Chemutai eclipses course record at gothenberg half marathon race, Sweden

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Fancy Chemutai enhanced her reputation as one of the rising stars of the road racing circuit with a course record on a warm and blustery day in the Gothenburg Half Marathon on Saturday (20) in 1:07:58.

Chemutai has only raced twice internationally but the 22-year-old excelled in both races. She finished third at the Prague Half Marathon on 1 April, clocking 1:06:58 on her debut at the distance before claiming her first overseas win in Gothenburg ahead of one of the in-form athletes on the roads this year.

After a steady opening 5km split of 15:51, defending champion and course record-holder Violah Jepchumba asserted the pressure on Chemutai with a 15:32 split through 10km in 31:23. Chemutai lost contact for the first time in the eighth kilometre but fought back to level terms with her fellow Kenyan, who finished one place ahead of Chemutai at the Prague Half Marathon last month in 1:05:22.

Rocking from side to side, Jepchumba was visibly working hard and her front-running efforts seemed to be reaping their reward. She eked out another small gap just before the 15km checkpoint in 47:48 but Chemutai countered it again on the gradual incline over the Gota Alv Bridge, one of two bridges on the course.

Despite slowing markedly after an aggressive start, the course record – and the event’s first ever sub-68-minute winning time – were still in touch as they raced back through the city centre and out towards the finish-line in the Slottsskogen Stadium.

Chemutai opened up a small gap on Jepchumba through the 20km checkpoint in 1:04:31 which she duly extended on the series of small undulations in the last two kilometres to ensure her first ever international win. Chemutai broke the tape in 1:07:58 to eclipse the course record by three seconds and take the scalp of Jepchumba, who had to settle for second in 1:08:10.

Margaret Agai made it a Kenyan clean sweep in 1:09:43 with Beatrice Mutai, the older sister of Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon, fourth in 1:10:14.

Geoffrey Yegon provided the first half of the Kenyan double in Gothenburg with victory in 1:00:19.

Three athletes were still in contention heading into the last kilometre but the runner-up from last year went one better this time, defeating Seoul Marathon winner Amos Kipruto (1:00:24) and Leonard Langat (1:00:33) while 2013 world cross-country champion Japheth Korir finished fifth in 1:01:39.

Defending champion and course record-holder Richard Mengich dropped out before the 15km checkpoint.

Korio and Cheptai earns Kenya an impressive double at the TCS World 10K Bengaluru 2017

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Alex Korio and Irene Cheptai made it a Kenyan double at the TCS World 10K Bengaluru 2017 race, winning at the 10th edition of this IAAF Bronze Label Road Race in 28:12 and 31:51 respectively, on Sunday (20).

Cheptai caught the eye in particular with an impressive performance that will confirm her rising status in the world of distance running and reinforce the belief that she can be among the medallists over the same distance on the track at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 this coming August.

She continued her unbeaten year, which includes a win at the World Cross Country Championships in March, with the second fastest time ever seen in the Bengaluru women’s race.

A conservative first half saw nine women pass three kilometres in 9:51 and five runners – Cheptai and her Kenyan compatriots Gladys Chesir, Helah Kiprop and Magdalyne Masai as well as Ethiopia’s Worknesh Degefa – were still together as the halfway point was reached in 16:19, at this stage well outside course-record pace.

However, Cheptai was looking comfortable and always to the fore during the first five kilometres and soon took matters into her own hands.

She gradually went through the gears in the seventh and eighth kilometres as her rivals one-by-one slipped away as they struggled to stay with the race favourite.

Despite being on her own at the front, her tempo didn’t drop over the final two kilometres and she crossed the line in the Sree Kanteerava Stadium just three seconds outside the course record of 31:48, set by another Kenyan runner Lucy Kabuu in 2014, after running the second half of the course in 15:32.

“I wasn’t confident at the start,” said Cheptai, partially explaining why she had not pushed the pace harder during the opening kilometres. “But from eight kilometres I grew in confidence and knew that I was going to win, and I was trying for the course record from seven kilometres.”

Degefa, the last of Cheptai’s opponents to succumb, hung on to take second place in 32:00 while the 2012 women’s winner Kiprop closed the gap on Degefa in the closing stages of the race but was third on this occasion in 32:02.

IAAF world indoor Championship Birmingham 2018 Qualification System and Entry

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Qualification standards for the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 have been published.

Once again, the qualification system will combine a set of entry standards and invitations based on performance lists.

The field events --high jump, pole vault, long jump, triple jump and shot put-- will be held as straight finals. Twelve athletes will start in the vertical jumps and 16 in the horizontal jumps and shot put. Entries will be determined by a combination of entry standard and ranking. Twelve athletes will also be invited to compete in the heptathlon and pentathlon.

The qualification period for all disciplines except the combined events began on 1 January 2017 and will run through midnight (Monaco time) on 19 February 2018.
IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 qualification system and entry standards (PDF): download | view

Eliud Kipchoge breaks record at the breaking2 marathon race in Monza,Italy

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Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge produced the fastest ever time for the marathon distance at the Breaking2 race in Monza, Italy, running 2:00:25* on Saturday (6).

Held on a race track at 5:45am local time, Kipchoge lined up alongside half marathon world record-holder Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea and 2013 world silver medallist Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia to try to become the first men to cover 26.2 miles within two hours.

With a target pace of 14:13 for each 5km segment, the trio passed through the first five kilometres in 14:14 and reached 10km in 28:21. Desisa started to drop off the pace about 50 minutes into the race, leaving Kipchoge and Tadese to reach the half-way point in 59:57.

Tadese wasn’t able to maintain the pace for much longer, but Kipchoge soldiered on. His times at 30km (1:25:20) and 35km (1:39:37) suggested he was slipping outside the target pace but that a sub-two-hour finish may still be possible. But his 40km split of 1:54:00 all but confirmed that it would take a huge final effort to finish within two hours.

Cheered on by the final group of pace makers, Kipchoge used whatever energy he had left to drive for the line, eventually stopping the clock at 2:00:25.

“My mind was fully on finishing within two hours, but on the last lap I lost 10 seconds and the time escaped,” said Kipchoge. “It has been hard, it has taken seven good months of preparation and dedication. This journey has been a long challenge, but I’m a happy man to run a marathon in two hours.

“We are now just 25 seconds away,” he added. “I believe in good preparation and good planning. With that, these 25 seconds will go. I hope next time people believe it is possible.”

Tadese crossed the line several minutes later in 2:06:51 while Desisa followed in 2:14:10.

Years of planning had gone into the race where precise strategies for pacing and hydration had been put in place with the simple goal of covering the distance as fast as humanly possible.

*Some of the measures mean that times achieved in the race may not be eligible for official world record ratification should an application be made.

Vienna Marathon an all Kenyan affair as we take top 5 positions in both men & Women races

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A group of 15 runners, including three pacemakers who were trying to shield the other leaders from the wind, passed the half way mark in 1:04:13. With winds projected to reach up to 60 kilometres per hour, any result faster than 2:10 would have been regarded as an extraordinary achievement.

But somehow the wind calmed down as the men reached the final 12 kilometres. And after the lead group of 12 runners plus one pacemaker passed 30km in 1:31:38, the race was thrown wide open.

Suddenly just seven runners remained in the lead group, and then a few kilometres later Korir, Bushendich and Suleiman Simotwo broke away, turning the race for victory into an all-Kenyan affair. Deribe Robi of Ethiopia, one of the pre-race favourites, had lost contact while Kenya’s Eliud Kiptanui, who was the fastest on the start list with a best of 2:05:21, dropped out at this late stage of the race.

Bushendich and Korir ran shoulder to shoulder until they could see the finish line before Korir edged ahead to win in 2:08:40, taking 88 seconds off his PB. “It was cold and windy, but it was a great day for me,” said the 23-year-old.

Bushendich followed him across the line two seconds later, while Ezekiel Omulla completed an all-Kenyan podium by taking third in 2:09:10. Simotwo, who dropped back at 36km, eventually finished fifth in 2:10:36.

Organisers for the IAAF

LEADING RESULTS
Men
1 Albert Korir (KEN) 2:08:40
2 Ishmael Bushendich (KEN) 2:08:42
3 Ezekiel Omullo (KEN) 2:09:10
4 Alfonce Kigen (KEN) 2:10:24
5 Suleiman Simotwo (KEN) 2:10:36
6 Regasa Mindaye (ETH) 2:10:51

Women
1 Nancy Kiprop (KEN) 2:24:20
2 Rebecca Chesir (KEN) 2:24:25
3 Roza Dereje (ETH) 2:25:17
4 Shuko Genemo (ETH) 2:26:06
5 Angela Tanui (KEN) 2:26:31
6 Helalia Johannes (NAM) 2:29:25

Kenyans Nancy Kiprop and Albert Korir take top honours at the Vienna City Marathon

Nancykip

Kenyans Nancy Kiprop and Albert Korir took top honours in thrilling duels at the Vienna City Marathon, running 2:24:20 and 2:08:40 respectively at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race on Sunday (23).

Despite the unfavourable conditions with strong winds, Kiprop clocked the second-fastest women’s time in the history of the race after battling with fellow Kenyan Rebecca Chesir. The men’s race was even closer as Korir edged ahead of Ishmael Bushendich in the final 150 metres to win by two seconds.

With high winds, it soon became obvious that this would not be a day for record attempts. But instead two very competitive races developed. In fact never before has the Vienna City Marathon seen two such thrilling finishes in one race.

The women’s leading group contained six runners when they reached half way in 1:12:36. Ethiopians Shuko Genemo, Meseret Mengistu and Roza Dereje faced three Kenyans: Kiprop, Chesir and debutante Angela Tanui.

It was then when Mengistu, the fastest runner on the start list with a best of 2:23:26, fell off the pace. Having suffered a foot problem during her training for Vienna, she later dropped out.

Genemo and Tanui also struggled. At 30km, reached in 1:42:23, Dereje, Chesir and Kiprop were left in the lead. Dereje held on for another nine kilometres, but eventually had to settle for third.

It left Kiprop and Chesir out in front as they battled for the victory. 37-year-old Kiprop ultimately edged ahead with about 400 metres to go, crossing the line in 2:24:20 to secure her biggest career win to date.

“It was very windy and it was getting really close at the end,” said Kiprop after taking almost a minute off her personal best. “This was my greatest victory.”

Chesir crossed the line five seconds later in 2:24:25, while Dereje took third in 2:25:17. Genemo, the defending champion, finished fourth in 2:26:06

Daniel wanjiru outduels ethiopia's Bekele on world marathon majors debut

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Daniel Wanjiru won the Amsterdam Marathon last October in 2:05:21 with a sizeable negative split, but the 24-year-old was not considered a threat to succeed Eliud Kipchoge as the champion of the men’s race.

Wanjiru has only raced once this season, finishing 12th at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in 1:02:16 – which was won by Bedan Karoki in 59:10 – but Wanjiru still arrived in the British capital full of confidence for his World Marathon Majors debut.

“I did 62 there and I took it as part of my training and I knew I was OK to do the marathon,” he explained after the race. “After that race, I told my manager ‘I’m ready to win the London Marathon’.

Wanjiru was firmly ensconced in the group through halfway in 1:01:43 but at this point, arguable pre-race favourite Kenenisa Bekele was beginning to fall off the pace.

At 30km, Bekele was 18 seconds adrift of a leading group of five athletes including Wanjiru, but once the Kenyan made his break with 4:52 in the 21st mile, the Ethiopian began to reel in those ahead of him.

Bekele passed two-time world champion Abel Kirui just after the 35km checkpoint and then Karoki came into sight. The gap to Wanjiru had reduced to 14 seconds but the Kenyan was not fatiguing, nor was he daunted by the looming presence of the world 5000m and 10,000m record-holder who made up a significant gap on Wilson Kipsang to win the Berlin Marathon last September.

“I was not scared because in a competition, anything can happen,” said Wanjiru, who had kept something in reserve. “You have to plan what to do if someone is coming from behind.”

The gap between Wanjiru and Bekele reduced to five seconds for a while but Wanjiru, who was contesting his fourth marathon to date, was still running strongly and held Bekele off with a brilliant finishing mile of 4:27.

Wanjiru crossed the finish-line on The Mall in 2:05:48 and while Bekele had to settle for second in 2:05:57, the Ethiopian was upbeat after the race.

“I’m happy I finished this race. Of course, after Dubai, I lost some weeks because of injury so for me, coming back from injury and competing like this is encouraging for later races,” said Bekele, alluding to his fall at the Dubai Marathon in January which caused him to drop out.

A podium finish seemed improbable at halfway when Bekele began to lose ground. After the race, Bekele explained he developed blisters on his feet at about the 15km mark and said he “changed his style to protect it” which led to hamstring problems in his right leg. After 30km, Bekele said he was “feeling better and I increased the pace.”

By contrast, Karoki felt in excellent condition at the halfway point on his marathon debut before the distance caught him out in the last six miles. He staggered across the line in third in 2:07:41, four seconds ahead of Chicago Marathon winner Abel Kirui.

“When I saw 61 at halfway, I was expecting to run 2:03,” said Karoki. “But after 30km, I felt tired and I got a blister problem which forced me to slow down. I know, maybe next marathon, I’m going to better than today.”

Tanzania’s Alphonce Simbu ran a well-judged race, moving from 15th at halfway to fifth in 2:09:10 with world champion Ghirmay Ghebreslassie from Eritrea the sixth runner to finish within 2:10, clocking 2:09:57.

Club runner Josh Griffiths, who was entered in the race as part of the mass start, was the top British man, clocking 2:14:49 on his marathon debut to earn selection for the World Championships. Alyson Dixon finished 14th in the women’s race in a PB of 2:29:06 to also secure her spot on the home team for later this year.

Mary keitany breaks women's only world record at the Virgin Money london marathon

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Kenya’s Mary Keitany took 41 seconds off the women’s-only world record* at the Virgin Money London Marathon, running 2:17:01 at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race on Sunday (23).

Keitany said in the build-up to this year’s race she was in shape to break Paula Radcliffe’s mark of 2:17:42 and while she demurred when asked about the possibility of bettering Radcliffe’s outright mark of 2:15:25, Keitany was running minutes inside Radcliffe’s schedule in the first half.

Paced by her training partner Caroline Kipkirui, Keitany cut loose from arguably the most accomplished field in race history with an astonishingly fast third mile 4:37. Through 5km in 15:31 and 10km in 31:17, Keitany was running at close to 2:10 pace while the second group – which was already beginning to splinter – hit 10km in 31:31, exactly half a minute faster than Radcliffe in 2003.

Keitany, who covered the fourth and fifth miles in 4:56 and 4:59 respectively, was still within sight of the second group at 10km but the 34-year-old was away and clear with a succession of mile splits faster than 5:10 through the 10-mile mark in 50:41. Her half marathon split of 1:06:54 was the fastest in marathon history (Radcliffe ran 1:08:02 in 2003) and her advantage had extended to 59 seconds over the chasers, including track greats Tirunesh Dibaba, Vivian Cheruiyot, former winner Aselefech Mergia and world silver medallist Helah Kiprop.

“I know Mary is a fast runner and I was following my own pace and until halfway, I was on track but I was never expecting she would go that fast and maintain it,” said an incredulous Dibaba after the race.

This early pace had already torn the second group asunder. Former winner Tigist Tufa and world champion Mare Dibaba had lost more than three minutes on the second group with the latter dropping out after the 30km mark.

Keitany was also beginning to slow with a 14th mile of 5:21 before four successive miles in the 5:14-5:18 range. Through 30km in a pending world record of 1:36:05, Keitany was still 31 seconds faster than Radcliffe in 2003 but her preceding 5km split of 16:22 was her slowest thus far.

Keitany’s mile splits had started to drift into the 5:20 range and while Dibaba seemed to be running with more fluidity, her lead stayed at more than one minute through 35km in 1:52:39. The overall world record was beyond reach but Keitany was still on course to smash Radcliffe’s women’s-only world record.

Dibaba was running at a fantastic pace in just her second marathon, but after such a fast start she had to stop due to stomach cramps in the 23rd mile. She quickly gathered herself, but in spite of her fantastic credentials over the shorter distances there was no way she was going to catch Keitany.

After covering the preceding two miles in 5:27 and 5:25 respectively, Keitany spurted again with a 26th mile in 4:56 to ensure she would take a sizeable chunk off Radcliffe’s 12-year-old women’s-only world record with 2:17:01, the second-fastest time in the history of women’s marathon running.

“I want to thank the pacemaker who was taking me all the way to 14 miles,” said Keitany. “From there, I started to go alone and see how my body was.”

Dibaba rallied in the closing stages to finish second in 2:17:56, taking more than a minute from Tiki Gelana’s Ethiopian record and becoming the third-fastest woman in history.

“I haven’t decided yet but my gut feeling is I’ll be running the 10,000m on the track,” said Dibaba on her plans for the IAAF World Championships London 2017 this summer.

Mergia was beset by leg cramps in the closing stages but the 2010 champion accrued another podium finish in third in 2:23:08 while Cheruiyot, who equalled her half-marathon lifetime best of 1:07:54 en route, faded to fourth on her debut in 2:23:50.

Kenya well poised at the men's 4x800m preview – IAAF/BTC World Relays Bahamas 2017

 roticBett

Kenya appears to be the team with the best chance of deposing the US, with Ferguson Rotich, Timothy Kitum, Alfed Kipketer, Job Kinyor and Kipyegon Bett in their ranks if the brief history of the IAAF World Relays is to be relied upon. These athletes took the title at the inaugural edition of the men’s 4x800m final event in 2014, narrowly edging Poland after a thrilling final leg.

Bett clocked a noteworthy 1:44.2 in Nairobi earlier this month, where he led home Cheruiyot (1:44.7) and Kipketer (1:45.5). For good measure, both Kinyor and Kitum also ran faster than 1:46 in the same race, giving the Kenyans impressive strength in depth heading to Nassau.

The same can be said for Poland, whose team is headed up by world class duo Adam Kszczot and Marcin Lewandowski, whose tactical nous will prove a major asset in this relay format. They were part of the Polish teams which finished second in 2014 and 2015, and with 1:44.89 man Artur Kuciapski in their ranks, they are a team worthy of respect.

The Australian team, which includes Luke Matthews and Jordan Williamsz, should contend for a top-three finish, but are unlikely to challenge for the win.

debutant geoffrey kirui crowned champion at the 121st Boston Marathon

kirui

Geoffrey Kirui flew completely under the radar before the race, his best previous marathon being a third-place debut in Rotterdam last year and his PB a 2:06:27 for seventh in Amsterdam. But the 24-year-old asserted after the race, “In my mind, I was sure that one day I would win this race.”

The men’s pack stayed together much longer than the women, with former world record holder Emmanuel Mutai doing much of the pace work as the field wandered towards Boston. Unlike Linden, Mutai seemed disinterested in setting a fast pace, with the average mile hovering around 4:55 well past halfway.

Things began getting interesting in much the same part of the race as the year before, around 25 kilometres as the course descends into Lower Falls to cross the Charles from Wellesley into Newton. Olympic bronze medallist Galen Rupp moved to the front of the pack and although the pace didn’t improve, the size of the pack began to shrink. Mutai, defending champion Lemi Berhanu Hayle, and several others came off the pace.

The faces remaining, in addition to Kirui, Rupp, and Wilson Chebet, were not ones who would have been picked to be in the lead pack this late. American veteran Abdi Abdirahman, dominating the masters race; Colorado-based Augustus Maiyo, wearing the improbable bib number of 63; and Oregon-based Japanese Suguru Osako.

Eventually a duel developed between Rupp and Kirui, with the duo putting a dozen seconds on Osako coming up to 35 kilometres. After passing that marker, Kirui stomped on the accelerator, covering the 24th mile in 4:28, by far the fastest of the race. Rupp couldn’t answer the bell at that point, and the remaining two miles for Kirui were an extended victory lap.

Rupp came in second at 2:09:58, with Osako third in 2:10:28.

“I knew, coming here to Boston, I was going to face my colleagues who have run many times here,” said Kirui. “I was not aware that I was going to win, but I knew that I would challenge some of the champions who have been competing here.”

Osako was also thrilled with his performance. “I was very nervous and grateful for the Boston experience,” he said. “Once I relaxed, I started doing better.”

Although the athletes enjoyed a tailwind in many parts of the course, winds were gusty and occasionally met the runners head on. More challenging, especially for the mass participants, was the heat, with temperatures around 20 C at the start and rising slightly during the race.

Some 27,228 runners in four waves crossed the starting line in Hopkinton to make the trip in to Boston this year.

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