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BMW Berlin Marathon

Kenyan double in Berlin Marathon


A Kenyan double in a major marathon is hardly unusual but there was a majestic quality about the manner of victory for both Eliud Kipchoge and Gladys Cherono on the streets of Berlin in the 42nd edition of the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON. The 30-year-old Kipchoge defied footwear problems to run a 2:04:00 personal best by five seconds in ideal weather conditions. He achieved this while both his insoles were flapping about, half out of his shoes, from kilometre 16, although the runner himself admitted he had been aware of a problem within the first kilometre. His fellow Kenyan Eliud Kiptanui achieved a big lifetime best for second place with 2:05:22 ahead of the Ethiopian Feyisa Lelisa, who clocked 2:06:57. Gladys Cherono smashed the 2:20 barrier in only her second marathon, joining the exclusive club of now 18 women who have achieved this distinction. The Kenyan ran the fastest woman’s time of the year with 2:19:25 ahead of the Ethiopian duo of the former Berlin winner Aberu Kebede (2:20:48) and Meseret Hailu (2:24:33). Taking into account both winning times, this edition of the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON achieved seventh place in the all-time marathon list for quality of performance. A grand total of 41,224 runners had registered for the race.

A leading group of six was soon formed with the Kenyans Emmanuel Mutai, Eliud Kipchoge, Geoffrey Mutai and Eliud Kiptanui prominent along with the Ethiopians Feyisa Lelisa and Tamirat Tola. As the pacemakers went about their work in the early stages, the main talking point was the state of Eliud Kipchoge’s shoes: the bright yellow footwear had acquired a distinctive and unwanted accessory: both insoles had worked their way out of the shoes and were flapping around his ankles with every step.

“It wasn’t a good day for me in these shoes, although they’re actually very good. I tested them in Kenya but just had bad luck on the day. I had problems from the first kilometre,” explained Eliud Kipchoge, who may well have threatened the world and course record of Dennis Kimetto from last year but for this. Last year Kimetto became the first man to break 2:03 when he won the Berlin title in 2:02:57.

An attack on the world record began to look out of reach when the lead group went through halfway in 61:53 since the plan had been for a split of 61:30. Despite his handicap, Eliud Kipchoge pushed the pace after David Kogei, the last pacemaker, dropped out at 29 km. Kipchoge’s surge split the leading group and set up the decisive move when he ran 2:48 for the 32nd kilometre. That took him well clear of his training partner Emmanuel Mutai. The latter was then overtaken by Eliud Kiptanui and Feyisa Lelisa and finished fourth in 2:07:46.

“My goal was the world record but it wasn’t to be today. Nevertheless I’m delighted with this win and a personal best. I would love to return to Berlin and improve my time,” said Eliud Kipchoge, who finished second in the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON two years ago in what remained his personal best of 2:04:05 until today. The improvement of five seconds took him to ninth on the all-time rankings for the fastest marathons.

Gladys Cherono was always to the fore among a quartet who formed the women’s leading group. In January this year the Kenyan ran a highly impressive marathon debut of 2:20:03 in Dubai while she had alongside her the Ethiopians Aberu Kebede, twice a winner of the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON title (2010 and 2012) as well as Meseret Hailu and Tadelech Bekele. The race had become a duel before 20 km as Cherono and Kebede drew clear. After a halfway split of 70:15, Cherono increased the pace with 10 km to run and broke away from her Ethiopian rival. That injection of pace also helped her go under 2:20.

Gladys Cherono ran through the Brandenburg Gate and across the finish line in 2:19:25, the third fastest time ever run by a woman in Berlin and just 13 seconds slower than the course record set by Japan’s Mizuki Noguchi ten years ago. "I didn’t expect to run so fast and am delighted to win and the way I did it,” said the Kenyan, who achieved the fastest women’s marathon time since April 2012.

BMW Berlin Marathon

World-class line-up for Berlin Marathon

41,224 runners including a world-class elite field will tackle the distance of 42.195 km in Germany’s biggest marathon on Sunday 27th September.

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, arguably the most successful marathon runner of the past twelve months, will join forces with two compatriots who occupy second and third spot in the all-time marathon rankings. In his last two triumphs over the classic distance – Chicago (2014) and London (2015) – Kipchoge already managed to beat elite fields of the highest quality. The former 5,000m world champion will now attempt to improve his personal best of 2:04:05 which he set here in Berlin in 2013, when he was beaten into second place by Wilson Kipsang, who himself ran a world record (2:03:23) that day.

Kipchoge will certainly attempt to complete his hat-trick of wins even though he is up against extremely strong competition again: Emmanuel Mutai (Kenya) is the third fastest marathon runner of all time, since finishing relatively close behind winner Dennis Kimetto when he set the current world record of 2:02:57 in last year’s BMW Berlin Marathon. Mutai, who played a large part in maintaining the pace that made the record possible, crossed the line in 2:03:13. The third member of the formidable trio is his namesake Geoffrey Mutai (no relation) whose 2:03:02 in the 2011 Boston Marathon (course not eligible for records) was the fastest ever run over the distance at the time. He went on to win New York later that year and followed this up by winning the BMW Berlin Marathon in 2012.

All three of them have experience on the Berlin course, which is regarded as the fastest in the world. They will be there on the start line for exactly this reason – to improve their personal bests. How the story ends will be determined this weekend and will be partly dependent on weather conditions on the day.

In the women’s race Aberu Kebede from Ethiopia leads the field. She won here in 2010 and 2012, and in the first of the two victories she set her personal best of 2:20:30, which remains her fastest time. Her strongest opponent is Kenya’s Gladys Cherono who is the reigning half marathon world champion (2014), the African champion over 5000m and 10000m (2012) and winner of the world championship silver medal in the 10000m in Moscow (2013). At the start of this year she competed over the marathon distance for the first time and managed an outstanding performance of 2:20:03, showing great promise. The third main candidate for the title is Ethiopian Meseret Hailu, whose personal best is only slightly slower at 2:21:09 – set in her 2012 win in Amsterdam, the same year she was crowned half marathon world champion.

Frankfurt Marathon

Gabius faces strong opposition in pursuit of record in Frankfurt


Arne Gabius has decided that the second marathon of his career will mark a return to Frankfurt, the city where the 34-year-old made such a scintillating debut at the distance a year ago.

He will return to the distance classic beside the River Main for this year’s race on October 25. His debut the previous year was impressive indeed with 2:09:32 and now he has set his sights even higher, taking aim at the German marathon record of 2:08:47, set in 1988.

He can expect a tough challenge from his African rivals in Frankfurt, including Alfers Lagat of Kenya, who has a best of 2:07:11 and Ethiopia’s Getachew Terfa (2:07:32). The Frankfurt Marathon and its Berlin counterpart are the only German events with the accolade of the IAAF Gold Label, the highest category of road racing awarded by the world governing body.

The Frankfurt organisers expect around 15,000 participants for the race which finishes with the spectacular run into the Festhalle and entries are still open at

Last year Arne Gabius thrilled fans along the course and the worldwide television audience with the quality of his debut marathon. His time of 2:09:32 was the fastest by a German for 24 years and placed him fourth among the national all-time list. In a world-class field he finished in a highly creditable ninth place.

“I’ve great memories of the Frankfurt Marathon, I can still picture the scenes in my mind. Frankfurt has a fast course and the timing of the race in the season suits me perfectly, everything came together last year in Frankfurt,” explained Gabius, who lives in Stuttgart, about his decision to return to the Frankfurt Marathon.

The race director Jo Schindler was delighted that they had succeeded in bringing the current number one German marathon runner back to the city: “We’ll do all we can to provide him with the best conditions in support of his ambitions.”

An additional incentive for the leading German runners is that Frankfurt includes the National Marathon Championships this year. “It’s great that the German Championships are finally being given the kind of high profile in Germany which only marathons in Frankfurt, Berlin and Hamburg can offer at present. I’m delighted that this means I’ll also have the chance to become German champion,” said Arne Gabius, who will be attacking the German record of Jörg Peter when the runner from Dresden achieved 2:08:47 in Tokyo in 1988. “My aim in Frankfurt is to run 46 seconds faster than my debut. I’ve spoken with many top runners and they say the second marathon should be a considerable improvement on the first,” explained Gabius.

Jo Schindler regards the decision of Arne Gabius to return to Frankfurt as “Confirmation of our work and that Arne really wants to repeat what he experienced with us in 2014.” Gabius was in demand with other autumn marathons both in Germany and abroad. “But it’s only on Frankfurt’s fast course that he has the chance to become German champion and achieve a strong finishing position in an IAAF Gold Label Race,” said Schindler.

Arne Gabius has no doubt he’s made the right choice: “I’ll be going to Frankfurt with a good feeling because everything went well last year. I was very impressed by the smooth operation of the organising team and everything about the race.” In the immediate future the track is his priority, since he will be competing in the 10,000m in the World Championships in Beijing this Saturday.

Additions to the already strong elite field are expected. At present the leading African contenders are Alfers Lagat of Kenya, whose personal best of 2:07:11 was set when finishing third in Eindhoven last year. Another sub 2:08 performer is Getachew Terfa (2:07:32). The Ethiopian set his personal best in winning the Xiamen title in China in 2013, won the Rome Marathon in 2:07:56 the same year and finished third in Berlin with 2:07:41 in 2009. Active in 2015 have been the Kenyan Anthony Maritim who ran his fastest time of 2:09:39 to win the Linz Marathon while Ethiopia’s Kaleb Keshebo finished second in 2:09:44 in Enschede.

Athens Marathon The Authentic

Athens invites the World’s runners to support Greece


The “Athens Marathon. The Authentic” will present a very different face to the running world this year when the latest edition takes place on Sunday, November 8. In the light of the economic challenges facing the country and its people, the Hellenic Athletics Federation (SEGAS) has decided to forego the elite field in the marathon and concentrate on a race for mass runners, including the 5 and 10 km road races which complete the day’s programme. Parts of the money saved will be used to further improve services and entertainment for the mass runners.

A record number of more than 16,000 runners are expected to participate in the Classic Authentic course from the town of Marathon to the 1896 Olympic Stadium in the heart of Athens. In total 43,000 runners are expected to take part in all the running events on offer. With this gesture, the organisers invite runners from around the world to run the Athens Marathon in solidarity with the Greek people at this testing time. Online entry for the marathon race is still available on the website at:

The 9th edition of the AIMS Marathon Symposium will also take place on the same weekend. Its main theme will be “Doping Threats in Long Distance Running”. Among the speakers there will be prominent specialists from AIMS, IAAF and WADA as well as marathon organisers and coaches.

The 3rd edition of the AIMS Best Marathon Runner Awards Gala will take place in Athens as well. The two World Marathon Champions which will be determined in Beijing later this month, the holders of the fastest times of the year plus possible world record breakers in the marathon and half marathon in 2015 are expected to be among the candidates for this prestigious award.

BMW Berlin Marathon

Top female runners and new partnerships

Aberu Kebede from Ethiopia will be leading the field of the top female runners at the 2015 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON.

She has already won here in 2010 and 2012, achieving her standing personal best (2:20:30 h) during the legendary race in pouring rain in 2010. Her greatest competition is expected to come from Gladys Cherono of Kenya, the reigning half marathon world champion. She achieved that title in the spring of 2014 in Copenhagen. The African champion in the 5,000m and 10,000m also won silver in the 10,000m at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow. After trying out several half marathon races, crowned with the above-mentioned World Championship title, she ran her first marathon this year with quality and very promising time of 2:20:03 h – truly a world-class performance. The third in this group of top female international marathon runners who will be competing in the 2015 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON is Meseret Hailu, also of Ethiopia, whose personal best in the marathon is only insignificantly slower: In 2012 she won the Amsterdam marathon in 2:21:09 h. That same year she was also the half marathon world champion. The BMW BERLIN-MARATHON will be the tenth marathon in her career as a long-distance runner.

After competing in 2012 and 2014, Anna Hahner, currently Germany’s fastest female marathon runner, will be starting at the BMW Berlin Marathon for the third time. In 2014 she ran her personal best in Berlin in 2:26:44 h, placing seventh in an international field. The greatest athletic accomplishment so far for the long-distance runner from Hünfeld near Fulda was her victory last year at the Vienna Marathon. Last Sunday she successfully tested the Olympic atmosphere at the marathon in Rio de Janeiro. Coming in behind Caroline Chemutai Komen (Kenya), Anna Hahner finished second in 2:39:15 hours on the course along the coast.

New partners will be moving into the limelight at the 42nd edition of the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON. As announced last week, Abbott, a global healthcare company, will be a new main sponsor and official Healthcare partner. We are also welcoming the Swiss luxury watch brand TAG Heuer as the new official timing partner. The organizer of the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, SCC EVENTS, is announcing two addional partners as well: Taiwan Excellence, which is the seal of Quality for award winning products from Taiwan, and Strava, a community of athletes from all over the world.

Course records fall in Karlovy Vary


Elijah Tirop Serem led a Kenyan quartet to victory and took 20 seconds off the course record to win the men’s title at the Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon in the Czech Republic on Saturday.

Serem broke away from the leading group with four kilometres left to achieve what he described as the best win of his career in 61:01. Nicholas Kipkemboi finished second in 61:13 and Bernard Bett third in 61:22. The Mattoni Karlovy Vary Half Marathon is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race.

The pace was strong from the start with the lead group going through 10km in 28:43 and on course to take almost a minute off the course record of 61:21, set last year by Ethiopia’s Teshome Mekonen. But the course was testing with frequent short climbs and a gentle breeze for the evening start in the historic spa town gained in strength by mid-race. By 15 km four men were in contention: Serem and the joint fastest men on the start line, Nicholas Kipkemboi and Edwin Kiptoo plus Bernard Bett.

Kiptoo was the first to falter and then Elijah Serem, growing in confidence, increased the pressure. “I thought then it was up to me. We were running to break the course record and I felt strong,” reflected Elijah Serem. Nicholas Kipkemboi finished 12 seconds adrift and Bernard Bett 21 seconds behind the winner.

Mulu Seboka won the women’s title, running 69:11 for a personal best and a course record by six seconds. The prolific marathoner from Ethiopia went clear at 13 km on an undulating course. Kenya’s Linah Cheruto finished second with a personal best of 70:22 while Bahrain’s Eunice Chumba placed third in 70:59.

Seboka’s improvement at half marathon was long overdue, chiefly because she has concentrated on the full distance in recent years. That paid off with 2:21:56 for sixth place in Dubai in January and she admitted her marathon strength gave her confidence.
The Ethiopian broke away from Linah Cheruto of Kenya and Bahrain’s Eunice Chumba at 13km, running strongly on the long road to the finish. The margin of victory was over a minute as Seboka finished in 69:11, well clear of Kenya’s Linah Cheruto who also set a personal best. Eunice Chumba finished third, almost two minutes behind the winner. Mulu Seboka will be back on the Czech roads for the Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon on June 20 and is keen to press her claims for marathon selection for Ethiopa at the World Championships in Beijing.

The half marathon debut of Ireland’s Fionnuala Britton ended in eighth place in 73:46. Britton’s talent at the distance events has been amply proven by her two European Cross Country titles but on this exploration of new territory she was never a threat to the leaders.

Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon and Ottawa 10K

Ethiopians dominate Ottawa for second year


Ethiopian elite athletes once again this year took top prizes in the 41st running of the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon this morning. They led a field of nearly 6,000 participants.

Girmay Birhanu, 28, finished with a time of 2:08:14 – a solid race but not enough to topple the Ottawa 2:06:54 record set last year. He was followed by Kenyan Philip Kangogo, 31, with a time of 2:09:56; and Ethiopian Chele Dechasa, 30, with 2:09:59.

Aberu Zennebe, 31, won the women’s category in 2:25:30 with a sprint to the finish line. Zennebe was followed closely by Kenyan Rebecca Chesir, 22, at 2:25:41; and Ethiopian Abebech Aferork, 24, at 2:25:53.

First Canadian woman was Rachel Hannah, who finished at 2:33:30 for a 10th place overall finish. At 28, this was the Toronto-based athlete’s first marathon.

First Canadian man to finish was Vancouver-based Rob Watson, who placed 8th overall with a time of 2:19:22. Three Canadian men placed in the top ten. Watson went out aggressively, hoping for a 2:12 finish for a spot at the next Summer Olympic Games, but fell short of his goal.

The Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon holds an International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Silver label designation. It is the only silver label marathon event in Canada.

100 km del Sahara

100km del Sahara has a change of scenery


The political instability that has now spread almost all over north African countries, wasn’t allowing us anymore to guarantee the safety necessary to organize the 100 km del Sahara in its original destination, Tunisia. After the last shocking terroristic attack in Tunis – we finally realized we absolutely, permanently had to change destination. Sometimes hard knocks can turn into opportunities. So, we decided to find the best possible place for re-creating the magic of Africa. A location that, as others found out before us, could offer a perfect terrain, vast and fascinating, for desert adventures: Argentina. Soon, on line, all the details of the new program.

Kipsang and Ronoh set to renew their rivalry in Olomouc


The sixth edition of the Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon will feature the latest episode of the duelling training partners when Wilson Kipsang and Geoffrey Ronoh stand on the start line in the Czech Republic on Saturday, June 20 while the Kenyan theme of excellence will be boosted by the women’s former world record holder at the distance, Mary Keitany. The Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon is an IAAF Gold Label road race and forms part of the seven events in the RunCzech series.

A year ago Wilson Kipsang was the world record holder in the marathon and Geoffrey Ronoh a little known member of Kipsang’s illustrious training group in Kenya. That impression changed dramatically in the course of just over one hour as Ronoh beat Kipsang by eight seconds to win the Olomouc title in 60:17, his debut at the distance and only his second race at elite level outside of Kenya. The duo, who remain training partners, will renew their rivalry and both have shown the kind of form in 2015 which suggests another epic contest is in prospect.

Kipsang lost his pre-eminence in the marathon when his compatriot and training partner Dennis Kimetto broke the world record in Berlin last September. However, the 2012 Olympic marathon bronze medallist remains a formidable and consistent competitor at any distance, as shown by his second place in 2:04:47 in the London Marathon in late April. He is confident that regular strength sessions in the gym and track sessions have maintained his ability to be a contender at the half marathon. Moreover, he relished his debut in the RunCzech series last year in Olomouc: “People here love the sport of running.” He has broken the hour for the distance on five occasions, the best being 58:59 to win the Ras Al Khaimah event in 2009.

The presence of Geoffrey Ronoh alongside Kipsang makes the prospect of a men’s course record highly feasible. Ronoh holds that current honour with 60:17 from last year’s win. In the week before the Volkswagen Prague Marathon on May 3, where he improved his marathon time by almost five minutes with 2:10:52 for fifth place, Ronoh was confident his current training would bring rewards: “I’ve improved in training, meeting new targets for speedwork and long runs, compared to a year ago.”

A back injury, now healed, hindered his preparation for the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon in late March and he has long since been in a successful training groove and also full of respect for his rival in Olomouc, Wilson Kipsang: “He is my mentor, I learn from him. You may try to do other things but they can hurt your career. He tells me, after a workout, relax, take your time, wait for the next workout, things like that.” Geoffrey Ronoh soon built upon his success in Olomouc a year ago, bringing his best for the half marathon distance down to 59:45 with victory at Klagenfurt in Austria two weeks before making a triumphant return to Prague roads and winning the 10k race in the Birell Prague Grand Prix on September 6.

Prospects are also enticing for the women’s race in Olomouc where the former half marathon world record holder Mary Keitany makes her Czech debut. She has returned strongly from maternity leave, winning the highly competitive Ras Al Khaimah event in mid-February in 66:02, the fourth fastest performance in history and only 12 seconds slower than her world record mark of 2011. She continued her form with second place in the London Marathon on April 26. This form should put the Olomouc course record of 68:53, set last year by the World marathon champion Edna Kiplagat, under pressure. Whatever the stop watch shows after the race on June 20, high quality competition should be on the menu.

Carlo Capalbo, president of the RunCzech organising committee is among the many running fans who is eagerly awaiting the starting gun of the Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon 2015: “Having such big athletic stars as Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany is the best promotion not only for the race but also for the city. Last year, Olomouc got the attention of the whole athletic world, thanks to the surprise that caused the victory of Geoffrey Ronoh. I believe that also this year we can look forward to very fast times and superb sporting achievements.“