Valary Jemeli Aiyabei wins the Frankfurt Marathon (Victah Sailer / organisers) © Copyright
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Weekend road round-up: Aiyabei sets Frankfurt Marathon record, Teferi breaks Ethiopian record in Valencia

Valary Jemeli Aiyabei smashed the 2:20 barrier at the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon on Sunday (27), winning the IAAF Gold Label road race in a course record of 2:19:10 to move to 12th on the world all-time list.

In a thrilling men’s race, Ethiopia’s Fikre Tefera broke clear from his compatriot Dawit Wolde to win by just two seconds in 2:07:08.

Just one week after Brigid Kosgei clocked a world record of 2:14:04 at the Chicago Marathon, spectators in Frankfurt wondered if another record was about to happen in the German city after Aiyabei went through 10km in 31:44, on schedule for a 2:13:54 finish.

The 28-year-old Kenyan was paced by her husband Kenneth Tarus until he had to drop out at 15km because of stomach problems, but Aiyabei continued in imposing style, going through halfway in 1:07:42.

Aiyabei’s pace slowed in the second half, but she continued to operate inside the required schedule to finish inside the course record of 2:20:36 set 12 months ago by one of her distant pursuers, Meskerem Assefa. Aiyabei eventually crossed the line in 2:19:10, improving the course record by 86 seconds.

“My aim was to break my personal best,” said Aiyabei, whose previous PB was 2:20:53. Despite her tremendously fast early pace, she hadn’t planned an attack on the world record. “Running alone isn’t easy. I had to struggle and grind it out.”

The chasing group, some way behind, comprised high class talent who were themselves on course for sub-2:20 much of the time. Ethiopia’s Megertu Kebede emerged to take second place in a PB of 2:21:10. Defending champion Meskerem Assefa finished third in 2:22:14 ahead of European 10,000m champion Lonah Salpeter of Israel, who came home in 2:23:11.

The leading group in the men’s field set off slower than intended and the prospect of a finishing time inside of 2:05 soon drifted out of reach. The 14-strong leading group went through halfway in 1:03:29 and were without pacemakers from 25km onwards. The fastest man in the field, Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Mekonnen, dropped out before 30km.

It was only at about 35km that the group started to break up. Mark Kiptoo, the Kenyan who set a world M40 best of 2:07:50 on this course last year, dropped off the pace and eventually finished sixth in 2:08:09. Four men pulled away: Kenya’s Martin Kosgey, Ethiopia’s Fikre Tefera and Dawit Wolde and Bahrain’s Aweke Yimer, the latter making his marathon debut.

The outcome was decided with fewer than 300 metres to run before they reached the red carpet in Frankfurt’s Festhalle. At that point the 21-year-old Fikre Tefera went clear and won in 2:07:08.

“I had hoped for a faster time but the pacemaker wasn’t fast enough, although the conditions were good,” said Fikre, who has a PB of 2:06:27. Wolde finished two seconds behind Fikre and two seconds ahead of Yimer in what was the closest finish ever in Frankfurt.

Organisers for the IAAF

LEADING RESULTS

Men
1 Fikre Tefera (ETH) 2:07:08
2 Dawit Wolde (ETH) 2:07:10
3 Aweke Yimer (BRN) 2:07:12
4 Martin Kosgey (KEN) 2:07:20
5 Maru Teferi (ISR) 2:08:09
6 Mark Kiptoo (KEN) 2:08:09
7 Kenneth Keter (KEN) 2:09:29
8 Daniele Meucci (ITA) 2:10:52
9 Benard Kipyego (KEN) 2:11:38
10 Derek Hawkins (GBR) 2:12:49

Women
1 Valary Aiyabei (KEN) 2:19:10
2 Megertu Kebede (ETH) 2:21:10
3 Meskerem Assefa (ETH) 2:22:11
4 Lonah Salpeter (ISR) 2:23:11
5 Caroline Rotich (KEN) 2:24:42
6 Askale Wegi (ETH) 2:25:03
7 Sylvia Kibet (KEN) 2:26:04
8 Stephanie Twell (GBR) 2:26:40
9 Hiwot Yemer (ETH) 2:26:40
10 Katharina Steinruck (GER) 2:27:26


Teferi breaks Ethiopian record to win Valencia Half Marathon

Ethiopia’s Senbere Teferi and world indoor 3000m champion Yomif Kejelcha were victorious at the Medio Maratón Valencia Trinidad Alfonso EDP on Sunday (27), winning in 1:05:32 and 59:05 respectively at the IAAF Gold Label road race.

At yesterday’s technical meeting, pre-race favourite Sifan Hassan was cautious on her chances of breaking the world record. “I don’t know how my body has recovered from the Doha efforts,” said Hassan, who won the 1500m and 10,000m at the recent World Championships.

But right from the start, perfectly paced by compatriot Roy Hoornweg and Morocco’s Yakoub Labquira, Hassan seemed determined to chase the record as she went through the opening 5km in 15:19 with only Teferi and Kenya’s Joan Chelimo for company as the women-only record holder and world half marathon champion Netsanet Gudeta ran eight seconds in arrears.

With exactly 22:15 on the clock, Hassan tripped and fell hard, losing ground on the leaders. Even though the pacemakers didn’t seem to notice her fall, the European record-holder soon re-joined the lead group.

The lead trio reached 10km in 30:43 – still inside world record pace – with Teferi and Chelimo heading the race while Hassan trailed by four seconds, likely hampered by her fall.

Although Hoornweg remained pacing Hassan throughout, Teferi and Chelimo’s leading margin increased to 16 seconds by the 15km checkpoint, which the lead duo reached in 46:16.

Chelimo began to fade shortly afterwards and Teferi went on to win by a clear margin. The 24-year-old reached the finish in 1:05:32, taking 13 seconds off the Ethiopian record she had set in Ras Al Khaimah earlier this year. Hassan, who overtook Chelimo just before 20km, finished second in 1:05:53 with Chelimo finishing third in 1:06:09.

Senbere Teferi wins the Valencia Half Marathon (Organisers)Senbere Teferi wins the Valencia Half Marathon (Organisers) © Copyright

 

“I’m really satisfied with my performance,” said Teferi, the 2015 world 5000m silver medallist. “In addition to winning the race, I managed to improve my PB so I can’t ask for more.”

On a perfect day for road running (a slight wind and 12C), the men’s race opened according to plan with the main pack passing the opening 5km in 13:55. By the 10th kilometre, the pace had dropped slightly as the leading pack went through that checkpoint in 27:56. By then, only the Ethiopian duo of Jemal Yimer and Kejelcha plus the Kenyan quartet of Benard Ngeno, Albert Kangogo, Leonard Barsoton and Geoffrey Koech remained with winning chances.

Once the pacemakers had dropped out, the leading quintet of Ngeno, Kejelcha, Yimer, Barsoton and Koech passed 15km in 42:09, indicating the course record of 58:18 would remain intact.

Once Koech lost ground, Kejelcha, Yimer, Ngeno and Barsoton fought hard for the victory in the closing stages after passing 20km in 56:15. Kejelcha unleashed a significant change of pace with about 700 metres to go and went on to cross the finish line in 59:05.

Ngeno was runner-up in a lifetime best of 59:07 while Yimer completed the podium after a thrilling sprint finish with Barsoton, both being credited in 59:09, a PB for the Kenyan.

Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF

LEADING RESULTS

Men
1 Yomif Kejelcha (ETH) 59:05
2 Benard Ngeno (KEN) 59:07
3 Jemal Yimer (ETH) 59:09
4 Leonard Barsoton (KEN) 59:09
5 Shadrack Korir (KEN) 59:40
6 Geoffrey Koech (KEN) 59:58
7 Henry Rono (KEN) 1:00:13
8 Sondre Moen (NOR) 1:00:15

Women
1 Senbere Teferi (ETH) 1:05:32
2 Sifan Hassan (NED) 1:05:53
3 Joan Chelimo (KEN) 1:06:09
4 Alia Saeed Mohammed (UAE) 1:08:01
5 Tigst Assefa (ETH) 1:08:24
6 Netsanet Gudeta Kebede (ETH) 1:08:35
7 Molly Huddle (USA) 1:09:35
8 Genet Kassahun (ETH) 1:11:09


Chepkirui clocks 2:21:26 to smash Ljubljana Marathon record

Kenyan Bornes Chepkirui smashed the race record at the 24th Volkswagen Ljubljana Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on Sunday (27).

Breaking away from Shitaye Eshete in the 40th kilometre, Chepkirui forged on alone over the waning stages to clock 2:21:26, clipping more than a minute and a half from the 2:22:58 race record set by Visiline Jepkesho last year.

In the men's race, Kelkile Gezahegn of Ethiopia lived up to his favourite's billing with a convincing victory in 2:07:29.

"I'm very happy, I didn't know I could run 2:21," said Chepkirui, 31, who also knocked nearly three minutes from her previous best of 2:24:19 set when winning the Prague Marathon last year.

A group of eight were still in the running through 25 kilometres, covered in 1:24:07, including past Boston and Toronto winner Sharon Jemutai Cherop, fastest entrant Shitaye Eshete, and sub-2:23 runners Afere Godfay and Sentayehu Lewetegn. Then the second half began to take its toll, leaving just four in fight at 35 kilometres: Chepkirui, Eshete, Ethiopian Kuftu Tahir Dadiso and debutante Diana Chemtai.

Bornes Chepkirui Kitur wins the Ljubljana Marathon (Organisers)Bornes Chepkirui Kitur wins the Ljubljana Marathon (Organisers) © Copyright

 

Dadiso was next to drop a kilometre later followed by Chemtai another kilometre after that, leaving Chepkirui and Eshete at the front until the Kenyan made her decisive move in the heart of the Slovenian capital's old town centre.

Eshete held on to clock 2:21:33, eclipsing the 2:22:39 career best that propelled her to the runner-up spot in Prague earlier this year. Chemtai finished off her first marathon in impressive style, clocking 2:22:07 to round out the podium.

Further back, Dadiso was fourth in 2:23:14 with Cherop fifth in 2:25:11 to match her position in this race last year.

Similarly, a group of eight remained in contention through 25 kilometres in the men’s contest after opening splits of 14:54 and 30:04 at five and 10 kilometres. That group was reduced to five 10 kilometres later, then to just two by the 40th kilometre with Gezahegn biding his time before making his move to drop Anthony Kiplangat Maritim. That came about a kilometre later.

“The run was very good,” Gezahegn said, despite the warm temperatures that reached 20C midway through the race that prevented him from making an assault on both his own 2:05:56 lifetime best and the 2:04:58 race record set last year by Sisay Lemme.

Maritim was second in 2:07:52 with Kenyan compatriot Vincent Rono rounding out the top three in 2:08:06. Goitom Kifle of Eritrea was next in 2:08:09, knocking more than two minutes from his previous best.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF

LEADING RESULTS

Men
1 Kelkile Gezahegn (ETH) 2:07:29
2 Anthony Kiplangat Maritim (KEN) 2:07:52
3 Vincent Rono (KEN) 2:08:06
4 Goitom Kifle (ERI) 2:08:09
5 Ezekial Omullo (KEN) 2:08:41
6 Regasa Bejiga (ETH) 2:09:38

Women
1 Bornes Chepkirui Kitur (KEN) 2:21:26
2 Shitaye Eshete (BRN) 2:21:33
3 Diana Chemtai (KEN) 2:22:07
4 Kuftu Tahir Dadiso (ETH) 2:23:14
5 Sharon Jemutai Cherop (KEN) 2:25:11
6 Sentayehu Lewetegn (ETH) 2:25:26
7 Medina Armino (ETH) 2:27:51
8 Olga Skrypak (UKR) 2:27:58
9 Fetale Dejene Tsegaye (ETH) 2:28:41
10 Afera Godfay (ETH) 2:29:18


Anbesa and Korir triumph in Venice

Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Anbesa Lencho and Kenya’s Judith Korir took the honours at the Huawei Venice Marathon, an IAAF Bronze Label road race, winning with respective PBs of 2:10:49 and 2:29:20.

Pacemakers Cornelius Kangogo and James Murithi led an eight-man leading group, which featured Andrew Ben Kimtai, Daniel Gatheru, Geoffrey Yego, Anbesa Tesfaye, Moses Mengich and Henry Kiprop. They went through 10km in 30:49, 15km in 46:07 and at the halfway mark in 1:04:57.

The front group was whittled down to six when Yegon took the lead ahead of Mengich, Gatheru, Anbesa, Kiprop, Kimtai and Mengich and they passed 30km inside the San Giuliano Park in 1:32:46. The race turned into a tactical affair when the course took athletes to Venice through the Liberty Bridge and Gatheru and Yegon were the first runners to lose ground.

Kiprop and Anbesa pulled away from Kemtai at 35km and were level until the final seven kilometres. The 22-year-old Ethiopian launched his decisive kick on the final part of the course and crossed the finish line in 2:10:49 with a six-second gap over Kiprop, who improved his PB to 2:10:55.

Tesfaye Anbesa Lencho wins the Venice Marathon (Giancarlo Colombo)Tesfaye Anbesa Lencho wins the Venice Marathon (Giancarlo Colombo) © Copyright

 

“I managed my effort throughout the race and I saved some energy for the final kilometres,” said Anbesa. “The competition was good until 40km, but the course was very tough in the final two kilometres with a lot of ups and downs, but I held on.”

A leading trio formed by Cynthya Jerop, Meka Wake Washo and Judith Korir emerged at the front during the early stages of the women’s race, going through 5km in 17:14, 10km in 34:20 and 15km 51:39.

Jerop and Korir had opened up a 22-second gap on Washo by the half-way point, reached in 1:12:45. Korir pulled away from Jerop at 30km and ran alone for the final 12km, eventually winning in 2:29:20.

“I am happy that I improved my previous PB of 2:45,” said the 23-year-old Kenyan, who won in Belgrade earlier this year. “I started pushing at 25km and I gave everything in the final part.”

Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF

LEADING RESULTS

Men
1 Lencho Anbesa Tesfaye (ETH) 2:10:49
2 Henry Kiprop (KEN) 2:10:55
3 Andrew Ben Kimtai (KEN) 2:11:58

Women
1 Judith Korir (KEN) 2:29:20
2 Cynthia Jerop (KEN) 2:31:33
3 Wake Meka Washo (ETH) 2:34:3


Kebede and Teshome set course records in Changsha

In cold and wet conditions, Ethiopia’s Abdi Kebede registered his first international marathon title with a course record, while compatriot Tigist Teshome broke the women’s record at the Changsha International Marathon, an IAAF Bronze Label road race, on Sunday (27).

The 22-year-old Kebede, who debuted over the classic distance last year, stayed in the leading pack soon after the gun and won a last-kilometre three-man battle to cross the line in 2:10:23, cutting 50 seconds from the course record set last year by Ethiopia’s Fikadu Teferi.

The top three finishers all beat Teferi’s course record. David Kiprono of Kenya clocked a PB of 2:10:26 to finish second, improving his best by 44 seconds, while Ethiopia’s Workneh Tesfa finished third in 2:10:30.

It was Kebede’s second PB this season, following his 2:11:46 clocking at the Wuxi Marathon in March.

A leading group of eight runners, including defending champion Teferi and local runner Peng Jianhua, paced the race to 15km in 46:16 and 20km in 1:01:29. Teferi gave up his title defence before 25km, while an unsuccessful attempt to break away from Paul Maina of Kenya at 33km further trimmed the leaders to five.

Maina and Morocco’s Mohamed El Talhaoui quit the title contest one after the other near the 40km water station, before Kebede launched his final charge to outrace Kiprono and Tesfa in the home stretch.

The top three athletes in the women’s race also finished inside the course record of 2:32:56 set by Ethiopia’s Bekelu Beji, who pulled out of the race at the last minute.

Teshome emerged victorious from a last 500-metre duel against Soud Kanbouchia of Morocco to finish in 2:31:43, which was more than two minutes shy of her PB of 2:29:17 set in Barcelona seven months ago.

The 32-year-old Ethiopian knelt down and kissed the ground after breaking the tape to celebrate her first title claimed in China. She has previously won races in Castellon, Medellin and RIga since her marathon debut in 2013.

The 37-year-old Kanbouchia, who also renewed her PB this year with a 2:29:48 clocking from her fifth-place finish in Wuhan, lagged five seconds behind Teshome to finish second.

Ayantu Abera of Ethiopia remained in the leading group for most of the race but dropped back near the 38km mark, and the 24-year-old went on to finish third with a clocking of 2:32:34.

Vincent Wu for the IAAF


Adugna retains Marseille Cassis 20km title

Olika Adugna of Ethiopia became the first runner in more than a decade to retain a Marseille Cassis 20km title, while Brillian Jepkorir Kipkoech prevailed for the first time in the challenging French race on Sunday (27).

A group of eight runners – Shadrack Korir Kipyegon, who entered the race at last minute, Joseph Koech, Gilbert Korir, Gerald Vincent, Dennis Rutoh, Josphat Kiprono Menjo, Adugna and his compatriot Yasin Haji – went through 5km in 15:09.

The leading pack then tackled the first slopes of the tough 327-metre climb up to the Col de la Gineste. Adugna changed gears on the steepest slopes of the Col de la Gineste, breaking the field and building a small lead from the first chasers to hit the summit 10km into the race in 32:15, 11 seconds ahead of Kipyegon and 12 seconds ahead of Haji.

Adugna covered the next five kilometres – mainly downhill – in 14:26 to reach the 15km checkpoint in 46:41, nine seconds ahead of Haji. Kipyegon started to fade and was now 23 seconds adrift the leader.

Adugna held on to capture his second win at this race in 1:01:10, 41 seconds slower than last year.

Haji was eventually forced to withdraw in the waning stages. Menjo, who was fourth at 10km, finished strongly to place second in 1:01:50 as Korir Kipyegon rounded the podium in 1:02:13.

In the women’s race, a trio of Kenyans –Brillian Jepkorir Kipkoech, Lucy Macharia and Lydia Nialaka Simiyu – separated themselves from the gun and hit 5km in 16:49, 37 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.

As expected, pre-race favourite Jepkorir ratcheted up the pace in the Col de la Gineste and reached the summit and the 10km mark in 35:52, almost one minute ahead of Simiyu and 1:04 ahead of Macharia. The gap continued to grow over the next kilometres.

Jepkorir Kipkoech, who improved her half marathon PB to 1:07:12 one month ago, didn’t fade in the closing stages to seal the win in 1:07:54, 2:23 ahead of Simiyu and 2:42 ahead of Macharia.

Quentin Guillon for the IAAF