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Mutai takes on newcomer Ronoh in Prague

Picture: Birell Prague Grand Prix / Victah Sailer

Only a few weeks ago the Kenyan Geoffrey Ronoh made headlines when he beat world-class marathon stars Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto to win the Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon even though he began the race as a pacemaker. He’ll soon be back for another big race in the RunCzech Running League when he lines up over 10 km against more big names from Kenyan athletics in the Birell Prague Grand Prix. Top of the list will be Geoffrey Mutai, the fastest marathon runner of all time. The Birell Prague Grand Prix is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, the top category of international road races.

In recruiting a top performer such as Geoffrey Mutai the RunCzech organisers have maintained their policy of bringing the cream of world class distance runners to the RunCzech Running League. The 32-year-old Mutai won the Boston Marathon in 2011 with a sensational performance, clocking 2:03:02. This remains the fastest ever time for the marathon. However, since the Boston course cannot be recognised as valid for record purposes, the time is not accepted as a world record. The Kenyan went on to prove that his Boston triumph was no flash in the pan, breaking the course record with 2:05:06 to win New York the same year. In 2012 he won Berlin with the fastest time in the world that year of 2:04:15 and the following year he achieved his second consecutive victory in New York.

“Running is in my blood,” Geoffrey Mutai once said. Even as a boy the sport fascinated him. He told the Kenyan Newspaper “The Nation” that when he was ten, he paid five Kenyan shillings to go with a friend to a nearby town and watch the 1992 Olympic Games on a black and white television. He started running in primary school and took part in school races from the age of 12. I was training every day, even at that age. I didn’t feel right if I didn’t run.”

The fastest marathoner of all time will be making his debut in a road race in the Czech Republic. Mutai’s best time for 10 km is 27:19, a world class performance but the race in Prague on September 6 will not be a stroll in the park for him, far from it. Among his rivals will be Geoffrey Ronoh, who began the Olomouc Half Marathon in June as a pacemaker for his friend and training partner Wilson Kipsang. The newcomer sprang a surprise, beating the marathon world record holder in a speedy 60:17. Jana Moberly, the RunCzech elite race co-ordinator, said before the half marathon that she told Ronoh to follow his friend Kipsang’s example. “I said to him, if you run as well as him, we’ll have you in our next race not as a pacemaker but as an elite runner.” With only one international race on his resume prior to Olomouc, a 2:15:51 marathon in Ahmedabad, India in 2013 it’s going to be fascinating to see what Geoffrey Ronoh can run for 10 km when he is back in Prague. His personal best is a less than stunning 28:16, although that was set en route to his half marathon win in Olomouc!

More about Birell Prague Grand Prix, 10K Race, adidas Women’s Race 5 km…


20th World Congress of AIMS

The 20th World Congress of AIMS was held in Durban (RSA) from 28–31 May 2014.

It was the first AIMS Congress to be held in Africa, and was hosted by the Comrades Marathon. The 89th edition of Comrades was held on the day following Congress.

The main theme of the Congress was ‘Africa as the home of distance runners’. Speakers included Luis Posso who has been instrumental in bringing African distance running talent to the fore for the last three decades.

Also scheduled to speak was Ibrahim Hussein, one of the first Kenyans to dominate big-city marathons, but he was unable to travel from Nairobi, where he is now Director of the IAAF Regional Development Centre, because of a holdup in issuing his visa to enter South Africa.

World renowned exercise physiologist Professor Tim Noakes spoke about some of the reasons behind the great African advance in distance running. Other speakers included Blanche Moila, Elana Meyer and Willie Mtolo.

At the 20th World Congress of AIMS members voted for the 21st Congress to be held in Quito, Ecuador on 2-4 June 2016. The host member is the Quito Últimas Noticias 15k.

Welcome to Poznań

Poznań Marathon is the second largest running event in Poland, held for 15 years. Perfect organization of the event is its main asset, and runners’ satisfaction is its main aim.

The marathon route goes through the main streets of the city – it’s flat and fast, perfect to achive a good result. The marathon office and the largest Sport Expo in Poland are in the grounds of the Poznań International Fair, where the start and finish are located too. There is a dedicated zone and many attractions arranged for runners, their families and friends as well as spectators.

This year, runners will have the great opportunity to run through the field of INEA Stadium – one of the UEFA Euro 2012 arenas. Thousands of enthusiastic spectators and numerous bands create a great atmosphere on the course.

Poznań is a rapidly growing city of 600,000 in the western part of the country. Transport infrastructure allows you to quickly navigate between the numerous tourist attractions and recreational facilities. Walking around Poznań’s monuments and leisure activities at the Baths of Malta will be the perfect complement to marathon weekend in Poznań.

You are all very welcome in Poznań on 12th of October 2014.

Terer and Dado winners in Prague

Patrick Terer improved on his third place from a year ago to win the 20th edition of the Volkswagen Prague Marathon with a personal best of 2:08:07. The 23 year-old was ten seconds ahead of fellow-Kenyan Evans Chebet, who crossed the line in 2:08:17. Zimbabwe’s Cuthbert Nyasango took third with 2:09:52. It proved a disappointing day for Moses Mosop. The Kenyan, who is the second fastest marathon runner ever with a PB of 2:03:06, finished well behind in 2:20:37 for 12th place.

Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia took the women’s title of the anniversary race, dominating the action to win in 2:23:34. Her compatriots Fantu Eticha and Ashete Bekere were well behind in second and third with times of 2:27:31 and 2:28:04 respectively.

Around 10,000 runners entered the Volkswagen Prague Marathon, which is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

Milton Keynes Marathon success

The third Milton Keynes Marathon, sponsored by Skechers Performance, has been hailed a huge success.

Over 3,000 runners signed up to take part in the 2014 event, which took place on Monday 5th May. And thousands of spectators, supporters, charities and volunteers lined the streets and Redways of Milton Keynes as the runners made their way around the picturesque 26.2 mile route that started and finished at stadiummk.

The honour of winning the Skechers Performance Milton Keynes Marathon went to Rick Lloyd from Stockport Harriers who completed the marathon in a time of 2:43:25.

A number of local runners also finished in the top 15 including 3rd Jamie Farmer in 2:47:19 of David Lloyd Redway Runners, 5th Stephen Richardson in 2:50:07 of David Lloyd Redway Runners and 15th Chris Brookman in 2:55:28 from MK Lakeside Runners.

The first woman home was Sarah Hill from Farnham Runners who crossed the finish line in a time of 3:00:21 to set a new course record.

Paul Sutherland completed his 100th marathon at the Skechers Performance Milton Keynes Marathon, finishing in a time of 4:47:39. To celebrate the occasion he was given race number 100 and a special presentation was made after he had crossed the line. Whilst completing their first marathon at the age of 80 was runner Robin Wilson who finished in 6:45:37.

Also completing her first marathon in 5:57:00 was Eilish Roberts. Eilish started running in January 2012 when she enrolled on the couch to 5k with Leighton Fun Runners, but having completed her first half marathon in September she set herself the challenging target of running the Skechers Performance Milton Keynes Marathon as it was her local marathon.

Several runners, including Stephen Richardson and Jen Sangster, were completing their second marathon in just a few weeks. They’d previously run another marathon, such as the Greater Manchester Marathon and the London Marathon, but were determined to run in their home city marathon.

In addition to the marathon, the new MKM Half Marathon was added to the event for 2014. Over 2,000 runners signed up for the 13.1 half marathon. The MKM Half Marathon was won by Ismail Ssenyange who raced across the finish line in a time of 1:08:35. First lady home in the half marathon event was local runner Jane Ovington from Marshall Milton Keynes Athletics who finished in 1:23:01. Both Ismail and Jane have set the course record for the new MKM Half.

The Geoffrey Leaver Corporate Challenge saw teams of four from scores of companies and organisations bidding to be crowned the county’s fastest firm. It was won by Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors 1. Stuart Snelson, Samual Seaford, Robert Green and Mile Thornhill won the 26.2 mile relay race in a time of 3:37:45.

However, the biggest cheers were reserved for the participants of the Superhero Fun Run, sponsored by Acorn Childcare. Superheroes of all ages and abilities ran, walked, hopped and skipped around the 1.5 mile route before crossing the finish line and receiving a shiny new medal.

The Skechers Performance Milton Keynes Marathon was named amongst the top 10 marathon races in the UK by readers of Runner’s World in January 2014 so it had a lot to live up to. Race Director, Andy Hully, said, “Today has been a fantastic day. It’s been full of great sporting challenges and fantastic support out on the course. The people of Milton Keynes can be very proud of themselves today.

“Among the scores of good causes to benefit from the event were the marathon’s charity partners Cancer Research UK, MK SET and St John Ambulance. In the last two years the event has raised over £1 million for deserving causes and I’m sure this will increase after this year’s event.”

Mosop faces champion Kemboi in Prague

The defending champion and race record holder are among a contingent of strong rivals for Moses Mosop when he runs the Volkswagen Prague Marathon on May 11. While the participation of this outstanding talent from Kenya has long been announced, the line-up of his toughest rivals is now known. They include last year’s winner Nicholas Kemboi (Qatar) and the Kenyan Eliud Kiptanui, who holds the race record of 2:05:39. The field has impressive strength in depth with eight men who have run under 2:08 and a further six with 2:10 to their credit. The women’s field includes Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia, the 2011 New York Marathon champion. The race presents a tantalising prospect in the 20th anniversary edition of the Volkswagen Prague Marathon which is an IAAF Gold Label Race, the top category of road races awarded by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

“I think this is an elite field fit to celebrate the 20th anniversary. We can look forward to a great race and hope to have times of around 2:06 in the men’s race. If the weather is good, the race record of Eliud Kiptanui might even be in danger,” said Jana Moberly, who is the co-ordinator for the elite field at the Volkswagen Prague Marathon.

Moses Mosop is the second fastest marathoner of all time with his 2:03:06, run in Boston in 2011 although the course does not confirm to record regulations. Now recovered from a knee injury, he hopes to run between 2:06 and 2:07 in Prague. Taking into account the opposition, this should make for an exciting contest. The race record holder Eliud Kiptanui caused a sensation in winning the 2010 race with 2:05:39. The Kenyan hasn’t been able to get close to that kind of time in his recent marathons but others on the start list might well have a chance of doing so. Among them is last year’s winner Nicholas Kemboi, who ran 2:08:51 for victory in very warm conditions and hasn’t run a marathon since. Kemboi, born in Kenya and running for Qatar since 2005, has a best of 2:08:01. Another expected of making a major advance is Patrick Terer. The Kenyan’s personal best is 2:08:51 and he finished third last year in 2:10:10 but that was after problems with a visa meant he only arrived at short notice in Prague. “I’ll come back and win,” was Terer’s promise after the race.

Terer has lived up to the first part of his promise in returning to race this year, but making good the second part will be a tough proposition. Apart from Mosop and Kiptanui there are another four athletes who have already run under 2:07: the Ethiopians Dadi Yami (2:05:41) and Deresa Chimsa (2:05:42) who both ran their personal bests in Dubai in 2012, as well as the Kenyans Nicholas Manza (2:06:34) and Nicholas Kipkemboi (2:06:35). A total of 14 runners entered have best times under 2:10 which highlights the potential drama in Prague on May 11. Only the prestigious Boston Marathon this spring had more runners with personal bests under 2:10. This reflects Prague’s rise into the top flight of marathon races.

Two women take centre stage in considering the women’s field: Firehiwot Dado and Flomena Chepchirchir. Dado of Ethiopia enjoyed the biggest success of her career so far when she won the New York Marathon in November 2011, setting what remains her personal best of 2:23:15. Beating her personal best in Prague is the objective for the woman who has won the Rome Marathon for three consecutive years (2009 to 2011). She showed good form in January this year, finishing third in the Dubai Marathon. She ran the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon at the beginning of April, using the opportunity to become more familiar with conditions in the Czech capital along the way to finishing ninth in 71:15.

Nicholas Kemboi

Picture: Volkswagen Prague Marathon

“Firehiwot Dado is in the form to run a personal best,” said Jana Moberly, who has also been able to recruit Flomena Chepchirchir at short notice. The Kenyan has been producing strong consistent performances under 2:25 in recent years and dropped out of the Boston Marathon at 25 km on Easter Monday. If Boston turned out not to be her day, she is keen to show it was only a temporary setback when she runs in Prague where she finished second two years ago. She ran her best of 2:23:00 when finishing second in Frankfurt last year.

Apart from the two favourites in Dado and Chepchirchir, another eight women have personal bests under 2:30 and will be on the start line for the Volkswagen Prague Marathon.

For more information online about the Volkswagen Prague Marathon, please go to

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.