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Marathon debutante Piasecki wins in Florence

Britain’s Jessica Piasecki recorded the second-fastest time in the history of the Asics Firenze Marathon, winning the World Athletics Bronze Label road race in 2:25:29 on her debut at the distance on Sunday (24).

Ethiopia’s Nigussie Sahlesilassie Bekele took the honours in the men’s race with 2:10:14, just four seconds shy of the PB he set earlier this year.

A leading group formed by Piasecki, Kenya’s Salina Jebet, Viola Yator Jelagat, Ethiopia’s Mekash Dinknesh Tefera, Amelework Bosho Fikadu, and Burundi’s Elvanie Nimbona went through 15km in 52:34.

Tefera, the fastest runner in the field with a 2:23:12 PB from a few years ago, went to the front and reached the halfway mark in 1:14:31, closely followed by Piasecki, Yator and Jebet. Tefera and Piasecki then broke away, clocking 1:27:55 at 25km with a 14-second margin over Yator.

Piasecki launched her attack soon after, opening up an eight-second gap on Tefera by 35km, reached in 2:01:38.

The 29-year-old continued to ramp up the pace and by 40km her lead had grown to more than a minute. She crossed the finish line in 2:25:29 to move to third on the British all-time list. Only Lonah Salpeter, who won here in 2:24:17 last year, has recorded a faster time on this course. Tefera finished second with 2:26:47 ahead of Salina Jebet (2:30:28).

“The course was quite twisty, but it was an amazing race,” said Piasecki, the 2012 European U23 cross-country champion. “It was the first marathon race of my career and I achieved my goal of getting the Olympic qualifying standard for Tokyo. I can’t believe it.”

Her next goal is the 2020 London Marathon in April, which will double as the British trials for the Olympic Games.

A six-man group formed by Kenyans Kipkemoi Kiprono, Jackson Rutto Kemboi, Peter Kirui Cheruiyot, 2014 Florence winner Asbel Kipsang and Ethiopians Nigussie Sahlesilassie Bekele and Azmeraw Gereme Mengistu took the early lead, going through 10km in 30:15, 15km in 45:24, half way in 1:04:28 and 30km in 1:32:00.

Bekele stepped up the pace and broke away from Mengistu, going through the 35km mark in 1:47:18 with a lead of 24 seconds. Kipsang was further back in third place.

Bekele crossed the finish line in 2:10:14, missing his career best by just four seconds. It was his third consecutive 2:10 clocking of the year, having set PBs of 2:10:46 in Wuxi in March and 2:10:10 when winning in Stockholm in June.

“After 30km I tried to step up the pace,” said the winner. “I saw that my rivals were not able to keep up with my pace. I held on until the end.”

(11/24/2019) ⚡AMP
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Firenze Marathon

Firenze Marathon

This is Firenze (Florence) Marathon! Along the way you will be surrounded by centuries of art, history and culture, a unique emotion that can only be experienced by those who run in Florence. Thousands of sports people and enthusiasts from all over the world come to participate in this classic race on the last Sunday in November. The route takes...

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Kenya’s Asbel Kipsang and Tefera Dinknesh Mekash from Ethiopia are the favorites at the Asics Firenze Marathon

Kipsang won the race in his debut over the 42 km distance in 2014 in 2:09:55. He went on to clock his personal best with 2:07:30 in Seoul in 2016 and will aim at breaking the Florence course record held by his compatriot James Kutto who clocked 2:08:40 in 2006. Kipsang finished third in Shanghai in 2:09:02 and sixth in Paris in 2:08:29 in 2017.

Moroccan Hicham Bofars, 31, also returns to Florence, where he finished second last year in personal best of 2:12:16. Bofars ran all his three marathon races in Florence in 2014, 2015 and 2018.

Kenyan Peter Kirui Cheruiyot boasts solid personal best times in the half marathon with 59:22 from Prague in 2014 and in the marathon with 2:06:31 from Frankfurt in 2011.

Gilbert Kipleting Chumba from Kenya has already run on Italian soil and won the past two editions of the Treviso Marathon - in 2018 he clocked his personal best of 2:12:19.

The Ethiopian contingent will be represented by Gereme Azmeraw Mengistu and Nigussie Sahlesilassie Bekele. Mengistu set his personal best of 2:12:27 in November 2016. Bekele won the Stockolm marathon last June in 2:10:10, also a personal best.

Morocco’s Hicham Amghar, who has a 1:00:23 half marathon PB, will make his marathon debut.

The best Italian runner in the field is Ahmed Nasef, who won two national marathon titles and set his marathon career best of 2:10:59 in 2012.

The fastest runner in the women’s field is Ethiopia’s Dinknesh Mekash Tefera, who set her career best of 2:23:12 in Frankfurt in 2015. Tefera will take on her compatriot Amelework Bosho Fekadu, who has a 2:32:39 PB, Kenya’s Salina Jebet (winner in Astana 2018 in 2:31:06) and Burundi’s 21-year-old Elvanie Nimbona, who finished second in Padua last April in 2:30:28.

Croatian ultra-marathon specialist Nikolina Sustic set her previous marathon career best of 2:41:11 in Florence last year and improved this time to 2:37:55 in Padua in 2019. Former European U23 cross country champion Jess Piasecki will make her debut over the marathon distance after improving her personal best in the half marathon to 1:11:42 in Usti nad Labem in Czech Republic last September.

(11/23/2019) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Firenze Marathon

Firenze Marathon

This is Firenze (Florence) Marathon! Along the way you will be surrounded by centuries of art, history and culture, a unique emotion that can only be experienced by those who run in Florence. Thousands of sports people and enthusiasts from all over the world come to participate in this classic race on the last Sunday in November. The route takes...

more...
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Salpeter smashes the course record in Florence and sets a new national record for Israel

Lonah Chemtai Salpeter smashed the course record at the 35th ASICS Firenze Marathon, an IAAF Bronze Label road race, on Sunday (25). The reigning European 10,000m champion clocked 2:24:17 to clip nearly four minutes from the previous record of 2:28:15 set by Slovenia’s Helena Javornik in 2002. Her performance was also a national record for Israel, shattering the 2:35:59 standard set by Elena Dolinin in Berlin two years ago. Salpeter dominated the race, winning by more than six minutes over Kenyan Caroline Chepkwony.  Salpeter took the lead in the early stages, running with Gebiyanesh Gedamu from Ethiopia and Clementine Mukandanga from Rwanda, the trio passing 10 kilometres in 34:37 and 15 in 51:42. Salpeter and Gedamu reached the halfway mark in 1:12:38, but the Israeli started pushing the pace, building a gap of eight seconds over Gedamu (1:26:04 to 1:26:12) by 25 kilometres. Salpeter continued to pull away, extending her gap over Gedamu to one minute at 30 kilometres (1:43.16) and to more than four minutes five kilometres later, propelled by a 6:30 two-kilometre split between kilometres 33 and 35. She covered the challenging second half in 1:11:39 for a negative split to smash her previous personal best by 16 minutes. Her 2:24:17 performance was the sixth fastest time ever run on Italian soil and the fastest by a European this year. Salpeter set her previous best of 2:40:16 in Berlin in 2016, but recently showed good form with a half marathon PB of 1:07:55 in Lisbon in October. This year she made her breakthrough improving all her career best times on the track running the 3000m in 8:42.88, the 5000m in 15:17.81, the 10,000m in 31:33.03 at the European 10000m Cup in London last May. She won the 10000m European title in Berlin in 31:43.29. “The crowd gave me strong support along the course,” said Salpeter, who grew up in Eldoret, Kenya, and moved to Israel in 2008. “I did not fear the rain, because I was ready with any condition. Firenze is the springboard event of my marathon career.” Chepkwony clocked 2:30:46 for second ahead of Mukandanga who clocked 2:30:59 to knock nearly five minutes from her previous lifetime best. Croatia’s Nikolina Sustic improved her PB to 2:41:51, finishing fourth.  (11/25/2018) ⚡AMP
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Kenya's Gilbert Kipruto Kirwa returns to Italy hopeful to clinch gold at Florence Marathon on Sunday

The 25-year-old has not raced since he clinched the bronze medal in Florence last year after he sustained an ankle injury. However, he returns feeling strong as he intends to recoup the missed opportunities hoping he will prove his mantle and secure a slot in the Kenya team to the World Championships next year in Qatar. "I have recovered and ready for the assault of the Florence course," Kirwa said on Thursday before departing to Italy. "It is about preparations and I have done my part and though there are some top names lined up, I believe the training has been good to withstand any challenge." Kirwa was the third-place finisher in the men's race last year. The Kenyan clocked his personal best of 2:06:14 in Frankfurt back in 2009 but ran 2:07:44 as recently as 2015 in finishing fifth at the Paris marathon. Later he was second at the Toronto Waterfall marathon in Canada clocking 2:09:01. But that will come under focus when he lines up at the Florence marathon course on Sunday. Kirwa will be up against China's Xiamen marathon champion Dejene Debela and Bonsa Dida from Ethiopia. After setting a personal best time of 2:07:10 in Eindhoven in 2017, Debela has won two marathons in China this year, clocking 2:11:22 in Xiamen and 2:12:08 in Beijing. "I hope to run well in Florence and see if I can defend my title in Xiamen next year. I believe I will have recovered, but it will be dependent on the performance in Italy," he said. (11/24/2018) ⚡AMP
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European 10,000m champion Lonah Chemtai Salpeter will be in the spotlight at the 35th edition of the Asics Firenze Marathon on Sunday

The 29-year-old has this year set Israeli records at various distances from the 1500m to the half marathon and she will be looking to add another to her collection this weekend. Before winning the continental 10,000m title in Berlin, she set a European-leading national record of 31:33.03 to win the European Cup in London in May. At the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships Valencia 2018 earlier in the year she set a national record of 1:08:58 and reduced that mark to 1:07:55 in Lisbon last month. Salpeter is yet to fully master the marathon, though. She has completed three marathons to date – her one failure to finish came at the 2016 Olympic Games – and her finishing times have all been between 2:40:16 and 2:40:22, a surprisingly consistent series of times for someone who appears capable of going much quicker for 26.2 miles. This weekend Salpeter is aiming at improving the course record of 2:28:15 set in 2002 by Helena Javornik. She could even challenge the European-leading time of 2:25:25 set by European champion Volha Mazuronak. Salpeter will take on Kenya’s Caroline Jepchirchir Chepkwony, who set her marathon PB of 2:27:37 in Lubljana in 2013, Ethiopia’s Ayele Gebaynesh, who has a career best of 2:26:54, and Kenya’s 2:27:07 performer Sarah Jebet. Croatia’s ultramarathon specialist Nikolina Sustic will run her fourth Italian race this autumn after Venice, Turin and Verona. The world 100km champion set a marathon PB of 2:42:44 at the European Championships in Berlin, improved to 2:42:10 in Turin at the start of November and last week clocked 2:42:26 in Verona. (11/23/2018) ⚡AMP
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