It’s been a pretty quiet week in the long distance road running when it comes to really big events. I suppose it’s because there are only 19 days to Boston Marathon and 32 to London. There are plenty of smaller races doing the rounds at the moment though and some of them are brilliant, so if you know of anything you want me to cover, just shout. On that note, I’m going to start this week’s roundup by mentioning the race that most intrigues me instead of the biggest race. That’s the Dark Skies Kielder 26.5. Now, technically it’s mostly on trail and it just nudges into ultra territory so I better leave it to my Trail-buddy to cover it properly, but the idea of running around under starlit skies in a Gold Standard Dark Skies area of natural beauty in Northumberland, UK is enbough to turn even this hardened tarmac chewer over to the muddy side. As it happens, Susan Clapham won it in 03:39:53.
Anyway, back to firmer ground and daylight races..The only IAAF label race this weekend was
China Daily reports that “740 out of the 20,000 full marathon participants finished within three hours, beating the previous national record of 720 held by the 2018 Shanghai Marathon”. I’d love to know what sort of ratio is standard, but that seems like a a pretty high proportion of fast finishers to me. The race came down to the final few kilometres with Bekulu Beji (only 19!!) trying to hang onto Getiso but just not quite making it. Still, both ladies ran PBs of over 4 minutes. The course has quite a few bridges so it’s not super easy, but the weather conditions were close to perfect.
Tsehay Gebre Getiso ETH 2:28:03 (course record previously 2:29:17 -Ayelu Abebe Hordofa of ETH 2017)
Beji BEKELU ETH 2:28:18
Motu MEGERSA ETH 2:30:42
STRAMALINO HALF MARATHON, MILAN
This one caught my eye because the winner, Priscah Jeptoo ran 1:08:26 in 22c on her first race back from two years out on maternity leave. I was running a marathon in similar conditions this weekend, just under a year after the small boy arrived and I can assure you I am not going to be running that sort of pace any time soon! Mother-boring stuff aside though, whatever the reason you’re out for two year, it’s amazing to come back and win like that just because that race-brain hasn’t been used for so long and it really does make a difference… well it dose to me, but maybe that’s why I’m not winning any international half marathons! Priscah was the runner up in the London 2012 Olympic Marathon and is known for her interesting running style!
Priscah Jeptoo KEN 01:08:27
Meseret Dinke Meleka ETH 01:10:39
Lucy Wambui Murigi KEN 01:11:45
This one gets included because it was where I was running this weekend and because it’s Cyprus’ largest sporting event.
This year’s winner was Kenyan Ruth Matebo Chemisto in 2:43:28. I suspect it was a rather comfortable victory given that her PB 2:32:15. Elena Tostykh on the other hand smashed her PB by 11minutes and had clearly given it everything . In 6th place local lady Stella Christoforou, who now lives in Nashville Tenessee and has previously specialised in the 800m, mile and steeple chase, had a tough day in the heat. But while may not have had a career defining day as far as time was concerned, she can be pretty chuffed as she became national champion. She was origionally self-coached and has only recently started marathoning, so I’ll be interested to watch how things pan out for her.
1. Ruth Matebo Chemisto Kenya 2:43:31
2. Hellen Kimutai Jepkosgei Kenya 2:46:44
3. Elena Tolstykh Russia 2:48:02
Pan Cypriot championship winner:
6. Stella Christoforou Cyprus +19: 59
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Μαραθώνιος, 42.1 χιλιόμετρα πόνου, 42.1 χιλιόμετρα ευφορίας και σεβασμου για το άθλημα. Γιατί το αγαπώ; Για την ευκαιρία που μου δίνει να πιστεύω ακόμα στα όνειρα. Για εκείνες τις στιγμές στην αφετηρία όπου βρίσκω τον εαυτό μου περιτριγυρισμένο από άγνωστα μεν άτομα που ταυτόχρονα ξέρω ότι γνωριζόμαστε καλύτερα και από οικογένεια. Επειδή ξέρουμε ότι για να φτάσουμε σε αυτή την εκκίνηση έχουμε διασχίσει το δικό μας ταξίδι όπου τώρα αμειβόμαστε με τον καλύτερο τρόπο για μας. Για εκείνες τις στιγμές μέσα στον αγώνα που το κορμί θέλει να εγκαταλείψει αλλά το μυαλό γνωρίζει ότι μπορεί. Για τον απλό λόγο ότι ο μαραθώνιος είναι για μένα ο απόλυτος τρόπος ταπείνωσης και ψυχικού σθένους. Κυριακή 24 Μαρτίου 2019, είπα στον εαυτό μου ότι ότι και συμβεί στον αγώνα σημασία έχει για μένα ότι γνωρίζω προσωπικά ότι τους τελευταιους μηνες έχω δώσει τον καλύτερο μου εαυτό. Γιατι για μένα ο αγωνας κερδίζετε όταν δεν κοιτάζει κανενας, εκείνα τα πρωινά και εκείνα τα αργά απογεύματα μετά την δουλειά, εκεινες τις μερες που το κορμί δεν θέλει αλλα το μυαλό δεν επιτρέπει να εγκαταλείψει. Όπως λέει και ο Γιώργος Λουκαΐδης ο αγώνας χθες ήταν απλά ένα λιθαράκι στην μεγάλη περίπετεια που έχω ξεκινήσει! Τα καλύτερα έρχονται! 😊 Marathon. 26.2miles of pain, 26.2 miles of absolute joy and respect for the sport. Why do I love it? For all the reasons it gives me to still believe in dreaming big. For all those moments on the start line where I find myself surrounded by strangers who yet know me and understand me better than my family. Because they know what it takes to make it to that start line. For all those moments throughout the race when the fight between the mind and the body is constant. For the simple reason that the marathon race for me is the ultimate humbling experience. Yesterday March 24th, I told myself that no matter what happens throughout the race what matters to me is that I know for the past months I have shown up and gave my best self into those training sessions. Because for me the race is won when no one is watching. And just what George Loucaides said, yesterday was just another stepping stone onto that big adventure I began! The best is yet to come!
IN OTHER NEWS
Current GB- PB sensation Hayley Carruthers showed again this weekend how well her training is going ahead of London Marathon. She ran the fastest long-leg of the SEAA Road relays, a highly competitive race which finishes off the winter season of club running in the UK.
Deena Kastor broke the masters world record in the 8k for age group 45-49, reports Runners World.
The World Cross Country Championships take place in Aarhus, Denmark. It includes a section where you run over a grass roof on a museum!
Warsaw Half Marathon (IAAF Bronze)
Chonqing Marathon (IAAF Gold)