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The 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.”
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).
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.”
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.”
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: www.bmw-frankfurt-marathon.com
“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: www.bmw-frankfurt-marathon.com
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: www.athensclassicmarathon.gr <http://www.athensclassicmarathon.gr>
After spending two years being known as the man who came agonisingly close to matching the marathon world record, Wilson Kipsang of Kenya broke that record handsomely in Berlin, clocking 2:03:23, thus taking 15 seconds off compatriot Patrick Makau’s 2:03:38, set in this same race two years ago. In only his second marathon, former world 5000m track champion Eliud Kipchoge finished second in 2:04:05, taking a minute off his debut best; and another Kenyan, Geoffrey Kipsang (no relation) was third in 2:06:26, also a personal best.
Barely a month after Makau’s world record in Berlin, Kipsang, 31, won the 2011 Frankfurt Marathon in 2:03:42. He went on to win the 2012 London Marathon, but was relegated to third in the Olympic race in London three months later. Now Kipsang is on top of the marathon hill. And Berlin enhances its reputation as the fastest marathon course in the world once again. This is the eighth world record on the course in 15 years.
With four times winner, and twice world record holder here, Haile Gebrselassie sending the field on its way on a bright sunny morning, with a brisk 8C (46F) at the start rising to 13C (55F) at the finish, the scene was set for another historic BMW Berlin Marathon, the 40th in the series.
And Kipsang was just the man for the job. He kept a watching brief for around three-quarters of the race, content to stay at the back of a group of ten East Africans – mostly Kenyans, with a couple of Ethiopians – led by pacemakers, Edwin Kiptoo and Philemon Rono. The latter pair performed their task admirably, going through 10k in 29.16, and halfway in 61.32, a dozen seconds ahead of Makau’s pace (when he was duelling with Gebrselassie) two years ago.
Kipsang is one of the few Kenyans willing to venture a pre-race prediction of a world record. And since he had run within four seconds of the world record, that opinion was maybe not so rash. And although staying at the back of the group, he seemed to be in control of the whole show, choreographing the assault on Makau’s record himself. Not only was he able to watch his principal rivals, Kipchoge and Geoffrey Kipsang closely, he had the reassurance of knowing that the pacemakers were part of his own training group.
He gave them their head until the wind rose and the pace began to drop after 30k, when Kiptoo dropped out, and two lesser known Kenyans, debutant Wilson Kirwa and Victor Kipchirchir dropped back. And when Rono dropped out at 35k, with the trio of favourites 20 seconds adrift of Makau’s time, Kipsang responded immediately. He strode to the front, and raised the pace; and from then on, the writing was on the road, both for Makau and for Geoffrey Kipsang and Kipchoge, who were already struggling to keep pace. They managed it for another kilometre, and first Kipsang then Kipchoge drifted back.
Kipchoge rallied briefly at 38k, by which time Kipsang was back ahead of Makau’s pace. But the relative experience of the two men then showed, as Kipsang eased into a winning lead, and concentrated on the record. It was touch and go for the next two kilometres – one second ahead, then one behind Makau – but a final onslaught from Kipsang, running the stretch from 40k to the end, ie 2.195km in 6min 11 sec, took him well under the previous record.
Kipsang said, “This is a dream come true. Ten years ago, I watched Paul Tergat break the world record in Berlin, and now I have achieved the dream. I felt strong, so I attacked at 35k, because the pace had become a little too slow.”
With so many world record holders here for the 40th anniversary race – Christa Vahlensiek, Tegla Loroupe, Naoko Takahashi (who ran 3:25 today), Geb, Tergat, Ronaldo da Costa, and Makau – it is tempting to wonder who might be the tenth world record breaker here.
Kipchoge suggested himself, saying, “I felt strong, even though I was running much faster than in my debut in spring. I’ve now run 2:04, so I think one day I could train to run the world record.”
There was another Kenyan duel, virtually throughout the whole of the women’s race. But despite some foot problems, Florence Kiplagat prevailed over colleague, Sharon Cherop, and retrieved the Berlin title she won two years ago. Kiplagat won in 2:21:13, easing well ahead in the final stages, with Cherop second in 2:22:38.
Another former winner, Kazakh-born German record holder Irina Mikitenko, finished third in 2:24:54, and took almost a minute off Ludmilla Petrova’s 2:25:43 world master record set in New York 2008.
Kiplagat said, “I felt strong in the first half of the race, but then I started getting problems with my right foot, I had a blister which forced me to slow down. I found the weather conditions harder than two years ago here, but I’m still very happy.”
Mikitenko said, “I’m very happy to have broken the masters’ world record, but I’m quite sure I can run faster, and improve the record further. There were some problems because of the wind, but I’m very happy.”
But the last word belongs to Kipsang. “Looking at my marathon progress and career so far, I still think I have the potential to run faster. Anything under 2.03.23 would do.”
David Kirkland, 41, hopes to avoid an unwanted hat-trick of results when he competes in Sunday’s Baxters Loch Ness Marathon.
The experienced English athlete, who competes for Alnwick Harriers, will be making his third appearance in the Highland race and on both previous occasions he agonisingly had to settle for second position.
In 2008 he recorded 2hr 28min 32secs to finish 29secs behind Kenya’s Ezekila Cherop and the following year he was again runner-up when recording 2:23:54 in losing out to another African, Simon Tonui, who won in what remains the course record time of 2:20:13.
Kirkland is now determined to take the top spot on the podium for the first time. He said: “I’d really like to win this time and I’ll be giving it my best shot. I reckon I’m in shape to run around 2hr 25mins so we’ll just have to wait and see if that’s good enough.
“I’ve been training really hard, regularly doing 100 miles per week. I’ve even been up to 115 miles on one occasion so hopefully I’m ready.”
Kirkland has a fine marathon running pedigree, having won the over-40 age group award when finishing seventh overall in this year’s Edinburgh marathon.
His fastest time of 2:23:37 was set in 2010 when finishing third in the Brescia marathon in Italy. He also has third place finishes to his credit at Naples in 2012 and Belfast in 2010.
Kirkland faces some strong opposition in the race which, for the third year in a row, doubles up as this year’s Scottish championship.
Edinburgh University student Patryk Gierjatowicz could pose a realistic threat to the Alnwick runner’s hopes of victory. The Polish athlete competed in the Baxters Loch Ness marathon three years ago when he finished 10th in 2:34:09 but he has improved dramatically since then and in April he set a new personal best time of 2:26:02 when finishing 25th in the London marathon.
Other serious contenders for the Scottish title and the £1,500 winner’s prize, are the Ron Hill Cambuslang Harriers’s Kerry-Liam Wilson. Wilson has a consistent record at Loch Ness, having finished third last year and fourth in 2011.
Kenyan runner Taurus Elly could also come into the reckoning although he is something of an unknown quantity. The Salford-based runner hopes to make his marathon debut on Sunday if he overcomes a knee injury sustained in the Cardiff 10K earlier this month.
Elly has said, however, that he’ll run in the Baxters River Ness 10Km if he doesn’t feel ready for the marathon.
Alina Nituleasa should be the class act in the women’s race although there’s a degree of mystery about the Romanian athlete.
Nituleasa, 30, has a best time of 2:45:03 set when winning the Piacenza marathon in Italy last year and a repeat of that performance would see her crack the Loch Ness women’s record of 2:46: 39 set by Ethiopia’s Dinknesh Mekash Tefara in 2010.
Race Director Malcolm Sutherland hopes Nituleasa will be on the starting line although he remains uncertain.
He said: “She has definitely entered but it has been difficult getting accurate information from Alina and her manager.
“The last we heard, she was planning to fly from Bucharest to Luton on Friday then catch a bus to Inverness, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed that she arrives safely.”
Lisa Finlay seems sure to be at the heart of what promises to be an intriguing battle for the Scottish title.
The Dumfries athlete struck gold at Loch Ness in 2011 when she won in 2:59:14 then finished second behind Shettleston’s Avril Mason last year when running 2:57:55.
Finlay has since improved her best time to 2:54:39, set when finishing 10th in Florence last November and she’s looking forward to this weekend’s race.
She said: “I’m optimistic about my form at the moment and hopefully I’ll run quicker than in the past two years.
“I’d like to get a personal best time, but Loch Ness isn’t the easiest of courses. It’s a beautiful route, but quite hilly.
“The fact that there’s a Scottish title at stake is a real attraction for me and it looks as though there will be some top quality competition because of that, which is a good thing.”
Scottish trail running international Jenny MacLean (Edinburgh AC) who ran a lifetime best of 2:51:37 for third position in this year’s Edinburgh marathon, will also be in the mix for the top prize.
Others who look sure to be involved at the head of the field include Shetland’s Scottish 100Km champion Charlotte Black, 2011 silver medallist Carole Setchell (Shettleston), former national champion Louise Beveridge (Dundee Hawkhill Harriers), Julie Malko (Corstorphine) and Jennifer Emsley (Central AC).
Erica Christie (Bellahouston Harriers) will maintain her record of having competed in all 11 Loch Ness marathons held so far.
The veteran Glasgow athlete finished second in the women’s division of the inaugural race in 2002 and she has competed every year since then, never finishing lower than 11th.
Her quickest Loch Ness time of 3:06:51 was set when finishing fourth in 2009 and her slowest of 3:18:29 came in 2011 when she was eighth. That’s pretty impressive consistency in over a decade of running.