At the pre-meet press conference here on Friday (27) before Saturday’s New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, the moderator asked all the athletes about their New Year’s resolutions. Some were serious (“I’m hand-writing at least one letter a month”), some were flip (“I resolved to have more animals in my life”), so when Paul Chelimo announced that his resolution was to not lose any races, it was a little difficult to tell if he was being serious.
At Saturday’s IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting, he showed that he was.
Chelimo ran assertively near the front of the chase pack in the men’s 3000m, controlling the pace and allowing Lawi Lalang to run from the front and burn himself off. Then, when Lalang was finished with just over two laps remaining, Chelimo moved to the front and successfully defied anyone to get past him. He crossed the line in 7:42.39, not what he’d hoped for but not far adrift from his PB of 7:39.00. Then he snapped off a salute to the flag hanging high on the arena wall.
Running is not, formally, Paul Kipkemoi Chelimo’s full-time profession. Chelimo is a specialist in the US Army, assigned to the Army’s World Class Athlete Program (WCAP). The mission of the WCAP is to win Olympic medals, and Chelimo performed that mission better than anyone last year. He won silver in the Rio Olympic 5000m, running a near-perfect final for a 13:03.90 PB - and the Olympic final is the best possible race to run a PB.
Step back another year. In 2015 Chelimo was 11th at the US championships, far off from his goal of a berth on the team to Beijing. “I was heartbroken,” he says. “After that, I was waking up to make the Olympic team.”
Kenyans Stanley Kiprotich Bett and Eddah Jepkosgei were the convincing winners at the Bournemouth Marathon, an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race, on Sunday (2).
In the men's race, a group of four broke clear early on along the picturesque course along England's south coast, including Kenyans Bett and Julius Kiplagat Korir, along with Moroccan Abdelhadi El Mouaziz. The lead pack of four, which also included Japhet Koech of Kenya, were still together as they ran over Bournemouth Pier and through the finish area in Lower Gardens with nine miles remaining.
But it was Bett who surged clear in the closing stages, en route to his 2:17:59 victory. El Mouaziz remained strong to claim second in 2:20:45, with Korir third in 2:25:44.
The women's race was won in 2:40:38 by Eddah Jepkosgei of Kenya, who held off a strong challenge from compatriot Hildah Cheboi, who clocked 2:45:39.
Emma Prideaux of Great Britain was a distant third, clocking 3:01:15.
It was the second successive Kenyan double victory at this event. Boaz Kiprono and Joan Kigen cruised to victories one year ago.
A record-breaking 13,000 runners gathered on the Dorset coastline to run in the fourth edition of the two-day Bournemouth Marathon Festival, which included a 5km, 10km, half marathon and junior races in addition to the full marathon.