Chuncheon, South Korea – A large field of 19,512 marathon runners and 3514 participants in the 10km from 29 countries will toe the start line of the 65th Chosunilbo Chuncheon International Marathon this Sunday (23).
Beautiful sunny weather is expected with 13-15C at marathon start at 9 am, and going up to 18C in the afternoon. The organizers attracted a large field of 120 elite men, including 25 from other countries, and a 26 all domestic elite women’s line-up.
Chosunilbo Chuncheon International Marathon is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race.
The start and finish line of the marathon loop course was moved last year to the wide 8-lane Hoban street going past Gongjucheon Park to accommodate the finish line for thousands of mass runners and to make the last stretch of the course more flat. The immediate result was that the 13-year-old race record was broken by Kenya’s Benjamin Kiptoo Kolum - 2:07:54 - however the women’s record remains unbeaten since 1997 and belongs to Korean runner Eunju Kwon - 2:26:12.
The course runs past the large beautiful Lake Uiam on one side and scenic autumn colored woods covering mountains on the other side.
The elite field features 12 Kenyan runners, headed by 30-year old Hillary Kipchichir Kimaiyo who has a personal best of 2:08:17 from winning the 2011 Torreon Marathon. He finished fourth in 2:10:21 at the 2010 Ottawa Marathon and ran 1:01:26 when winning the 2010 Tijuana Half Marathon. Challenging him will be his compatriot Leonard Muchery Maina, 33, who set his PB and season’s best when finishing third in the Daegu Marathon in April 2011 with 2:08:53. He also ran 2:09:37 in the 2009 Tiberias Marathon and 2:11:08 in the 2010 Dubai Marathon. With a lifetime best faster than both these men is Elias Kemboi Chelimo, 27, who ran 2:07:04 for third place in Frankfurt in 2010 and who was sixth at the Daegu Marathon in April of this year with 2:09:53.
Others to look out for from Kenya are 25-year-old Stanley Kipleting Biwott, 25, who has a half marathon PB of 1:00:23 and a marathon best of 2:09:41, and marathon debutant Joel Kimboi Kimurer, 23, set his personal and season’s best 1:01:23 in Porto, while Isaak Kimaiyo Kemboy, 32, a half marathon specialist (PB 1:02:02 Campeche 2010) has got a seasonal best of 1:02:49.
Aside the Kenyans, Mongolia’s Ser-Od Bat-Ochir, 30, (PB and seasonal best 2:11:35), Uganda’s Richard Kiprotich Soibei, 25, (PB and seasonal bests 2:11:43); Ethiopia’s Samuel Woldeamanuel, 30, (PB 2:08:45) who was third in the 2010 Barcelona Marathon, and has a season’s best 2:10:48 thanks to his sixth place finish in Prague, Ukrainian Mykola Antonenko, 39 (PB 2:10:54), and Eritrea’s Yared Asmerom, 31, (PB 2:08:34), are others in the frame for success.
The Korean challenge is strong and is led by reigning Asian Games champion 30-year old Youngjun Ji who set a PB of 2:08:30 when winning the 2009 Daegu Marathon, and ran 2:09:31 for second there again in 2010. Also of merit is 21-year old Jinhuyeok Jeong who led home Korea’s challenge at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu with a 23rd place finish in 2:17:04, and he has a personal and seasonal best 2:09:28 set in the Seoul Int’l Marathon. They are joined by Junhyeon Hwang, 24, (PB 2:10:43).
The pack will be led by Kenyan pacemakers: Cosmers Kibet Kemboy, 24 (PB in 2010 1:01:31), Ben Kiplimo Mutai, 29, PB 1:02:16 and Geoffrey Kipyego, 24.
The women’s field is an entirely domestic line-up with 27-year old Sunyoung Lee who has a PB of 2:27:48 set at 2009 Seoul International Marathon, and season’s best 2:32:57 set in the same marathon, and 24-year old Ho Sun Park with PB 2:32:21 shown in 2009 Seoul International Marathon, the ones likely to feature.
Yelena Kurdyumova and Sergey Porada for the IAAF