ATHENS AUTHENTIC MARATHON
Full results here
Record numbers of runners took part in this weekenfd’s Athens Authentic Marathon with organisers reporting 55,000 runners from 106 countries across all the races (5k, 10k, children and special requirements races) and 18,750 for the marathon.
Shelmith Nyawira of Kenya, who finished the Commonwealth games marathon in 2:47:53 earlier this year, bettered that time on an arguably more challenging course winning in 2:36:46. The IAAF only has her personal best at 2:38:18 set in Nairobi back in her home country in 2016 but I suspect that this isn’t correct as it doesn’t have the Athens Marathon logged yet and sometimes the kenyan names have multiple entries with slightly different middle names or name orders. Happily for the race organisers, the home country’s Eleftheria Petroulaki built on her win earlier this year when she finished first in 1:20:01 in the Athens International half marathon by placing third in 2:46:09 and 30th overall. She’s also previously won the 5k version of the race too so maybe she’s going all Pokemon on it and catching them all one by one.
1. Muruiki Shelmith Nyawira, KEN, 2:36:46
2. Koech Rebby Cherono, KEN, 2:38:54
3. Petroulaki Eleftheria, GRC, 2:46:09
MARATONA DI RAVENNA
Full results here
After the biblical storms and river-running of last week’s Venice marathon, those racing in Italy fared rather better weather-wise this week as the Ravenna marathon took place. It was another race reporting record attendance and record times. Ethopia’s Aberu Ayana Mulisa finished in 2:36: 32 which, as my google translate so beautifully puts it, ‘pulverised’ the previous record of 2:39:19 set by Catherine Bertone in 2015. Second place went to Croatian Nikolina Stepan in 2:48:07 and thirs to Ruta Simkunaite of Lithuania in 2:58:38. The rest of the top 15 was taken by Italian athletes, with only one Polish runner getting a look-in. I’ve failed miserably to find anything about Aberu Ayana Mulisa - she only seems to feature in news about this race. Anyone know anything? Perhaps a marathon debut? I’ve cheers on Stepan when she ran the World Championship race in London last year…. coming 3rd from last in 2:59:43. This was rather more successful for her!
Won last year by Eunice Chumba of Bahrain i 2:28:38 of Bahrain, this race has Paula Radcliffe as it’s headline ambassador and has 10000USD at stake for the winner
1. Medine Deme Armino, ETH, 2:29:30
2. Nazret Gebrehiwet, ERI, 2:29:48
3. Selamawit Tsegaw, ETH, 2:31:40
MARATON INTERNACIONAL MEGACABLE GUADALAJARA IAAF Bronze Label
Full results here but not published yet
Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich stormed to a Turkish all-comers record at the 40th Vodafone Istanbul Marathon on Sunday (11), clocking 2:18:35 at this IAAF Gold Label Road Race. With a 2:22 pace initially in mind to try breaking the 2:22:36 race record she set in her debut last year, Chepngetich surprised organisers at Saturday’s technical meeting when the defending champion asked that intermediate times be calculated for a sub-2:19 run. Having noted those, the 24-year-old went in pursuit of exactly what she targeted.
VODAFONE ISTANBUL MARATHON IAAF Gold Label
1. RUTH CHEPNGETICH, KEN,2:18:34
2. MARGARET AGAI, KEN, 2:25:03
3. FATUMA SADO, ETH, 2:31:04
Cajsa brings you all the news from the trails:
It's been busy days in Santa's Vector Grotto and silent nights on the trail circuit so Bland's little helper felt like a week off pounding the keyboard was in order! This week however there are both noteworthy previews and past performances that deserves a write up so back to the grind I go!
OTT ULTRA 30 miles / (886 m<)
See that beak up there in the altitude gain bracket, it is there as I could not find any exact elevation stats for this inaugural Welsh ultra but since I know that the route lead runners up and down the 886 meter peak of Pen y Fan I am guesstimating an elevation gain that at the very minimum matches that number!
In true Cymru-cumulus tradition the clouds were hanging low over the grounds of Cyfarthfa Castle as thirty something weatherproof trailheads lined up to climb South Wales highest peak this past weekend. Amongst them Team GB's Holly Rush who proved that she's recovered well enough from her ordeal on the trails of Mont Blanc to not only take the trophy as first lady but also chick a big chunk of men by running herself to a third on the Overall podium! Holly covered the 30 muddy miles in a gun time of 04:35:10 (only 4 minutes behind 2nd fastest man) that was fast enough to keep her on a safe distance from the battle for second and third which was unravelling behind her.
Kelly Felstead eventually managed to pull away from Katharine Collins and came back to Cyfartha (which btw loosely translates to Place of Barking …) as second fastest queen in 05:59:09. She finished with four minutes to spare down to Collins in third.
1. Holly Rush 04:35:10 (3rd OA)
2. Kelly Felstead 05:59:09
3. Katharine Collins 06:03:56
PEN LLYN ULTRA 35.5 miles / 1370 m
OTT was not the only long distance race taking place in the realms of the red dragon this past weekend.
Up in the Lllyn Pennisula runners were treated to a scenic 30-something mile course and just as down south the Top Girl ran herself to a place on the OA podium. Lizzie Richardson stormed along the Welsh coast path and finished first lady in this undulating race in 6:14:26, just 14 minutes away from an all out victory and a mere four minutes behind the second fastest man. Thirty minutes behind Richardson was Lowri Williams who only just managed to take second place in the ladies race by crossing the finish line TWENTY SECONDS ahead of Merilin Sikk in third. Seems like the Welsh autumn trails makes quiet the playground for late season badassery!
1. Lizzie Richardson 06:14:26
2. Lowri Williams 06:40:29 (5th OA)
3. Merilin Sikk 06:40:49 (6th OA)
The time has come for the Centurions to throw in the sweaty 2018 towel as this weekend sees their last race of the year and as per tradition they are wrapping things up with a loop!
WENDOVER WOODS 50 miles / 3050 m
The runners looking to finish their Centurion Grand Slam 50 series in Wendower this weekend will be faced by a course consisting of five laps of a 10 mile loop on forest trails. It's not the toughest of routes on paper but it does have some punchy hills and ascending them on repeat can be a bit of a mental mine field, add to that multiple sightings of Gruffalos and cover it all in an increasing layer of mud and all of a sudden you have a recipe for what will probably not result in a 50 mile PB!
With these conditions in mind my pre-race favourite has to be this years 3rd lady at Lakeland 50; Amy Sarkies. She will have to battle off the multiple centurion champion Jess Gray in order to win though and that is not an easy feat. Other possible podium contenders are Kit-Yi Greene who finished 3rd at TP100 this year and the current 50 mile slam leader Maria Russell. I'm also keeping a fore seeing eye on Melanie McKay who should have the quads to churn up the mud for a place in the top 3!
THE NORTH FACE 50
On less local trails it is time for the always competitive 50 mile North Face Endurance Challenge in California. It is not certain wether this race actually will take place though as at the moment of writing the Bay Area is still being tormented by devastating wildfires but if the race directors decides to give it a go ahead there will be some serious podium contenders on the start line.
Two time TNF champion Ida Nilsson has been out in the US for a couple of weeks to prepare and she should be hungry for revenge after a less successful Golden Trail Race finale at the Otter Trail last month.
Also seeking a last minute improvement of her 2018 season resume is Clare Gallagher. She will be joined and chased by her fellow Colorado-ite and running buddy Abby Levene who if she has a good day could be a challenger for the podium. Yet another gal with hunger for late season redemption is Yiou Wang who injured herself early the summer and had to DNS most of her races following that. Camille Herron's name could also be added to the list of runners who did not get the 2018 they hoped for but I am hoping that the reason why she did not start New York Marathon a couple of weeks ago was that she wanted to put all her focus on TNF 50 to finish her year with a win.
Brittany Peterson has had an amazing season on the Skyrunning series and unless she has over raced it on the european summer trails i am feeling confident that she will land at least on the top 5! Anna Mae Flynn is another contender for the high rankings, as is Keely Henninger. It feels a bit weird to wish for this race to get underway with everything going on but heres to hoping for the devastation of the fires to come to an end, for a competitive race to unfold and for it to inspire us (and that climate change denying air head in the white house) to look after our wild land whilst we still have some left.
IN OTHER NEWS
Someone who has been inspired to do something in order to turn things for the better is the Team GB ultra runner Dan Lawson. Together with his wife Charlotte he has started a Community Interest Company aiming to prolong the life cycle of running clothes and equipment. After finding out how much of the UK's textile that end up as landfill and being educated on the carbon footprint of clothes consumption the couple started ReRun as a way both to educate others and to try to reduce the waste we all as runners contribute to.
On their site they sell Pre-Loved clothing and Equipment as well as upcycled goods and all profits once the costs of running the shop are taken out goes back into the running community. You can shop or donate and also learn all about the numbers of our unsustainable consuming patterns over at;
Womens round up favourite Sophie Grant wrote a brilliant piece for RUN247 on the subject of low female participation in long distance trail races. You can read it by clicking the link below:
It was published just a couple of days before Lavaredo Ultra Trail released some sad pie charts stating that a mere 12 % of the runners registered to run the race in 2019 were female.
With that in mind; it is time to stop procrastinating, call your girlfriend and schedule a long run for next weekend! Remember that nothing is too steep, too far or too muddy as long as we keep on inspiring and supporting each other we will get there! And opt out of that race shirt and medal next time you sign up for a race, there's no better race bling than the glimmering of sweat on your nose!
TNF announced this morning that due to the continued and forecasted unhealthy air quality levels they've decided to cancel all their events for this weekend. They also stated that they will be donating the entire event prize to Camp Fire Evacuation Relief Fund to support the relief efforts. All food and snacks from the event will be donated to Sierra Nevada Brewing company who are currently providing meals for the first responders and fire victims.