems. I feel happy today.”

Canadian men were also prominent. Eric Gillis, a two time Canadian Olympian from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, was on Canadian record pace for 30 kilometres but faded in the final stages to finish 5th in 2:11:49. It was the second fastest time of his career. Behind him in 6th was Rob Watson of London, Ontario in a new personal best of 2:13:29. Defending Toronto champion, Sahle Warga of Ethiopia, was 7th in 2:16:03.

“It was tough my body felt ok but once I started slowing down,” Gillis revealed, “I couldn’t pick it back up I tried not to look at splits the last 10km because I didn’t think i was going to be too happy with them. I thought I could run under 2:11.

“Somewhere in the last 5km I really slowed down. I had the best first half of a race I have ever had. I had amazing pacers that took me to 30k on Canadian Record pace and I think today just showed me that I am going to have to get stronger for that last 12km. That’s where you make or break the marathon in terms of good times.”

Deep quality fields assembled for BMW Frankfurt Marathon


When it comes to the depth of the elite fields the BMW Frankfurt Marathon is Germany’s number one road race. Once again there are amazingly deep quality fields for the event on 27th October. Organisers confirmed that 21 men are on the start list who have run under 2:10 and five of them even have personal bests inside 2:05:30. The women’s field will see ten athletes who have run faster than 2:30 with eight of them featuring PBs of sub 2:25.

The BMW Frankfurt Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race. Around 15,000 runners are expected to compete in the 32nd edition of Germany’s oldest city marathon. Race entry is still available online at:

“Despite the World Championships this summer we were able to put together a very good field,” said Race Director Jo Schindler. The extraordinary quality of the fields arouses strong expectations. A fast race is likely if weather conditions are better than last year, when temperatures were just above freezing in the morning. It will still be a tough task to break the course record, which stands at 2:03:42, requiring more or less world record pace to be put under pressure. The fastest runners in the field were announced earlier in the month: Dino Sefir (2:04:50), Feyisa Lilesa (both Ethiopia/2:04:52), Vincent Kiprutu (2:05:13), Levy Matebo Omari (2:05:16) and Albert Matebor (all Kenya/2:05:25) are those with PBs of sub 2:05:30. Eric Ndiema (2:06:07) is also regarded as one of the big favourites, but Moses Masai (both Kenya/2:11:00) could produce a surprise.

The women’s field sees two major additions, apart from those already announced. Tirfi Tsegaye (Ethiopia) returns to Germany a year after her second place in the Berlin Marathon with a PB of 2:21:19. In the meantime she has won the Dubai Marathon and placed fifth in Boston. As last year there is a promising debutant from Ethiopia: Gelete Burka will run her first marathon in Frankfurt on 27th October. The 27 year-old has won major medals in the 1,500 m and cross country. She’s also demonstrated her all round talent on the roads in the past two years, running a world class 30:53 at 10 k in Madrid’s New Year’s Eve race in 2012. Burka has not run further than 15 k in competition but this might not turn out to be a disadvantage since the same applied to another Ethiopian, Meselech Melkamu, 12 months ago. The Ethiopian made a great debut, winnng the BMW Frankfurt Marathon 2012 with a course record of 2:21:01. Melkamu will return to Frankfurt and has no need to be reminded of Burka’s achievements. This potent mix could set up an attack on the course record and possible sub 2:20 performances for the leading women in Frankfurt.

Elite Fields for the BMW Frankfurt Marathon

Dino Sefir ETH 2:04:50
Feyisa Lilesa ETH 2:04:52
Vincent Kipruto KEN 2:05:13
Levy Matebo Omari KEN 2:05:16
Albert Matebor KEN 2:05:25
Eric Ndiema KEN 2:06:07
Gilbert Kirwa KEN 2:06:14
Feyisa Bekele ETH 2:06:26
Benjamin Maiyo KEN 2:07:09
Dmytri Baranovskiy UKR 2:07:15
Assefa Girma ETH 2:07:43
Tadesse Abraham SUI 2:07:45
Elijah Kemboi KEN 2:07:51
Gidena Mirach Gebremedhin ETH 2:08:28
Dereje Raya Tadesse ETH 2:08:46
Robert Kwambai KEN 2:09:14
Urige Arado Buta NOR 2:09:27
Jacob Chesari KEN 2:09:43
Meftah Abdellatif FRA 2:09:46
Lema Feiysa ETH 2:09:47
Jonathan Kiptoo KEN 2:09:57
Johnstone Maiyo KEN 2:10:03
Günther Weidlinger AUT 2:10:47
Moses Masai KEN 2:11:00
Edwin Kipyego KEN Debut
Richard Sigei KEN Debut
Abraham Chebii KEN Debut

Meselech Melkamu ETH 2:21:01
Tirfi Tsegaye ETH 2:21:19
Eunice Jepkirui KEN 2:21:41
Mamitu Daska ETH 2:21:59
Caroline Kilel KEN 2:22:36
Birhane Dibaba ETH 2:23:51
Flomena Chepchirchir KEN 2:24:21
Hilda Kibet NED 2:24:27
Yeshi Esayias ETH 2:25:31
Hayley Haining GBR 2:29:18
Anna Hahner GER 2:30:14
Maja Neuenschwander SUI 2:30:50
Lisa Hahner GER 2:31:28
Agnieszka Ciolek-Mierzejewska POL 2:33:36
Catherine Bertone ITA 2:34:54

Information and online entry is available at:

Top runners challenge for AIMS Best Marathon Runner Award

A quartet stacked with talent comprising Stephen Kiprotich and Wilson Kipsang on the men’s side and Edna Kiplagat and Priscah Jeptoo for the women are contenders for the AIMS Best Marathon Runner (BMR) of the year Award, which will be presented in Athens to a male and a female athlete for the first time on 8th November. The award’s announcement will form the crowning moment of a gala to be staged by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) in cooperation with the Hellenic Athletics Federation (SEGAS) in Athens to honour the winners. This will take place two days before the Athens Classic Marathon, which will be staged by SEGAS on 10th November, a race which has attracted over 30,000 participants in this and its associate events.

After the Berlin Marathon the AIMS Executive Board nominated candidates for this inaugural award. Board members have taken into account performances over the past twelve months from October 2012 to September 2013. With the candidates now confirmed, every AIMS member race has one vote to determine the winner. There are currently more than 350 AIMS member races.
Stephen Kiprotich and Wilson Kipsang are the contenders for the men’s title. This year Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich added the World Championships gold medal to his Olympic title when he ran 2:09:51 in Moscow. But the gold from London 2012 falls outside the period that determines the AIMS Best Marathon Runner of the Year. Prior to his World Championship triumph, the 24 year-old Kiprotich finished sixth in the London Marathon with 2:08:05.

Stephen Kiprotich was one place behind Wilson Kipsang, who clocked 2:07:47 in London. When the 31-year-old Kenyan arrived in Berlin in the last week in September, he was known as the runner who had missed the world record by just four seconds with his time of 2:03:42 in Frankfurt in 2011. However, Kipsang atoned for that miss in impressive style, breaking the world record by 15 seconds to set the new mark of 2:03:23.

Edna Kiplagat and Priscah Jeptoo are vying for honours in the women’s award. When they raced each other in this year’s London Marathon, the 29-year-old Jeptoo won the title in 2:20:15, which was the fastest in the world between the beginning of October 2012 and the end of September 2013 – the time period AIMS has set for evaluating the candidates. Jeptoo will run her second marathon of the year in New York in November, but this will not count towards this year’s award.

The 34 year-old Kiplagat finished runner-up to Jeptoo in London with 2:21:32. The Kenyan then retained her World Championship marathon title, running 2:25:44 in warm conditions in Moscow. Kiplagat’s success was a landmark as she became the first woman to win consecutive World Championship marathons.

The day after the AIMS BMR Gala the award winners will visit the birthplace of their event. The annual opening ceremony of the Athens Classic Marathon will take place at the Marathon Tomb, marking the mass grave of the Greek soldiers who died in the battle in 490 BC and situated nearby the town of Marathon, the town that gave the event its name. Following the ceremony, the Marathon Flame, which has travelled worldwide to various marathons during the past seven years, will be lit overlooking the start line of the Athens Classic Marathon.

More than 11,000 runners will begin their race on the authentic marathon course on the morning of Sunday, 10th November. The course starts in Marathon, circles around the Marathon Tomb and then over the hills towards Athens, where runners will be rewarded for their efforts on a testing course with a grandstand finish in the Panathenaikon Stadium, the old marble Olympic Arena from the first modern Games of 1896. Races of shorter distances will begin in Athens and also finish inside the stadium. A further 20,000 runners have entered these events. While registration for the shorter races is closed, entries for the marathon are still open. The Athens Classic Marathon will feature an international elite field and this will be announced in due course.

More information and online entry available at: <