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The first runner to cross the finish line was Edwin Kipngetich Koech from Kenya, who finished the marathon in 2:09:44. Koech took home a prize of US$20,000.
The runner-up prize went to an Ethiopian contestant, Bekele Muluneh Metaferia, who was only 56 seconds faster than the second runner-up, Samuel Ndungu Wanjiku, also from Kenya. Metaferia was awarded US$15,000, while Wanjiku received US$10,000.
The first woman to cross the finish line was Mulu Seboka Seyfu from Ethiopia. She finished in a time of 2:27:12, according to the organizer.
Kenyan runner Flomena Chepchirchir Chumba and Ethiopian runner Ashu Kasim Rabo finished in second and third place, respectively.
The first Chinese contestant to finish the full-length marathon was a 28-year-old man named Zhang Zhenlong from Inner Mongolia. It took him 2 hours 20 minutes and 43 seconds to finish the race, approximately 11 minutes longer than the Kenyan winner.
“I’m very satisfied with the result because it’s my best result in recent years. Today’s weather is very comfortable and the drizzle during the race also helped me maintain my strength,” Zhang told the Shenzhen Daily.(12/17/2018) ⚡AMP
The 26-year-old Koech enjoyed a comfortable lead after 25 kilometers and went on to win in 2:09:44. This is his second sub-2:10 run behind his personal best of 2:07:13 achieved in Milan last April. Koech took home a prize of US$20,000.
A leading group of more than 10 runners paced the race in the early stages. Only five men were left when the leaders passed the 20-kilometer mark, and that pack was trimmed to just three runners, Koech his compatriot Samuel Ndungu and Bekele Muluneh of Ethiopia, by the time they hit 25 kilometers in 1:17:09.
After covering the five-kilometer section between 25 and 30 kilometers in 14:41, Koech broke and built up a lead of more than half a minute and never looked back.
Bekele Muluneh improved his PR by 40 seconds to finish second in 2:11:19. Ndungu, a two-time Lake Biwa marathon winner with a PR of 2:07:04, settled for third place in 2:12:15.
Pre-race favourite Seboka lived up to expectations in the women’s race. She won in 2:27:12 to improve on her runner-up finish from last year while taking down the course record of 2:33:25 set by last year’s winner Viktoria Poliudina of Kyrgyzstan.
Seboka broke away from Kenyan veteran Flomena Chepchirchir near the halfway mark and when she passed the 25-kilometer water stations in 1:26:27, the margin had been widened to some 10 seconds.
The 34-year-old Ethiopian kept extending her lead and claimed the convincing win with an advantage of nearly five minutes.
It is Seboka’s second title in China this year as she also won the Dalian International Marathon in 2:28:59 seven month ago. The Ethiopian has finished within 2:30 in each of her three outings in 2018 with a season’s best of 2:25:01 registered in Seoul.
The 37-year-old Chepchirchir, who finished 10th in Shenzhen last year, took second place in 2:32:05, which was her best mark since achieving her PR of 2:23:00 back in 2013. Ashu Kasim of Ethiopia was a remote third-place finisher with a clocking of 2:38:35.(12/17/2018) ⚡AMP
China’s Yan Longfei broke yet another Hong Kong course record at the North Face 50 with a time of four hours, 45 minutes and five seconds, shattering the previous record by more than 40 minutes at Tai Mei Tuk.
It was the third Hong Kong trail running record broken in less than two months for Yan, who smashed the Lantau 70 record back in late October and did the same in the TransNT back in November. And once again, he did so “without running seriously.”
“Yan Longfei is ridiculous, he’s just a phenomenal athlete,” said the North Face-sponsored Vlad Ixel, who finished second with an impressive time of 5:26:55. “I knew that I was racing for second place from the beginning.”
It was the first time running the North Face 50 trail for Yan, who said he enjoyed taking in the scenery and saying hello to hikers.
“I just treat these races as practice,” explained Yan, who elected to run the 50 instead of the 100 because he is running the Shenzhen International Marathon on Sunday. “Hong Kong’s trails are the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. I had done the Lantau and Hong Kong trails before but it was my first time doing this course. I really enjoyed it.”(12/15/2018) ⚡AMP
In the absence of last year’s winner Viktoria Poliudina of Kyrgyzstan, the 34-year-old Seboka is the top returning runner.
Although she may not be in the same form as three years ago when she set her personal best of 2:21:56 PB in Dubai, the vastly-experienced Ethiopian, who has clocked sub-2:30 performances each every year since 2012, is still keen to improve on her 2:35:28 clocking last year and take down Poliudina’s course record of 2:33:25.
It will be Seboka’s third race of the year. She clocked 2:25:01 to finish fourth in Seoul in March and scored a 2:28:59 victory in Dalian two month later.
Kenyan veteran Flomena Chepchirchir, who just celebrated her 37th birthday earlier this month, will also be competing in Shenzhen for the second straight year, after finishing a distant 10th in 2017. Her best performance this year was a sixth place finish in Prague in 2:32:10.
Ethiopian duo Melkam Gizaw and Ashu Kasim are also title contenders. The 34-year-old Kasim set her PB of 2:23:09 to claim the title in Xiamen back in 2012, while Gizaw, 28, registered her life-time best of 2:24:28 to finished second in Seoul in 2016. But neither has run a race so far this season so their competitiveness remains to be tested.(12/14/2018) ⚡AMP