2:07:03 course record for Stanley Biwott in Chuncheon (© Chuncheon organisers)
In a fast and close race, Kenyan Stanley Biwott won the Chosunilbo Chuncheon International Marathon on Sunday (23), clocking a course record 2:07:03. Eritrea’s Yared Asmeron was second in 2:07:27, also under the previous course record at this IAAF Silver Label Road Race.
More than 19,000 runners from 29 countries took off from the start line of the race’s 65th Edition at 9 a.m. on a cold, humid and misty morning and followed a course that circled scenic neighborhoods, a large lake and autumn-colored woods. The weather remained cold and humid throughout the race, with the thermometer reaching 11 C by 11 a.m.
For the men’s race, organisers attracted an elite field from Kenya, Ethiopia, Morocco, Tanzania, Eritrea, Mongolia, Ukraine and Uganda, with Biwott taking down the 2:07:54 course record set a year ago by compatriot Benjamin Kiptoo. The women’s race, with a domestic elite field only, was won by Jung Hee Oh in 2:41:23, well off the course record of 2:26:12 set by Korean Eunju Kwon in 1997.
Men's Race –
Biwott, 25, took charge from the start and led a pack of 16 through the first five kilometres in 15:13. Among the leaders were his fellow-countrymen Nelson Kirwa Rotich, 30 (PB 2:10:13, Chuncheon 2009); Jonathan Kosgei Kipkorir, 28 (PB 2:07:31, 2009 Paris Marathon), Anderson Kiprono Chichir, 21 (PB 2:12:01, 2010 Chuncheon); and two pacemakers Joel Kimboi Kimurer and Ben Kiplimo Mutai. Eritrean Asmerom (PB 2:08:34, 2008 Otsu Marathon), Ethiopian Samuel Woldeamanuel, 30, (PB 2:08:45, 2010 Barcelona Marathon), and Moroccan Ridouane Harroufe, 30 (PB 2:10:14 in 2008), were also among the group.
By the 10Km (30:16) marker the pace increased with Koreans Junhyeon Hwang and Kun Tae Yuk dropping back.
The pack continued accelerating and passed the 15Km mark in 45:16, thinning to a dozen, with Ugandan Richard Kiprotich Soibei, 25, (PB 2:11:43, 2010 Zhengzhou Marathon) now lagging some 50 metres behind.
By the 20th kilometre (1:00:23) the pace slowed somewhat, with Kenyans Hillary Kipchichir Kimaiyo (PB 2:08:17 in 2011) and Elias Kemboi Chelimo, 27, (PB 2:07:04, 2010 Frankfurt), dropping back. Five kilometres later Woldeamanuel fell off the pace, leaving nine at the front.
Biwott, Rotich, Kipkorir, Chirchir, Kimurer and Asmerom remained at the front but continued slowing their pace, reaching 30Km in 1:31:03.
Biwott made a bold surge over the next 5Km stretch, covering it in 14:44. Asmerom stayed with him but with Rotich and Kipkorir falling off the pace and Chirchir dropping out, the race became a two-man affair.
But by 40Km (2:00:43), Biwott was alone, carving out a 14-second lead over Asmerom with his eyes now firmly on the course record. Biwott maintained his lead through the finish, knocking a hefty bit from his previous 2:09:41 best with his 2:07:03 performance. He collected $US 50,000 for the victory and another $30,000 for the course record.
Asmerom clocked 2:07:27 in second and took home $20,000.
In the women’s race, Oh controlled the contest from the 25th kilometre to win in 2:41:23 well ahead of runner-up Sun-Jung Kim (2:43:57).
More than 3500 runners took part in a 10Km race as well.
Yelena Kurdyumova and Sergey Porada for the IAAF
1. Stanley Kipleting Biwott, KEN 2:07:03
2. Yared Asmerom, ERI 2:07:27
3. Nelson Kirwa Rotich, KEN 2:10:46
4. Jonathan Kosgey Kipkorir, KEN 2:11:14
5. Richard Kiprotich Soibei, UGA 2:13:22
6. Samuel Voldeamanuel, ETH 2:13:45
1. Jung Hee Oh, KOR 2:41:23
2. Sun-Jung Kim, KOR 2:43:57
3. Se-Jung Lee, KOR 2:51:17