Albert Korir was the surprise winner of the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon on Sunday

Korir and Ethiopia’s Aberu Kuma, who has a personal best of 2:05:50, were running side by side after dropping Ethiopia’s Tsedet Ayana, Kenya’s Martin Kosgey and Ethiopia’s Adugna Takele when Kuma came to a complete stop at the water station. Seizing the opportunity, the tall Kenyan took off and quickly opened up an insurmountable gap.

Kuma eventually finished second in 2:08:14 with Ayana completing the podium with 2:08:53.

“This is a great achievement. It is a dream,” said the winner. “Kuma is a strong guy, I didn’t know I would beat him. But at 40km I saw he somehow stopped so I made a move to go.

“It’s a dream. I was hoping to improve my personal best; I didn’t know that I could improve. The weather was good and the course is flat, good. The first half was hard (1:03:35) but when the pacemakers went out, the pace went down.”

This was the second victory this year for Korir. He was the Houston winner in January and now, understandably, he has huge ambitions.

“I have to improve my athletics career,” he offered, “at least win a World Major and have a better time, 2:04 or 2:03.”

If Kuma was disappointed, he masked it well. With a stellar career to date, he had been the favourite to win the race.

“At 35km I didn’t take any water and so I knew I must drink water at 40km,” he explained in English. “I take water – the guy’s gone. That’s my problem. “The weather really affected my running.”

The women’s race resulted in another Ethiopian victory – the 10th consecutive time – with the ever improving Tigist Girma dropping her compatriots Bethelhem Moges and Etaferahu Temesgen at 28km. She and one of the elite women’s pacemakers opened up a gap and many observers wondered if she had moved too early.

Girma was full of confidence and ran across the line in a personal best of 2:26:34, throwing her arms up in the air in joyful celebration. She earned herself CDN$30,000.

“I was extremely ready for this race,” Girma declared. “I tried my best. Because I was all alone, I couldn’t push because the weather was not good so that’s why the time is slow. I really had good preparation.

posted Monday May 27th