ROAD NEWS: Women's Running Roundup w/ending 6/5/2019

No Boston, no London…waaaaah! What’s a marathon lover to do? It’s ok – it’s not all over yet. We’ve still got fast times in Europe and the US and a few other bits and bobs too. I wrote this roundup two days ago and then manage to lose it all so here we go again….


The case of the disappearing runner…

From the startlist an the IAAF writeup it seems that defending champion Bornes Jepkirui Kitur was running this race, but she doesn’t feature past half way or in the results. So I guess she dropped out but it would be nice to know!

With a fast field, perfect conditions and a pack of pacemakers this race looked good on paper and it lived up to its promise. Early on, Kitur, Eshete Shitaye (BHN), Lucy Cheruiyot (KEN), Yalew Genet (ETH) and Kellyn Taylor (US) moved away at the front with the pacemakers.  As a park-run point of reference, they went through 5k in 16:42. Half way in, Salpeter (ISR) was leading by a couple of seconds and then dropped the hammer soon after. By 30k she had a lead of over a minute and ran second half negative split (1:09:33 – the record for fastest second half was set last week in London with 1:06:42) finishing in 2:19:46 (course record was of 2:21:57).


Chemtai (@lonah_chemtai) only started running marathons in 2014 and is perhaps most famous for the time when she won gold in the 10000m at the European Championships and then went on to race the 5000m, but thought the race finished a lap sooner than it did (video here). Hopefully this kind of performance will stop people like me bringing that up all the time! Family life seems to be a big part of Lonah’s running life. She is coached by her husband and in 2016 competed in the  Olympic marathon, seeming to go well but pulled out after 30k citing a shoulder injury caused by the fact she was still breastfeeding her 20month old baby. In this race, little Roy was a help rather than a hindrance as she got a high five at 40k on her way to the win.


The Hoka NAZ elite team had a good weekend. Kellyn Taylor came 4th with a strong race, especially given what she says on her Instagram:

“….this was the worst I've felt in all of my 7 marathons (excluding Boston w hypothermia). …4 weeks ago I was taking a round of meds for pneumonia. Honestly nothing has went well workout wise since then. Yesterday was about having a blind faith in myself and the training we had done.”

Taylor, if you don’t already know, is pretty a pretty cool lady who has also trained to be a firefighter while being a pro-athlete. She plans to take it up as a career when running is over. She had a great year last year winning Grandma's Marathon in a course record of 2:24:39, a 4minute PB and making her 7th fastest in US Marathon history at that time but had to pull out of Boston with hypothermia … more on that later as a nice link further down the page!

In 7th place, Catherine Bertone is another legend. The 46 year old Italian doctor, who specialises in infectious diseases,  holds the W45 World Record from running 2:28:34, Berlin in 2017. She was also part of the silver medal winning Italian team at the European Marathon Champs in Berlin last year and placed 8th there. I love that her and Sinead Diver are showing that times can keep coming down in your fourties.

Catherine Bertone - look at that joy

Catherine Bertone - look at that joy

Finally, Leslie Sexton of Canada should be pleased as she ran a time which makes her the 13th all-time Canadian woman marathoner.

1 Lonah Chemtai Salpeter (ISR) 2:19:46
2 Shitaye Eshete (BRN) 2:22:39
3 Genet Yalew (ETH) 2:24:34
4 Kellyn Taylor (USA) 2:26:27
5 Lucy Cheruiyot (KEN) 2:27:16
6 Hellen Jepkurgat (KEN) 2:29:10
7 Catherine Bertone (ITA) 2:31:07
8 Leslie Sexton (CAN) 2:31:51
9 Elisa Stefani (ITA) 2:33:36
10 Diane Nukuri (BDI) 2:33:38



Despite hitting the headlines for the course being 0.3 miles too long, Kenyan Caroline Jepchirchir clearly wasn’t bothered by the extra metres, setting a course record and retaining her title in the process.

 1. Caroline Jepchirchir 2:36:38

2. Shewaye Wolde Meskel 2.37.34

3. Vira Ovcharuk in a time of 2.38.59


In a lovely little moment of connect-the –dots, I was reading how, after her DNF at Boston last year Kellyn Taylor had initially wanted to jump into the USATF Half Marathon Championship race in order to salvage something. Her coach, Ben Rosario, counselled her to take some time out and mentally regroup rather than rushing into things. This year, Kellyn had a good result and Prague and her teammate Steph Bruce went and won the USATF Half Marathon Championships.  With Sarah Hall, Emma Bates and Taylor in the start list it was looking like a tasty race from the beginning and I can only apologise for not previewing this last week.  From 5 miles in it was those three ladies leading the pack, and after 10 Emma Bates started to drift off the back a little (side note - she just won a half marathon last week and gave the $3000 prize money straight back to the Brave Like Gabe cancer charity /) . According to the RW write up it was within the last 4 miles when Bruce broke free od the to-and-fro with Hall to finish in a 9min PB.  So, Bruce has every right to be delighted, taking her second  National championship title. Not only that but I wish I had watched it live because Steph spoke to USATF.TV afterwards and explained:

“Running with Sara [Hall] and Emma [Bates] today, we made it like a boxing match,” Bruce told USATF.TV. “Everyone took turns at the lead and we were just pushing each other, and that’s how fast times and good results come out, when you have people pushing each other all the way to the line.”

 Sara Hall can be pleased too to a lesser extent – she was disappointed with a 15th place and one of her slowest marathons in Boston, but she’s got back into it fast!

1.       Stephanie Bruce 01:10:44

2.       Sara Hall 01:11:04

3.       Emma Bates 01:11:13

4.       Shannon Malone 01:11:58

5.       Katy Jermann 01:12:1


1.       Bizuwork Getahun Kasaye 02:36:29

2.       Bose Gemeda Assefa 02:39:14

3.       Meseret Ali Basa  02:40:49

4.       Christina Murphy 02:46:07

5.       Sarah Patrick 02:47:59



I’m going to please long-distance get-out on the Caster Semenya case. There’s plenty of discussion on the internet about it for you to read and she’s a track athlete so I’ll leave it to others to cover.


That said, I’m about to talk about a track event and a 10,000m one at that. The excellent Night of 10,000m PBS event which is held at Highgate Harrier’s track in London each year is a brilliant example of how to make athletics appealing to even those who don’t care about it (see this). BUT the race entry criteria this year is a bit hmm-making. The qualifying time has just been widened again to men sub 33mins / women sub 37mins. As Kate Carter of The Monday Debrief pointed out to me this isn’t an equal playing field. In contrast to the understandable but annoyingly soft women’s times for London Marathon qualification, this makes it MUCH harder for women to compete. If we take the 2018 ranking (for completeness), 44 women would be eligible and 185 men. That’s more than four times as many men able to qualify. Come on Highgate. Sort it out! Everything else about your event is groundbreaking and brilliant, let’s get this made good.