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100 km del Sahara

100 km del Sahara cancelled

The 100 km del Sahara planned for March 2016 in Argentina has been cancelled.

The race organisers said in a statement on their website “The re-scheduling of the flight connections from Italy to Argentina applied by Aerolineas Argentinas, involved all our previously booked flights, causing a forced re-scheduling of our own event. Unfortunately this change didn’t fit the arrangements of the local logistical services already fixed since a long time.”

Changes to race dates

The following changes to race dates have been announced, which supercede the calendar printed in the last edition of Distance Running:

The Vadodara Half Marathon (IND) will take place on 7 February 2016, not 13 December 2015 as previously published.

The Mauritius Marathon (MRI) will take place on 24 July 2016, not 17 July as previously published.

The Petra Desert Marathon (JOR) will take place on 3 September 2016, not 4 September as previously published.

The Runatolia Marathon (Half + 10km) (TUR) will take place on 6 March 2016, not 13 March as previously published.

Eliud Kipchoge and Mare Dibaba receive Marathon Runner of the Year awards


It’s been a highly successful last 12 months or so for Eliud Kipchoge with victory in three marathon classics of Chicago, London and Berlin. And 2015 became even better for the Kenyan without running a single step when he was awarded the men’s prize as Marathon Runner of the Year at the AIMS Gala in Athens on 6 November. Ethiopia’s Mare Dibaba was awarded the women’s prize after a year in which she won the world title in Beijing among an equally impressive list of accomplishments. This was the third annual edition of the Best Marathon Runner of the Year Awards, organised by The Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS), held as ever in Athens around the time of the Athens Marathon the Authentic.

The AIMS membership of more than 380 organisers of running events voted Kipchoge and Dibaba the winners. The period under consideration for the voting was from the beginning of October 2014 to the end of September this year.

Since the start of the judging process, Eliud Kipchoge has clearly established himself as the best marathon runner in the world. He turned 31 the day before the AIMS Gala and could look back on a tremendous year, winning such perennially high quality races as Chicago, London and Berlin. In every one he achieved world class times as well, breaking the 2:05 barrier as a matter of course. The summit in terms of time came six weeks ago in Berlin, where he ran his personal best of 2:04:00 which remains the fastest time in the world this year.

“This is a really important day for me which will remain in my mind forever. This is the first time I’ve received such an award in my career,” reflected Eliud Kipchoge and added: “I should like to thank everyone who has helped me in the past 15 years – my coach Patrick Sang but also plenty of others.” He made no secret about his next goal: “Next year I want to win the gold medal in the marathon at the Olympic Games in Rio. Olympic gold is one medal I don’t have.” If he achieves that objective, the one after could well be the marathon world record, currently held by his compatriot Dennis Kimetto, of 2:02:57. “I hope that one day I will also be the world record holder,” said Kipchoge.

Mare Dibaba achieved the greatest moment in her career so far when the 26-year-old won the world title in Beijing in August. She and Kenya’s Helah Kiprop produced one of the most exciting home straight finishes in marathon championship history with the gold going to the Ethiopian by just one second. She also has enjoyed an impressive run of success in the marathon since 2014, becoming the Chicago champion and then ran the world class time of 2:19:52 for victory in Xiamen in China in January, the second fastest women’s time this year. There was more to come as she finished a narrow second in the Boston Marathon in April. “I’m very happy to receive this award, thank you very much,” said Mare Dibaba as she accepted her prize at the Gala, which was broadcast for one and a half hours live on national television and organised jointly by AIMS and the Greek Athletics Federation, SEGAS. “For the past year it has been our goal that the Gala should go ahead, despite the severe economic conditions,” said Kostas Panagopoulos, the SEGAS president.

Three further awards were presented by AIMS. The Green award for an event with the best environmental policy went to the Houston Marathon and the Lala Marathon in Mexico received the award for the best programme of social responsibility. The 1972 Olympic Marathon champion, Frank Shorter, received the lifetime achievement award. The American is recovering from surgery in the USA and his son Alex, also a marathon runner, collected the award on his behalf.

Race date changes

The Gammon China Coast Marathon (HKG) will take place on 31 Jan 2016, not 17 Jan as previously published.

The Baxters Loch Ness Marathon (GBR) will take place on 25 September 2016, not 2 October 2016 as previously published.

The Scottish Half Marathon (GBR) will take place on 18 September 2016, not 17 September as previously published.

Athens Marathon The Authentic

Athens at the heart of the Marathon


Athens, the birthplace of the Marathon, will be the focus of attention for the international running scene for three days from November 6 to 8. Firstly the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) will honour the best marathon runners of the year with the 2015 AIMS Best Marathon Runner (BMR) Awards, at an international Gala to be held in the evening of Friday, November 6. The next day will be marked by the Opening Ceremony for the “Athens Marathon. The Authentic”. This is followed by the high point of the Athens Marathon itself, on Sunday, where the organisers expect more than 16,000 runners to participate.

This is the 3rd edition of the AIMS BMR Gala in Athens to honour the best runners of the year. The candidates were recently announced by AIMS and are the Kenyans Eliud Kipchoge and Gladys Cherono, the Ethiopian Mare Dibaba and Ghirmay Ghebreslassie from Eritrea. The winners in the male and female categories will be determined by a voting process currently taking place amongst more than 380 member races of AIMS. Winners will be announced during the BMR Gala.

The period under consideration for the 2015 AIMS Best Marathon Runner Award is from the beginning of October 2014 to the end of September 2015. During this time Eliud Kipchoge won three major marathons: Chicago, London and Berlin and a few weeks ago set the world’s fastest time of 2:04:00 at the latter event. Ghirmay Ghebreslassie overturned expectations by winning the World Championship race in Beijing in August. His gold medal was achieved after finishing sixth in Chicago and second in Hamburg in his previous races.

Gladys Cherono ran her debut marathon in January when she missed victory in Dubai in January by just one second, finishing in the highly impressive time of 2:20:03. She went one place better in her second attempt at the distance, running the fastest woman’s time this year of 2:19:25 to win the Berlin title at the end of September. This was also the fastest performance by a woman on an officially recognised course since April 2012. Mare Dibaba is the only other woman to have broken 2:20 this year. She achieved that feat with 2:19:52 to win the Xiamen Marathon in China in January. She won the women’s marathon at the World Championships in Beijing and her career includes victory in the 2014 Chicago Marathon and second place in Boston this April.

Four more special awards will be presented during the Gala, which is organised by AIMS and the Hellenic Athletics Federation (SEGAS): the Green Award, the Lifetime Achievement, the Social Award and the Popular Runner Special Award. It has already been announced that the Chevron Houston Marathon will receive the Green Award.

Saturday, November 7, will mark the traditional Opening Ceremony for the “Athens Marathon. The Authentic”. The Ceremony takes place inside the Archeological Site of the historic Marathon Tomb, the memorial site of the Battle of Marathon, where the Greek troops defeated the Persians in 490 BCE. The Athenian soldier-messenger-runner, who according to legend ran from the battlefield to bring news of victory to his fellow Athenians, was later the inspiration for the creation of the marathon race for the inaugural Olympic Games of the modern era in Athens in 1896. During the Ceremony, the Marathon Flame, established in 2007, will be lit in front local authorities, IAAF, AIMS and SEGAS executives, marathon legends and race directors of more than 70 international marathon events. The Marathon Flame is carried by relay to the start of the race in the nearby town of Marathon and marathon runners of next day’s event have the chance to take memories of it.

In these difficult economic times the “Athens Marathon. The Authentic” has become a real Greek success story. The organisers SEGAS have again recorded increased numbers of entrants for the race with approx. 16,000 expected to run on the original marathon route, an officially measured course, served by an organization of very high international standards. Including races over shorter distances (5 and 10 km as well as races for children), some 43,000 entries for the event on Sunday, November 8 have been received. The classic race over 42.195 km will begin in the town of Marathon as ever. The historic course will take participants into Athens and the Olympic Arena for the 1896 Games, the Panathinaikon Stadium. Entries for the Marathon are still available and can be accessed by going to:

Standard Chartered KL Marathon

Standard Chartered KL Marathon cancelled

The Standard Chartered KL Marathon (MAS) has been cancelled due to an urban haze which reached unhealthy levels. The medical team, the Malaysian Athletics Federation (MAF), and the Institut Sukan Negara advised cancellation because the rapidly deteriorating air quality presented a danger to the health of participants. This decision was supported by co-organisers, Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur, and the title sponsor, Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia. Registered participants can collect finisher entitlements by arrangement.

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.