Photo: Atsushi Fujita (JPN) (Getty Images)
Former national marathon record holder, Atsushi Fujita bouncing back from his defeat at Fukuoka on 3 December to win the 56th edition of the race writes Ken Nakamura. In doing so he qualified for the Japanese team for the Osaka World Championships and left second-placed Atsushi Sato admitting "I was completely crushed. Fujita was really strong today."
The pacemakers were supposed to run at 3:02/km pace up to 32km. A pack of 15 led by three Kenyans — Edwin Kipkoech, Peter Kiprotich and Jason Mbote — passed through 15km on schedule in 45:28, but drifted off the pace over the next 10km, passing halfway in 1:04:09 and 25km in 1:16:08. By then it was down to 12 runners, but the pace slackened after the 25km turnaround point in the city of Beppu (the 30km split was 1:31:44).
Eight runners were left after the three pacemakers dropped out at 32km. David Kemboi then surged, and Fujita, Sato and Kazushi Hara responded, although Hara dropped back after a further 2km before they passed 35km in 1:47:32. At 38km it was Fujita's turn to surge. Kemboi trailed but at first Sato stuck with him, but Fujita surged again after anopther 500m and then went ever further ahead to win by a 52-second margin.
MEN (only): 1 Atsushi FUJITA JPN 2:10:23 2 Atsushi SATO JPN 2:11:15 3 David KEMBOI KEN 2:11:26 4 Kazushi HARA JPN 2:12:44 5 Rashid KISRI MAR 2:12:45 6 Tomonori WATANABE JPN 2:13:11 7 Joseph RIRI KEN 2:13:37 8 Pavel LOSKUTOV EST 2:14:49 9 Brett CARTWRIGHT AUS 2:15:17 10 Masaki IWAHARA JPN 2:15:22
Kayoko Fukushi and Mekubo Mogusu scored runaway wins in the 61st running in Marugame, a city on the island of Shikoku writes Ken Nakamura. It was Fukushi's third half marathon, having debuted in the 60th edition last year when she beat Olympic Marathon champion Mizuko Noguchi and set an Asian record of 1:07:26.
The men started as if in a 10km. The three leaders passed 1km in 2:44, but soon Mogusu was alone in front. He passed 3km in 8:15, 5km in 13:58 and 10km in 28:01 to lead by nearly a minute lead at 5km and nearly two minutes at 10km. Slowing slightly, he still passed 15km in 42:15 (14:14) and 20km in 56:42 (14:27). His 59:48 broke Zakayo Ngatho's 2003 course record of 1:00:21. The time was five seconds short of the Japan all-comers record at the half marathon, 59:43, recorded by Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya in the 2005 Sendai Half Marathon.
Mogusu is a Kenyan student attending Yamanashi Gakuen University in Japan. He has a 5000m personal best of 13:27.14 and the 10000m best of 27:44.94. He won the national collegiate championships at 5000m. He also excelled at the half marathon distance, having finished fourth at the 2006 Sapporo Half Marathon with 1:02:05, and won the 2005 Sapporo Half Marathon with 1:01:28. Although defending champion Takayuki Matsumiya ran faster than his winning time of last year, he was a distant second to Mogusu.
Fukushi also led from the start. She passed 1km in 3:08, 2km in 6:14, 3km in 9:20 and 4km in 12:30. "I was not thinking about the pace at all," said Fukushi after the race. She went through 5km in 15:39 and 10km in 31:34, slower than the pace recorded last year (15:26 for 5km and 30:52 for 10km), but much faster than anyone else. She started to slow after 10Km, passing 15km in 47:52 (16:18) and 20km in 1:04:19 (16:27) to finish in 1:08:00, 34 seconds short of the course record she set last year.
Harumi Hiroyama, who is shooting for the World Championships marathon team berth at the upcoming Nagoya Women's Marathon and who is 38 years old, finished second in 1:10:23.
MEN: 1 Mekubo MOGUSU KEN 0:59:48 2 Takayuki MATSUMIYA JPN 1:02:11 3 Terukazu OMORI JPN 1:02:26 4 Kenji NOGUCHI JPN 1:02:27 5 Ken-ichi SHIRAISHI JPN 1:02:29 6 Arata FUJIWARA JPN 1:02:29 7 Takeshi MAEGAWA JPN 1:02:30 8 Takuya FUKATSU JPN 1:02:31 9 Steven NJENGA KEN 1:02:32 10 Hyo-Sok OM KOR 1:02:36 WOMEN: 1 Kayoko FUKUSHI JPN 1:08:00 2 Harumi HIROYAMA JPN 1:10:23 3 Yasuko HASHIMOTO JPN 1:11:08 4 Asuka KATO JPN 1:11:15 5 Ikumi WAKAMATSU JPN 1:11:55 6 Sakura SATO JPN 1:12:02 7 Haruko OKAMOTO JPN 1:12:16 8 Mikie TAKANAKA JPN 1:12:18 9 Kaori TAKAI JPN 1:12:25 10 Yuko SATO JPN 1:12:38
MEN: 1 Jason WEBER USA 2:35:21 2 Benjamin MULVANEY USA 2:39:18 3 Stephen NERI FRA 2:42:53 4 Christophe LEPAGE FRA 2:43:33 5 Tim DONAHUGH USA 2:46:31 6 Brett LAWRIE USA 2:47:50 7 Miguel DUARTE USA 2:48:30 8 Gary ANDERSON USA 2:51:25 9 David SCHILLER USA 2:52:52 10 Larry WITTE USA 2:53:36 WOMEN: 1 Nadia NOORZAI USA 2:59:28 2 Nicole SERENO USA 3:16:12 3 Amy HORST USA 3:18:09 4 Beth TOUSSAINT USA 3:23:36 5 Karen KOCHEL USA 3:24:12 6 Lauren KEARNEY USA 3:25:14 7 Dana CRAWLEY USA 3:26:22 8 Maureen PENIUK CAN 3:27:41 9 Terrie WEST USA 3:31:36 10 Carolyn SION USA 3:31:50 HALF MARATHON MEN: 1 Nick ARCINIAGA USA 1:05:46 2 Christian HESCH USA 1:06:01 3 Sergio REYES USA 1:06:08 WOMEN: 1 Sylvia MOSQUEDA USA 1:14:26 2 Kristen VAN ROOYEN USA 1:24:19 3 Merce SASTRE USA 1:26:23
MEN: 1 Hiroki TANAKA JPN 1:32:12 2 Takashi OTA JPN 1:32:51 3 Masaki SHIMOJU JPN 1:33:36 4 Akinori SHIBUTANI JPN 1:33:51 5 Kazuyuki MAEDA JPN 1:34:39 6 Clint VERRAN USA 1:34:50 7 Hirotaka HONDA JPN 1:35:47 8 Chad JOHNSON USA 1:35:53 9 Junji IIZUKA JPN 1:36:11 10 Yuki KAWAUCHI JPN 1:36:27 WOMEN: 1 Aki FUJIKAWA JPN 1:47:40 2 Yoshimi HOSHINO JPN 1:49:39 3 Ho-Sun PAK KOR 1:50:46 4 Izumi OKA JPN 1:59:54 5 Satomi MATSUO JPN 2:02:12 6 Mayumi NAGAI JPN 2:02:31
Sammy Wanjiru set a new world half-marathon record with a scintillating display of front-running writes Pat Butcher.
Wanjiru, just 20 years old, recaptured the world record taken from him by Haile Gebrselassie a year ago when he ran 58:55 in Phoenix, Arizona to surpass Wanjiru's 59:16 set in Rotterdam when he was still a junior.
Gebrselassie's record was achieved in a paced, solo run, whereas Wanjiru dismantled one of the best fields ever assembled, thanks to the record overall prize money of $155,000 on offer in Ras Al Khaimah.
Youngest in the field, Wanjiru was up against world champion Fabiano Joseph and winner of the Boston and Chicago Marathons, Robert Cheruyiot. Udeterred, he shot to the front to lead a group of 15 through 5km in 13:27. The second 5km was covered in 14:20, for an outrageous 10km split of 27:47.
By this time Wanjiru headed Patrick Makau, Francis Kibiwott, and Deriba Merga. Cheruyiot, Joseph and John Yuda were 20 seconds back, and the pack another 20 seconds behind them.
Wanjiru was briefly headed at several stages, but surged back into the lead. The third and fourth 5km sections were run in 13:42 and 14:21. Kibiwott had dropped away by then, and the most serious threat to Wanjiru came when Merga took the lead with just 2km to run. But it was an attempt to slow the pace, which brought a rapid response from Makau and Wanjiru, who stretched away by himself, running the last 1097.5m in just over three minutes. Makau's 59:13 was the third fastest time ever.
The women's race was a more sedate affair, with a group of a dozen running together until around 16km, and six still together with a kilometre to run. Pre-race favourite Berhane Adere sprinted away to win in the last 600m.
One of the objects of the race to put Ras Al Khaimah (one of the smallerr emirates) on the map. Crown Prince Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi showed his appreciation of Wanjiru's geography lesson by giving the young Kenyan an impromptu $5000 bonus.
MEN: 1 Sammy WANJIRU KEN 58:53 2 Patrick MAKAU KEN 59:13 3 Deriba MERGA ETH 59:43 4 Francis KIBIWOTT KEN 1:00:07 5 Robert CHERUYIOT KEN 1:00:37 6 John YUDA TAN 1:00:38 7 Fabiano JOSEPH TAN 1:00:53 8 Matthew KOECH KEN 1:01:02 9 Mubarak SHAMI QAT 1:01:15 10 Solomon BUSENDICH KEN 1:01:36 WOMEN: 1 Berhane ADERE ETH 1:10:58 2 Teybia ERKESSO ETH 1:11:02 3 Bizunesh BEKELE ETH 1:11:06 4 Dire Tune ETH 1:11:10 5 Rita JEPTOO KEN 1:11:18 6 Caroline CHEPTANUI KEN 1:11:32 7 Salina KOSGEI KEN 1:11:38 8 Everline KIMWEI KEN 1:11:44 9 Hellen CHERONO KEN 1:11:48 10 Cathy MUTWA KEN 1:11:50
Silvester Chebii was the sixth successive Kenyan winner of the men's race. Tina Maria Ramos managed to retain her title from the previous year and take her wins to a total of four - only half as many as the Catalan Roger Puigbo in the wheelchair event.
There were more entries than ever this year, cheered on by good street support, and more than 2000 runners finished the race.
MEN: 1 Silvester CHEBII KEN 2:15:16 2 Michael CHEMCHIR KEN 2:15:31 3 Geoffrey TERER KEN 2:19:42 4 John EWOI KEN 2:19:58 5 Lars JOHANSSON SWE 2:20:08 6 James KARIUKI KEN 2:21:17 7 Peter KWALIA KEN 2:22:36 8 Tomasz WILCZYNSKI POL 2:28:00 9 Javier CASTANO HISPAN ESP 2:28:47 10 Luisvindo ROMERO CONCE ESP 2:30:08 WOMEN: 1 Tina Maria RAMOS ESP 2:45:34 2 Nadezda TUPTOVA RUS 2:47:21 3 Katalin FARKAS HUN 2:49:38 4 Sonia MARTIN GARCIA ESP 2:54:18 5 Christina KARLSSON SWE 2:59:07 6 Carmen AUNON SANZ ESP 3:00:39 7 Rosa Ma. MACARRO ESCOBAR ESP 3:03:36 8 Rosa Carmen BALLESTEROS ESP 3:05:29 9 Anne FALLOWS GBR 3:06:33 10 Rosa ESPACHS OLIVERA ESP 3:08:09
Supported by the Minstry of Tourism, the 14th edition of the race started from the Hatshepsut Temple on the west bank of the Nile, just outside Luxor writes Hisham Ibrahim. The race helps mark the glory of the Pharaonic era 2500 years ago, in which running played its part. The race attracted runners from 36 countries.
MEN: 1 Mohamed R. ELHOSEANEE EGY 2:29:39 2 Mark WERNER USA 2:32:10 3 Abdelrasol ELBADREE EGY 2:34:13 WOMEN: 1 Suzette WERMAAK RSA 3:04:35 2 Edit KISS HUN 3:51:25 3 Zohra MERABET ALG 3:57:41
Almost 2000 runners from 12 countries (including UN Forces) ran in the 25th edition, which also featured hand bikers, a 10km race and kid's run writes Sergey Porada Yelena Kurdyumova.
The course runs through a desert landscape, at 398m below sea level, next to the biggest and saltiest lake in the world. Warm conditions (23°C) and headwinds slowed the pace as a pack of several Israeli runners of Ethiopian origin (Asaf Bimro, Zavadia Wudege, Pastau Sonah) and 21 year old Ethiopian Yonas Nagatu let race leader Stanley Kibet Kessio go away. At 5km the eventual winner, Nile Admasu Gebre, was 60m behind Kessio, while the rest of the pack lagged by a further 150m.
After the turn around point, and a 3km climb, Gebre closed on Kessio and took the lead. By 17km he was 300m ahead as behind him Asaf Bimro surged out of the pack to pass Kessio and go into second place.
Beza Nebaba, another native Ethiopian Israeli citizen, recorded a personal best and the fifth fastest time in the world for a blind runner (1:32:48). He only started training two years ago, and hopes to run the marathon at the Beijing Paralympics.
Youth overcame experience in the women's race as Dagne Balcha Kalkidan outran Nili Avramsky, the defending champion who was running her 16th Dead Sea Half Marathon. Kalkidan passed 5km in 17:38, 150m ahead of Avramski. From 13km Avramski narrowed the gap but Kalkidan won by a margin of 43 seconds.
The 10km race was dominated by Israeli athletes. Nina Pekerman, national triathlon champion won in 38:57, while Goseph Gizacho, another former Ethiopian, took the men's title in 32:47.
MEN: 1. Nile Admasu GEBRE ETH 1:06:52 2. Asaf BIMRO ISR 1:08:08 3. Zavadia WUDEGE ISR 1:08:52 4. Dastau SONAH ISR 1:09:00 5. Stanley Kibet KESSIO KEN 1:09:08 6. Yonas NEGATU ETH 1:11:29 7. Hai NOAM ISR 1:18:42 8. Omry HOLTSMAN ISR 1:18:44 9. Dan STEFTER ISR 1:19:59 10. Sharon LURYE ISR 1:20:26 WOMEN: 1. Dagne Balcha KALKIDAN ETH 1:18:07 2. Nili AVRAMSKI ISR 1:18:50 3. Svetlana BAHMAND ISR 1:19:39 4. Orna BLAU ISR 1:26:47 5. Loris MENDELOVICH ISR 1:28:37 6. Sasi BENTAL ISR 1:33:26 7. Lila FRANKEL ISR 1:33:32 8. Christoph TOGGENBURGH ISR 1:34:41 9. Jessica MISIONISHNIK ISR 1:38:09 10. Maria DIAS ISR 1:38:39
Good conditions — 15°C and relatively little wind, along with a group which stayed together long into the race — allowed the course record to be broken by one minute. For the first time in Spain, four men ran under 2:13 in the same race.
The men's race quickly became a contest of East Africa vs the rest of the world, as there was only one non Kenyan or Ethiopian in the group of about a dozen after the first four kilometres. By this time in the women's race, Alemu Zinash had already taken a clear lead over Peris Poywo and Valentina Polavska. By halfway the men's group was reduced to eight, while in the women's race Ana Casares Polo had worked her way up towards third place. The women's top placings then remained unchanged throughout the second half of the race.
Despite the more open nature of the second half of the course, usually run into the wind, runners slowed relatively little. There were still four men together with 800m to go, and in the stadium finish straight an epic struggle for the podium placings was fought out until the final few metres.
MEN: 1 Samson LOYWAPET KEN 2:12:04 2 Teklu TEFERA ETH 2:12:05 3 David KIRUI KEN 2:12:09 4 Ben Kipruo CHEBET KEN 2:12:19 5 Abraham CHELANGA KEN 2:13:52 6 Samuel MOLDEA KEN 2:17:57 7 Marek DRYJA POL 2:23:47 8 Ernest KIPYEGO KEN 2:26:15 9 Jorge Aubeso MARTINEZ ESP 2:27:01 10 Francisco Lazaro SESA ESP 2:27:27 WOMEN: 1 Alemu XINASH ETH 2:39:07 2 Valentina POLAVSKA UKR 2:40:40 3 Ana CASARES POLO ESP 2:41:55 4 Peris POYWO KEN 2:44:28 5 Joanna CHMIEL POL 2:45:10 6 Olha KOTOVSKA UKR 2:45:41 7 Cristina Gomes ALMARAZ ESP 2:54:11 8 Teresa Gracia GOMES ESP 2:55:58 9 Beatrice Pellicer AMAT ESP 3:02:41 10 Elsilia Torrez VENTURA ESP 3:04:53
Photo: Kazutaka Eguchi/Agence SHOT
Surging away from the lead pack at 25km, Daniel Njenga won the 2007 Tokyo Marathon to establish an inaugural course record of 2:09:45 writes Ken Nakamura. Njenga won the old Tokyo marathon in 2004, which was an elite only marathon over a different course. Although Tomoyuki Sato finished second and first Japanese his 2:11:22 was not good enough for automatic selection for the Osaka World Championships.
Pacemakers Lee Troop, Ben Kimondiu and Luis Jesus were asked to pace at 3:02 until 30km. The race started relatively fast although it took about 20 minutes for the last of the 30000 runners to cross the start line. 10km was passed in 30:16 while the next 5km took 15:30, followed by 15:34 for the fourth 5km. Even so, Sammy Korir dropped back at 16km. The pack passed halfway in 1:04:49.
Pacing finished at 25km and Njenga then surged away from the lead pack of ten runners Shigeru Aburaya immediately fell behind as the chase pack disintegrated. It was soon down to four runners - Tomoyuki Sato, Satoshi Irifune, Masashi Hayashi and debutant Kazuyoshi Tokumoto. Njenga ran from 25-30km in 14:51 - the only sub 15 minutes 5km split of the race. By then he was 45 seconds ahead of the threesome - Tokumoto, Irifune and Sato.
Marathon debutant Tokumoto fell behind at 33.5km as Njenga pulled further and further ahead. At 35mm Sato and Irifune were 81 seconds behind Njenga. Sato then surged on the uphill part of the course and successfully broke away from Irifune.
Although no elite woman was invited by the race organizers, Hitomi Niiya, who was 13th in the junior division of the 2006 World Cross Country Championships, ran the race alongside thousands of women. Niiya, a marathon debutante (and who has never run the half marathon or track 10000m), won the women's race in 2:31:02. After graduating from high school last year, Niiya is now coached by Yoshio Koide, who coached Naoko Takahashi to the Olympic gold in 2000.
Conditions were 5.1°C, humidity 94%, and a North wind of 1.0m/s.
MEN: 1 Daniel NJENGA KEN 2:09:45 2 Tomoyuki SATO JPN 2:11:22 3 Satoshi IRIFUNE JPN 2:12:44 4 Masashi HAYASHI JPN 2:15:28 5 Kazuyoshi TOKUMOTO JPN 2:15:55 6 Vaderlei DE LIMA BRA 2:16:08 7 Seiji KOBAYASHI JPN 2:17:13 8 Monabu ITAYAMA JPN 2:17:29 9 Koji KANNAN JPN 2:18:03 10 Moges TAYE ETH 2:18:20 WOMEN: 1 Hitomi NIIYA JPN 2:31:02 2 Mari TANIGAWA JPN 2:49:54 5 Yuko ARIMORI JPN 2:52:45
MEN: 1 Joshua ROP KEN 2:16:29 2 Jacob KIPLETING KEN 2:18:58 3 Roman WEGER ??? 2:23:18 4 Giuseppe VELETTI ITA 2:28:03 5 Marco BOFFO ITA 2:30:45 6 Lorenzo TRINCHERI ITA 2:32:31 7 Graziano GIORDANENGO ITA 2:32:31 8 Luca CRULLI ITA 2:34:01 9 Mario FATTORE ITA 2:36:10 10 Nerino PAOLETTI ITA 2:37:40 WOMEN: 1 Ilaria BIANCHI ITA 2:37:06 2 Simonetta MAGNANI ITA 2:50:12 3 Lidija RAJCIC ??? 2:53:17 4 Giovanna CAVALLI ITA 2:57:05 5 Sonia CIONNA ITA 2:57:47 6 Beverley GIBSON ??? 3:04:34 7 Claudia SOLARO ITA 3:05:54 8 Laura DURPETTI ITA 3:06:16 9 Roberta MONARI ITA 3:09:25 10 Monica BARCHETTI ITA 3:10:48
Lornah Kiplagat, who has won this event five times, brushed aside her main challenger, Olympic 5000m gold medallist Meseret Defar, for her latest victory. Although Defar has 21 wins over 5000m, has beaten Dutch citizen Kiplagat in their only two encounters, and has a ferocious kick, she had previously run only one 10,000m — 33:54.41 at age 15. What Gete Wami and Birhane Adere had not been able to do previously, so too Defar was unable to accomplish.
The World Best 10K, is conducted as a double crossing of Moscoso Bridge, and among the 14,000 who compete, Kiplagat is the most consistent toll collector. The westerly winds blowing off the lagoon meant the lead pair went through 3km slower than normal, but by then it was already over, as Defar began to lose contact. Kiplagat steadily expanded her advantage to 1:03 for a a convincing victory.
Defar completed her first 10km road race: "it was very hot and I got stomach cramps in the winds," she said. Kiplagat had spent two weeks in San Juan leading up to the race making appearances and giving talks at local schools, training and giving interviews. She ran her own race but just missed out on a $15,000 time bonus for breaking 31:00.
The men's race was a far more open affair, with at least half a dozen in with a chance. After a spirited first kilometre of 2:45 things slowed as a group of 12 struggled with grades and gusts from 2–4km (splits of: 5:38; 8:32; 11:22). In the fifth kilometre Gibert Okari pressed on as the avenue of flags flapped to the west and he recorded another 2:45 split for a halfway time of 14:08. Okari continued to apply pressure to avoid being outkicked at the end. It worked. Soon after streaking through the southern toll booths it was down to three: Martin Lel, Okari, and the unheralded Cosmos Kimutai. It was Kimutai, coming back on the final straight to the bridge, who seemed to have victory in hand. But Okari rallied and overtook to win in 28:08.
Perhaps the most finish line excitement was generated by the two leading Puerto Rican finishers. Not far from the banner and with an enormous flag billowing overhead Luiz Collazo and César Lam ended their pitched battle by demolishing the previous best Puerto Rican time for the course. Collazo fought across ahead of Lam as they finished in 29:51 and 29:54.
MEN: 1 Gilbert OKARI KEN 28:08 2 Kimutai K COSMOS KEN 28:09 3 Martin LEL KEN 28:13 4 Peter KAMAIS KEN 28:37 5 John YUDA TAN 28:38 6 Samuel KOSGEI KEN 28:57 7 Wilson K KEBENEI KEN 29:01 8 Boniface KIPROP UGA 29:02 9 Duncan KIBET KEN 29:15 10 Boaz CHEBOIYWO KEN 29:20 WOMEN: 1 Lornah KIPLAGAT NED 31:05 2 Meseret DEFAR ETH 32:08 3 Zhor EL KAMACH MAR 32:20 4 Hilda KIBET KEN 32:39 5 Dire TUNE ETH 32:42 6 Helena KIROP KEN 32:43 7 Susan CHEPKEMEI KEN 32:47 8 Tatyana PETROVA RUS 32:50 9 Amane GOBENA ETH 33:17 10 Edna KIPLAGAT KEN 33:20
MEN: 1 Eduardo BUENAVISTA PHI 2:23:08 2 Cresciano SABAL PHI 2:27.54 3 Rolando PIAMONTE PHI 2:34:58 4 Robert WANGBUGU 2:36.27 5 Reynaldo DE LOS REYES PHI 2:37:43 6 Rogelio SARMIENTO PHI 2:37:55 7 Mamerto CORPUZ PHI 2:40:16 8 Rodolfo TACADINO PHI 2:41:11 9 Modesto MADALANG PHI 2:41:18 10 Tacelo MARSON PHI 2:41:56 WOMEN: 1 Joan BANAYAG PHI 3:05:42 2 Flordeliza CARREON PHI 3:12:12 3 Ailene TOLENTINO PHI 3:17:57 4 Mila PAJE PHI 3:37:56 5 Cinderella AGANA PHI 3:39:26 6 Geraldin SEALZA PHI 3:42:43 7 Genevieve DE LA PENA PHI 3:50:00 8 Jenny KINSELLA 3:50:29 9 Daisy CASTILLON PHI 3:58:51 10 Fiona OTTIGER 3:59.08 10km MEN: 1 Rene HERRERA PHI 31:53 2 Julius SERMONA PHI 32:14 3 Reynaldo PASCUA PHI 32:51 WOMEN: 1 Mercedita MANIPOL PHI 37:27 2 Marecil MAQUILAN PHI 39:18 3 Liza YAMBAO PHI 40:12
Photos: Michael Walsh
The White Continent lived up to its shivery reputation when an overnight snowstorm blanketed King George Island for the 8th running of the Antarctica Marathon and Half Marathon writes Patrice Malloy. The races were sponsored by the online University, Capella.
A hardy contingent of 188 runners from 19 countries traveled to the bottom of the Earth to run the two courses, which both included an arduous 1200m ascent of a crusty glacier.
Swathed from head to toe, runners and race crew were shuttled to shore from two Russian research ships for the 09:00 start at Bellingshausen, the Russian scientific research base.
Participants navigated their way over ice and snow-covered mud, rocks and trails in sub-zero wind chills and occasional white-out conditions. "These were perfect Antarctic conditions," said race director Thom Gilligan.
But it was an onslaught of nature. "There was a stretch on the course when I could not see anything in front of me because of the swirling snow," said Michelle Johnston, during an interview by satellite telephone. "That was when I got too close to a huge barking seal." The 33-year-old mother of four finished in 5:33:59.
Matt Tyler took the lead at about half-way and maintained a strong, steady pace to take overall victory. In the women's race Christina Harding came from behind in the last 3km to win the women's division.
Jeanne Stawiecki, 56, finished the marathon in 5:22:08 to successfully complete marathons on all seven continents within 141 days (this is a record pending verification). Ginny Turner was the last finisher, in 8:30:35, but became the first woman to complete a marathon on all seven continents—twice.
The brutal conditions prevented Dr. William Tan, the event's lone wheelchair competitor, from completing his second attempt at the marathon. Tan, who has completed marathons on every continent except Antarctica, could not overcome the course's snow drifts—not even while utilizing a customized racing chair. Tan did, however, complete the half-marathon in 5:59:29. His previous attempt at the marathon in 2005 also resulted in a half marathon finish.
Chinstrap penguins, fur seals and scientists were among the few spectators on the pristine course. The double out-and-back course also wound through Uruguayan, Chilean and Chinese research bases.
MEN: 1 Matthew TYLER GBR 3:51:33 2 Johan PETERSEN NZL 3:59:02 3 GW JONES USA 3:59:28 4 John BLANCHAR USA 4:03:27 5 Anthony RUSSO USA 4:05:03 6 Thomas GILLMAN USA 4:13:34 7 Juergen HEILBOCK GER 4:17:22 8 Nathan TYLER GBR 4:23:28 9 Simon BOWDEN GBR 4:23:35 10 Gordon BENNET USA 4:25:53 WOMEN: 1 Christina HARDING USA 4:54:50 2 Barbara Schultz ALLEN USA 4:59:39 3 Carol OHEAR USA 5:00:14 4 Lynne HEWETT USA 5:13:55 5 Melissa CHASE USA 5:16:57 6 Jeanne STAWIECKI USA 5:22:08 7 Gillian BREWER USA 5:23:37 8 Katasha CORNWELL USA 5:24:08 9 Julie LARSON USA 5:24:14 10 Patricia GRIFFIN AUS 5:28:33 HALF MARATHON: MEN: 1 John OMALLEY USA 2:13:10 2 Chuang XING CHN 2:29:01 3 Xinzan ZHOU CHN 2:39:44 WOMEN: 1 Cala CESARONI CAN 2:20:20 2 Laura BLUE USA 2:29:00 3 Denise CALFO USA 3:26:07
In all 340 runners participated in the series of events writes Mattia Durli. There were 113 who ran the marathon, between the El Ayoun and Smara Sahrawi refugee camps that lie close to the Algerian town of Tindouf. These numbers were significantly up on last year's races, which took place in the wake of severe flooding in the area.
This year there was no wind at all, and it was very hot. Participants suffered in what was probably the edition with the highest temperature so far. But water was available throughout and runners had eight hours to finish, so almost everyone completed the course.
Local participants enjoyed great success, with young Sahrawi boys and girls filling most of the podium places in the 10km and 5km races.
MEN: 1 Manuel Morente PAEZ ESP 2:54:48 2 Francisco San Marco SANTOS ESP 3:03:04 3 Ricardo García CUERVO ESP 3:09:22 4 Alberto Alvarez BENDANA ESP 3:11:41 5 Joan Marmol PEREZ ESP 3:13:08 6 Mohamed MUSTAFA SAH 3:14:36 7 Ahmed MOSTEFAQUI ALG 3:16:12 8 Roberto Carlos Agrelo GOMEZ ESP 3:19:05 9 Bendaoud BRAHIM ALG 3:19:30 10 Rafael García MARTINEZ ESP 3:20:46 WOMEN: 1 Rocío Fernández FREILE ESP 3:59:43 2 Mariangela BACCHINI ITA 4:00:00 3 Jennifer MURPHY USA 4:15:20 4 Marta Vaquerizo SAINZ ESP 4:32:44 5 Rita VALLI ITA 4:43:15 6 Tessa WARDLEY GBR 5:02:57 7 Samia MALAOUI ALG 5:40:43 8 Carmela FIANO ITA 6:03:43 9 Sabrina CAMPALDINI ITA 6:03:43 10 Marie Elisabeth ZOLLMAN GER 6:16:46 HALF MARATHON MEN: 1 Abdelaziz HADJYOUCEF ALG 1:18:11 2 Salah Hmatou AMAIDAN SAH 1:22:47 3 Juan Carlos Salvador VILLA ESP 1:22:53 WOMEN: 1 Sabina Moreno GARRIDO ESP 1:49:05 2 Uxune Tena UGARTE ESP 1:52:26 3 Sylvia Hunger GER 2:03:20
AIMS CHILDREN'S SERIES:
The AIMS children's race, held in conjunction with the Sahara Marathon for the second year, was again a great success, even though controlling 1000 highly enthusiastic boys and girls is very difficult. There were three races, of 300m, 500m and 800m, depending on the age of the children. T-shirts were distributed before and medals after the races, along with a small present for each runner.
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