THE BIG NEWS of the early-fall road season, of course, was the bang-bang staging of the Berlin, Boston, Chicago & London marathons, each of which has its own pair of stories.
But they weren’t the only sources of headlines:
Gezahegne Takes Down 10K WR
Geneva, Switzerland, October 03 — Kalkidan Gezahegne of Bahrain, the Olympic 10K silver medalist, took her skills to the roads and emerged with a 29:38 World Record. She cut 5 seconds from the 29:43 that Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei set in ’17.
Gezahegne, in just her fourth-ever road contest, put her stamp on the race early, with a 5-second lead at halfway (14:46).
Kenyan Agnes Tirop, in what would be the last race of her life (see “Landmarks”) came in 2nd in 30:01, with Celliphine Chespol 3rd in 30:28.
Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie won the men’s contest in 26:51, ahead of Felix Kipkoech (26:57) and Boniface Kibiwott (27:13).
Kipkemboi Fast Over 10K Too
Valencia, Spain, October 03 — Margaret Kipkemboi, the World 5000 silver medalist in ’19, failed to make the Kenyan Olympic team despite 14:28.24 form at Bislett. She turned to the roads, taking 53 seconds off her best with a 29:50, handily defeating steeple world leader Norah Tanui (30:08) among others. She and Tanui passed halfway in 14:48, a WR pace.
Kipkemboi’s time stood at No. 3 all-time until the Geneva race the same day.
Kelati Breaks 10K AR
Boston, Massachusetts, October 16 — Former New Mexico star Weini Kelati made her first serious venture onto the roads count, taking down the women-only 10K American Record at the Boston (formerly Tufts) 10K For Women.
Kelati took 3 seconds off Molly Huddle’s standard of 31:21 with her 31:18. The mixed-sex AR is 30:52 by Shalane Flanagan in ’16.
“My plan from the beginning was to push,” she said. “Because I’ve been doing so well in my training, and I’ve been seeing a lot of improvement.” In 2nd came training partner Sharon Lokedi in 31:57.
The 24-year-old 2-time NCAA champion, born in Eritrea, became a U.S. citizen just days before competing in the Olympic Trials 10K, where she did not finish. “I think it’s more fun to do the road race, there are people everywhere!” she said.
Too Too Much In Eindhoven
Eindhoven, Netherlands, October 10 — After a year away, the Eindhoven Marathon returned 18,000 runners strong and Silas Too led a Kenyan sweep of the first 4 places. His winning 2:06:32 took nearly 2:00 off his old best of 2:08:26, set in Barcelona in ’18.
The 33-year-old finished 24 seconds ahead of Martin Kosgei (2:06:56) with Timothy Rono (2:07:01) and Simon Kipkosgei (2:07:07) just behind. Kosgei had been the fastest entrant at 2:06:41, a time he narrowly missed as the rest of the top 4 all scored PRs.
5 Under 2:05 In Paris
Paris, France, October 17 — Kenyan Elisha Kipchirchir of Kenya came home fastest to win the Paris Marathon in 2:04:21, taking down a Kenenisa Bekele course record from ’14.
Kipchirchir, 31, in his fourteenth 26-miler, improved his own PR by an even minute, making his big move after 37K to distance himself from the pack, which had passed halfway in 61:55.
Ethiopia’s Hailemariyam Kiros crossed 20 seconds back in 2:04:41. Also finishing under 2:05 were Kenyans Hillary Kipsambu (2:04:44) and Barselius Kipyego (2:04:48), with Ethiopian Abayneh Degu in 2:04:53. Kipsambu had been leading until Rotich took over.
Tanui & Tola Sizzle In Amsterdam
Amsterdam, Netherlands, October 17 — Course records tumbled as perfect conditions brought out the best in a deep field.
Angela Tanui, who missed Boston with visa troubles, showed her mettle by taking nearly 90 seconds off the course record with her 2:17:57, a time that moved her to No. 10 ever. She had previously won the Dhaka and Xiamen marathons this year. Her last half took just 67:57.
Tanui wore a white ribbon and said it was her dedication of the race to her late friend Agnes Tirop, who had been murdered days earlier. “Today I was remembering Agnes; I came here, I won in a course record… for Agnes.”
Maurine Chepkemoi crossed 2nd in 2:20:18, a tick ahead of Ethiopia’s Haven Hailu (2:20:19).
The men had passed halfway in 62:11 but the tempo sped up. The closing kilos saw 6 battling it out, but Tamirat Tola, the ’17 Worlds silver medalist, proved dominant in the final 2 miles to score a 30-second win in 2:03:39, the first Ethiopian win here since ’10.
Bernard Koech of Kenya finished 2nd (2:04:09), then came Leul Gebreselassie of Ethiopia (2:04:12), Jonathan Kipleting of Kenya (2:04:32), Hizkel Tewelde in an Eritrean Record 2:04:35.
Ethiopians Win In Lisbon
Lisbon, Portugal, October 17 — Andualem Belay took the men’s title by more than a minute in Lisbon, the Ethiopian topping Kenya’s Hosea Chirchir, 2:05:52-2:07:39. Belay’s winning time broke his own ‘19 course record by 8 seconds.
“Lisbon is special to me,” said Belay, who complained that the slow pacemaker cost him a 2:04.
On the women’s side, Ethiopia went 1-2, with Asayech Ayalew Bere (2:25:07) well ahead of compatriot Almaz Negede (2:27;14).