Abderrahim Goumri of Morocco takes the win in Seoul in 2:09:11 (Organisers) © Copyright
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Goumri and Guta take victories in Seoul

Running in cool conditions, Moroccan Goumri and Robe Guta of Ethiopia took the respective victories at the 82nd Seoul International Marathon on Sunday (20) morning.

Both 2010 winners were running, but this time they didn’t come even close to defending the titles from last year’s race. The 2011 edition of this IAAF Gold Label Road Race had an extremely deep men’s field which resulted in a huge group of runners together in early parts of the race.

Goumri outlasts surprising Jeong - Men’s race

10Km was reached in a relatively fast 30:04 and last year’s winner Sylvester Teimet of Kenya dropped off the pace soon after this. The third 5km was a bit slower in 15:27, but that dropped a lot of athletes from the main group. The pace was steady after this for the next 15km with 15:15, 15:10 and 15:16 splits. 20Km was reached in 1:00:46 and with the 25km split at 1:15:56 only seven athletes were left in the main group: Kenyans Paul Kirui, Solomon Bushendich and David Kisang were accompanied by Ethiopians Dereje Abera and Wegayehu Girma with Moroccan Abderrahim Goumri and home runner Jeong Jin Hyeong. 30Km was reached in 1:31:12 with Kisang dropped 30 seconds behind while Kirui and Bushendich did not reach 35Km at all with the next 5km being the most decisive in the race. Korean surprise name Jeong, just 20 years old, took the lead at 35Km in 1:46:44 with Goumri only one second behind. All the others were quickly moving backwards with the duo already in a 50-second lead.

Seasoned Moroccan Goumri then made his move during the next 5km and was leading by 13 seconds at 40Km with Jeong in a clear second place. Russian Oleg Kulkov, who had been moving upwards the whole race, was third at this stage 50 seconds behind the Korean with the fourth place athlete already more than two minutes behind the Russian.

Goumri held his ground easily winning his first Marathon in Korea in 2:09:11. Jeong Jin-Hyeong recorded his first sub-2:10 run in only his fifth career Marathon lowering his previous best by a minute and 31 seconds to 2:09:28. The 33-year-old Kulkov equaled his 2009 personal best from Zürich in 2:10:13 for third place while Ethiopian Wegayehu Girma was fourth in 2:13:19 with countryman Dereje Abera fifth in 2:14:18.

Second victory for Guta - Women’s race

The pace in the women’s Marathon was not as steady as in the men’s. After a slowish 17:32 first 5Km the next 5Km was fast in 16:29 and of course resulted in just a few runners remaining in the main group just 10Km into the race. Four Ethiopians and Chinese favourite Wei Yanan reached 10km in 34:01. Robe Guta, Asnakech Mengistu, last year’s winner Amane Gobena and Zehara Kedir were running with the Chinese, but the next 5Km saw defending champion Gobena and Kedir drop more than a minute behind. 20Km split was still a good 1:08:16, but then the leading trio consumed 17:50 for the next 5Km to pass 30Km in 1:43:32 with all three, Wei, Guta and Mengistu still in the contention for the win.

Mengistu was the next to drop from the top as she lost almost two minutes in comparison to Wei and Guta between 30-35Km. Guta finally decided the race in the last two kilometres sprinting away to a 2:26:51 win, her second here after a victory in 2009.

Two time winner Wei Yanan now took her second runner-up finish in this Marathon clocking 2:27:13, her fastest since 2008. Korea’s Chung Yun-Hee was third in 2:32:25 and Gladys Tejeda set a 2:32:32 national record for Peru in fourth.

2010 winner Amane Gobena was only 10th this time in 2:37:31 and Romanian Lidia Simon did not finish.

Mirko Jalava for the IAAF

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