Road Digest — Lots Of Off-Track Action

Yalemzerf Yehualaw’s 2:17:23 debut-record in Hamburg moved her to No. 6 on the all-time list. (HOCHZWEI)

SPRING’S BIGGEST ROAD NEWS came from the Boston Marathon, but certainly didn’t stop there. Other highlights from the highways and byways:


Marathon Debut Record For Yehualaw

With a 10K road WR of 29:14 under her belt already this year, as well as a 1:03:51 half marathon last fall, expectations were high for Yalemzerf Yehualaw in her first full 26-miler.

It happened at the Haspa Marathon Hamburg, where the 22-year-old Ethiopian demolished the best for a debut race, her 2:17:23 national record winning by nearly 9:00 and taking 93 seconds off the old first-timer best of 2:18:56 that Paula Radcliffe ran in ’02.

With male pacemakers for the first 30K, she passed 10K in 32:39 and was exactly on 2:17 pace at halfway (1:08:30).
“The race went well for me, considering this was my first marathon,” she said. “The fast course suited me and the spectators helped me a lot.”

Kenyan Cybrian Kotut took the men’s race in 2:04:47, nipping Uganda’s Stephen Kissa (2:04:48) at the line. Also under the ‘13 Eliud Kipchoge course record of 2:05:30 were Workineh Tadesse of Ethiopia (2:05:07) and Victor Kiplangat of Uganda (2:05:09).


Other Marathon Winners

Other big spring marathon winners (as always, nearly all from Ethiopia or Kenya) since the last issue:
Daegu — Shifera Tamru (Ethiopia) 2:06:31 & Nazret Weldu (Eritrea) 2:21:56; Enschede — Julius Tuwei (Kenya) 2:07:43 & Maurine Chepkemoi (Kenya) 2:21:10; Madrid — Abdela Godana (Ethiopia) 2:08:44 & Siranesh Yirga (Ethiopia) 2:24:37; Milan — Titus Kibiego (Kenya) 2:05:05 & Vivian Kiplagat (Kenya) 2:20:18; Paris — Chalu Deso (Ethiopia) 2:05:07 & Judith Korir (Kenya) 2:19:48; Rotterdam — Abdi Nageeye (Netherlands) 2:04:56 & Haven Hailu (Ethiopia) 2:22:01; Seoul — Mosinet Geremew (Ethiopia) & Joan Chelimo (Kenya) 2:18:04; Vienna — Cosmas Muteti (Kenya) 2:06:53 & Vibian Chepkurui (Kenya) 2:20:59;


High School Marathon Record Finally Falls

The marathon hasn’t gotten much attention from high schoolers in recent years, but that didn’t stop Tim Synowiec (Bennett, Salisbury, Maryland) from going after the record in his hometown race.

The 18-year-old senior, who ran a 9:16.87 for 3200 last year, clocked 2:22:51, winning by nearly a half-hour in slicing 14 seconds off the HSR of 2:23:05 set by Clancy Devery in 1977. The Devery mark came on a net downhill course; the fastest on a record-legal course was 2:23:47 by Mitch Kingery in ’73.

Said Synowiec, a 4:27 miler on the track, “I definitely want to be able to keep running longer distances for sure, but at the same time, I want to dial in for track season and do well at States.”


Americans Climb 20K Walk List

The first gold-level stop on the WA walking circuit, Poděbrady, Czech Republic saw Brazil’s Caio Bonfim pull away near the end to capture the men’s 20K race in 1:18:54, tying the meet record. In 2nd came Sweden’s Perseus Karlström, the WC bronze medalist, in 1:19:42.

Americans Nick Christie (1:22:44) and Dan Nehnevaj (1:23:10) moved to Nos. 6 and 7 on the U.S. all-time list in placing 19th and 23rd. Robyn Stevens took 12th in the women’s race at 1:32:15, a PR that moved her to No. 4 all-time on the U.S. list.


Robyn Stevens Sets AR In 35K Walk

With 35K now the standard long distance in the walking world, Slovakia’s latest “Dudince 50” kept its name but went a lot shorter.

Dominating the women’s race was China’s 20K silver medal winner Qieyang Shijie, who passed 20K in 1:32:56 and led by 13 seconds at the finish in an Asian Record 2:43:06.

Surprising many was American Robyn Stevens in 5th with an American Record 2:49:29. She sliced more than 10 minutes from the old best, a 3:00:18 that Miranda Melville set earlier this year. More importantly, Stevens got a WC qualifier.

Massimo Stano of Italy came from behind to win the men’s race in 2:29:09 ahead of José Luis Doctor of Mexico (2:29:24) and Xianghong He of China (2:29:35).


USATF 20K Walk Championships

To give athletes better preparation time for the World Championship in July, USATF this year split off 3 events from the main Nationals, giving each its own earlier competition. First up was the 20K walk (Hauppauge, Long Island, April 24)

Nick Christie took top honors with a 1:24:36 for his twelfth nationals win (including the 35K back in January). Canadian Ben Thorne competed as a guest and finished 2nd in 1:27:29. In 3rd came Dan Nehnevaj (1:30:08). No American has the Q-standard of 1:21:00 at this point.

With list leader Robyn Stevens instead choosing the Dudince 35, Miranda Melville won the women’s title in 1:36:01, over Maria Michta-Coffey’s 1:39:55. No American woman has the Eugene standard of 1:31:00. ◻︎

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