Tag Archives: world championships

Stephen Kiprotich unquestionable champion

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Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich has cemented his status in the marathon history elite and cemented his legacy, backing up his Olympic gold medal from London last year and overcoming a strong Ethiopian contingent to win the 2013 Marathon World Championship in Moscow.

Kiprotich ran out the race in 2:09:51, relatively pedestrian compared to the times seem at the World Marathon Majors, however while Kiprotich may never be the fastest marathoner in the world, in being only the second marathon runner to complete the Olympic/World Championship double, he has certainly earned the credentials as the premier tactical and championship racer.

The Ugandan was followed home by a trio of Ethiopians, Lelisa Desisa in 2:10:12, Tadese Tola in 2:10:23 and London Marathon winner Tsegay Kebede in 2:10:47.

Conditions were much more pleasant for the men than the women’s field faced a week ago, but again it was the 40 kilometre mark that proved the turning point of the race, first with Kiprotich and Desisa dropping Tola, and then Kiprotich found an extra gear to kick clear. He entered Luzhniki Stadium 100 metres ahead of Desisa and was never challenged.

On paper Kiprotich never seemed a real threat to repeat his Olympic success, having only the 14th fastest personal best out of the starters, his a full three minutes slower than most of the Ethiopians. As the Olympic and World Championships prove though, racing on a national team, without pace-setters and chasing a medal is a very different type of run to a major city marathon. With an Olympic Gold and World Champion title around his neck, Kiprotich is the current generation’s unquestionable big race champion.

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Strides: 15 August

stridesWe regularly share news from the marathon world on the Marathon Intervals twitter stream; Strides is our weekly summary of those shares:

  • Running Times say that Moscow is magic and becoming memorable ow.ly/nRVnP
  • Australia’s Jess Trengove now eying Glasgow Commonwealth Games after 11th place at World Championshipsow.ly/nRVdN
  • South Africa’s Lusapho April pulls out of Men’s World Championship marathonow.ly/nLvg8
  • Japanese women had varied expectations ahead of Women’s Championship Marathonow.ly/nLvBh
  • US veteran Kastor hoped to crack top 5 at World Championships  ow.ly/nJDXJ
  • AFP profiled Japanese folk hero Yuki Kawauchi: Japan’s unsponsored marathon man eyes World title ow.ly/nJDLA
  • The NYRR VP Peter Ciaccia says that 2013 ING NYC Marathon will have tighter security, 49,000 entrants, backup plan ow.ly/nFb3r
  • And, for good measure, although we don’t usually enjoy ‘marathon’ being used for races less than 26.2 miles – but the nappy marathon is very amusing! ow.ly/nFbmH

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Analysis of Women’s World Championship

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So Edna Kiplagat made history, retained her title, restored some Kenyan dominance and won the 2013 Women’s World Championship. But what were the other stories of the race?

Of 72 listed starters, 70 toed the line. The controversial 2pm local time start of the race, in the heat of the day with temperatures of 27C/81F as the gun went off, was always going to be factor and it undoubtedly was – only 46 of the 70 (65%) crossed the finished line. Admittedly this is not uncommon amongst professionals, who will often drop out and save themselves for another day but it is still worth noting.

Best performing country?

One thing that did become clear from this race was that women’s marathoning truly is a global sport and less prone to the African dominance seen in men’s racing.  There were only two countries to have two runners in the top 10; Japan in third and fourth, and Italy in second and sixth. The top 20 placegetters had representatives from 13 countries with the most dominant country in that list been North Korea, with three. To put that in perspective, there were more finishers from North Korea in the top 20 than from all of Africa!

American vet hangs up boots with top 10 finish

40 year old American Deena Kastor was thrilled with a top 10 finish (9th) in what she announced was her last competitive, high level marathon, admitting it was hard work saying “It was a torture, it was a hard race out there. I felt like I was trying to get those negative thoughts out, so it was a lot of mental work out there.”

Team GB has solid day

Great Britain’s Susan Partridge was one who used the heat to her advantage, saying “I started off and I was way back and for a minute I did wonder if I had been a little bit too cautious. It was just getting my rhythm going and I didn’t really think about the times or even paying attention to the kilometre markers. It was all about looking at the next person in front of me and trying to get past them and it was a proper race in that sense.” She went through halfway in 22nd but finished strong to cross the line in ninth. Compatriot Sonia Samuels finished in 16th.

Comments from the medalists:

Edna Kiplagat was thrilled with her result:

“I’m delighted I was able to defend my title successfully. I got confident I was going to win at the 40km mark when I upped my pace. I felt a bit tired at the start – my body did not react immediately. I just wanted to relax, prepare my body so I could pick up gradually.””

Surprise second place getter, Italian Valerio Straneo said:

“I’m feeling in a dream now! I knew [that Edna would win]…She is too strong. At 40km I had to let Edna go because I felt pain in the muscles of my legs. But I’m really comfortable with heat and so I was happy that today was warm. It was a dream and a surprise. Maybe tomorrow I will realize what I did!”

Bronze medalist, Japan’s Kayako Fukushi, also expressed surprise at her result:

“I didn’t realize I won the bronze until I entered the stadium! I thought somebody was behind me.”

Full results

The full results can be viewed at the IAAF website.

 

 

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Edna Kiplagat becomes first woman to defend World Championship

Kenya's Edna Kiplagat celebrates after winning the 2013 World Championship

Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat celebrates after winning the 2013 World Championship

Despite a far from ideal preparation and travel to Moscow, Kenya has claimed some redemption from last years Olympics, with defending champion Edna Kiplagat becoming the first woman to retain her title.

On a hot and humid day, Kiplagat crossed the line in 2:25:44, kicking clear for the win at the 40km mark from Italy’s Valerio Straneo. Straneo had set the pace all day but couldn’t overcome Kiplagat’s spurt and settled for second 10 seconds later. It was the best performance by an Italian in a World Championship marathon. Japan’s Kayoko Fukushi claimed third in 2:27:44.

The highly fancied Ethiopian team failed dismally, with no runners in the top 10.

Edna Kiplaga breaks the tape to defend her world championship

Edna Kiplaga breaks the tape to defend her world championship

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If the World Championship was run to PB times…

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In a completely hypothetical and largely pointless exercise, Marathon Intervals compiled the start list of the 2013 Men’s Marathon World Championship to be held in Moscow on August 17. Now while we know there is never going to be a race where everyone runs a PB, not to mention the impact that race tactics have on a major race such as the World Championships, we thought it would be fun to see where everyone would finish on their recorded best time. The results are about as predictable as you would.

Ethiopian runners hold the five fastest times by personal best, led by 2013 Virgin London Marathon winner Tsegay Kebede (2:04:38). The first non-Ethiopian runner is Kenya’s Bernard Koech in 2:04:53. Of the top 12 runners, only three countries are represented; Ethiopia (6), Kenya (5) and Morocco with Jaouad Gharib in 2:05:27.

2012 Olympic gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich slots into 14th fastest with his 2:07:20. Eritrea has three runners in the top 20 while Japan has all five of their representatives in the top 25.

The field consists of six runners who have gone under 2:05, a further three under 2:06, four under 2:07 and six runners who have run 2:08 flat or under. The slowest runner in the field by PB is Guatemala’s Jermias Saloj who has a best time of 2:16:56.

Of the 77 runners toeing the line at this stage, only 29 have gone under the 2:10. If you take out the strong Ethiopian contingent there is definitely a noticeable absence of some of the worlds best.

The full list of runners sorted by their personal records can be downloaded here

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IAAF World Championships preview

moscowlogoWe’re one week out from the opening of the 2013 IAAF World Championships and the eyes of the athletics world are set to descend upon Moscow.

It’s a big ask to follow up the success and highlights of the 2012 London Olympics, but someone has to do it and Moscow outbid Barcelona and Brisbane for the opportunity. So what does it have in st ore from a marathon perspective? Well let’s just say the vibe so far isn’t exactly great…

We’ll begin with one thing we know – the course. The route will start and finish in the centrepiece of the championships, the Luzhniki Stadium, with the first 600m and final 300m run on the track at the stadium. The distance in between is run through central Moscow, along the banks of the Moskva River. It is essentially four laps from Luzhniki Stadium up to the Kremlin and back, although the first lap is shorter with a turn at 6.25km while the other three laps are 10km each (5km each way). A course map is pictured below.

The 2013 World Championship marathon course.

The 2013 World Championship marathon course.

While that may sound picturesque, the course has received some criticism with former Kenyan Olympian Kipchoge Keino describing the course to marathon commentator Toni Reavis as ‘a glorified time trial’. Keino goes on to say  a ‘5K up and down the Moscow River six times, and this is the best you can do for the sport?   There are no real hills or turns to use to try to escape the competition.  They just compress 42 kilometers into a four mile area so they can pack the crowds and make them look big’.

The timing of the event has also raised eyebrows, with the women’s marathon starting at 2pm local time and the men’s event at 3.30pm. The current long range forecast has the temperature for the two races sitting at 31C/88F and 30C/86F. By starting at this time it is likely the races will be at the hottest parts of the day. This is certainly going to take a toll on the runners. It has been speculated that the reason for the time is to satisfy the Japanese TV rights holders whose sole interest in the event is the two marathon races.

In terms of actual athletes who are running, there are a number of big names missing in both events. Although we are still awaiting a complete list of entrants for the two events, the short priced men’s favourite in my eyes would have to be a battle out of Olympic gold medalist Stephen Kiprotich and London 2013 winner, Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Kebede (2:04:38), however Ethiopia has three other runners also with PB’s under 2:05. The Kenyans are led by Bernard Koech (2:04:53) who has run the fastest half-marathon in the world this year, and teamed up with Michael Kipyego, Bernard Kipyego, Nichola Kipkemboi, and my favourite of the Kenyans, Paris Marathon winner Peter Some.

The Kenyans have stated that they will need to run as a team and have a very tactical race if they are to challenge the Ethipioans and retain the title won by Abel Kirui in 2011.

On the women’s side it is again the Ethiopians that look strongest, led by Boston marathon winner Lelisa Desisa, although defending champion, Kenyan Edna Kiplagat is racing and will be in the mix to defend her title.

Given the headline news major marathons have had lately with Boston and New York, I think we all just want the racing to start and let a new legend of the sport emerge.

Who is your pick for the word titles?

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Happy Birthday Mary Keitany

Mary KeitanyCurrent women’s World Marathon Major champion, Mary Keitany, turns 31 today (18 January).

Keitany rose to prominence initially on the half-marathon stage,  winning the Sevilla Half in 2006 as her maiden win, and then taking a suite of victories over the following years. She won three half-marathon titles in 2007 and narrowly missed the World Half-Marathon Championship title in that year.

After not racing in 2008 due to pregnancy and childbirth, she bounced back to win the elusive World Half-Marathon World Champion title in 2009 in Birmingham and also won two further half-marathon’s before stepping up in distance for third place in the 2010 New York Marathon on debut.

2011 saw her storm on to the marathon world stage, preparing by setting the half-marathon world record of 1:05:50 in the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon before taking the first of her two Virgin London Marathon titles. She followed up with a further third place in the 2011 New York Marathon.

Last year saw her again win the Virgin London Marathon in the fastest female marathon time of the year (2:18:37) and entered the 2012 London Olympics as an overwhelming favourite, but faded late and had to settle for fourth, 49 seconds behind Ethiopia’s Tiki Gelana.

Keitany trains at the adidas camp in Iten and will likely remain a force in 2012, London likely to again be on her schedule, as long as it works in around the IAAF World Championships in Moscow in August.

Keitany winning the 2012 Virgin London Marathon

Keitany winning the 2012 Virgin London Marathon

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The 2013 elite marathon schedule

Tokyo will launch the 2013 World Marathon Majors

Tokyo will launch the 2013 World Marathon Majors

The year after an Olympics is always hard to follow, but a quick glance at the marathon calendar appears to have plenty to keep the interest flowing. The highlight will be the IAAF World Championships, held in Moscow. The women’s marathon will be on the opening day of the event, Saturday 10 August while the men will be on the penultimate day, Saturday 17 August.

In terms of the first main race of the year, Dubai will unofficially start off the year on 25 January, where it is expected there will be a cluster of super fast times similar to last year. For the formal World Marathon Major schedule however it will be a debut race to start off the year with the addition of Tokyo running on 24 February.

From there the calendar can be planned out as follows:

  • Boston Marathon, 15 April
  • Virgin London Marathon, 21 April
  • Berlin Marathon, 29 September
  • Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 13 October
  • ING New York City Marathon, 3 November

The big question will be which nation will dominate the 2013 marathon year? 2011 was so clearly owned by the Kenyans but 2012 saw Ethiopia claw back some ground.

2013datesThe World Marathon Majors last year still saw a strong Kenyan dominance with Wesley Korir winning Boston, Wilson Kipsang in London and Geoffrey Mutai running the fastest time of the year in winning Berlin while Ethiopia’s Tsegay Kebede won Chicago. There was no winner for New York with the race cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy and Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich scored the upset win at the Olympics.

On the women’s front Ethiopia took three of the five majors; Aberu Kebede winning in Berlin, Atsede Baysa in Chicago and Tiki Gelana running away with the Olympic title. For Kenya it was 2011-12 World Marathon Major winner, Mary Keitany, who won last year’s London Marathon and compatriot Sharon Cherup taking the honours in Boston.

In terms of standings in the 2012-13 World Marathon Majors title, both the men’s and women’s tables are evenly balanced.

For the men Ethiopia’s Kebede and Kenya’s Kipsang lead the men’s title on 35 points each, Korir is third on 26 points and Kiprotich and Mutai round out the top five on 25 points.

On the women’s side it is defending champ Keitany in the lead on 35 points and then five tied in second place on 25 points; Kenya’s Cherop and Priscah Jeptoo and three Ethipioan’s in  Baysa, Gelana and Kebede.

The attention may not be as singularly focused as the London Olympics last year, but 2013 is shaping up to be a great year in elite international marathon running!

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