Taunted by what seemed to be massive results in Florence, all was not as it seemed but interesting nonetheless. On a different note, while we’re all about women’s running here, I was still sad to read that Callum Hawkins has had to pull out of Fukuoka Marathon due to a hamstring niggle. It’s always great to see him race and would have been nice to know that everything was back on track after the Gold Coast debacle.
When I logged on to check the Florence marathon results on Sunday afternoon after hearing about the torrential rain they’d suffered, I was blown away and quite excited about an interesting write-up. At that point it looked like the top 17 were all under 2:53. Then I went back to check the times today and it turns out they’d mixed up loads of gents with the women’s results and actually that time would have got you 8th place which was about the same as previous year. Still, it was an exciting result nonetheless with the course record being broken by Kenyan turned Israeli runner Lonah Chemtai Sampeter who beat the 2002 course record of 2:28:15 set by Slovenian Helena Javornik by nearly 5 minutes. I’m not sure if they’ve had pacers in the past - I don’t recall seeing any when I ran the race in 2016 but then I wouldn’t have been that far forward. However, the pre-race write up by the organisers makes quite a big thing of the plan to beat the course record, so I suspect that this was part of a concerted effort to raise the profile of the race.
Lonah Chemtai Sampeter is probably best know recently for stopping one lap too early in the 5000m race at the European Athletics Championships in Berlin, where she thought she’d got silver but actually came 4th and then was disqualified for running inside the cone at the start of the race (though she got gold in the 10000m) You can watch the video of that awkard moment here. Despite what appears to have been a rather soft marathon PB of 2:40, Sampeter was very clear beforehand about her intentions to go after the record. You can;t go throwing claims like that around unless you’re confident and the fact that she had been training hard in Iten and recently ran 1:7:55 half marathon in Lisbon in Oct made her a pretty clear favourite. Still, 10th overall and a 6 min lead on 2nd place is pretty impressive.
Lonah Sampeter ISR 2:23:17 (PB 2:40:16, 2016)
Caroline Chepkwony KEN 2:30:46 (PB 2:27:27, 2013)
Clementine Mukandanga RWA 2:30:59 (debut marathon)
Sadly for my fellow brits, we only managed a 19th place in 3:10 (well done though Anna Charters) compared to 3 in the top 10 last year with Elinor Kirk running 2:36:21.
Fastest local runner was Maurizia Cunico who couldn’t better her 2:47 time from Venice in 2016 but finished a respectable 8th place.
Cajsa brings you all the news from the trails: