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Course records smashed Sunday morning at the Sydney Marathon

Felix Kiprotich and Stellah Barsosio have smashed the men's and women's marathon course records at the Sydney Running Festival.

Pre-race favorite Kiprotich took almost a minute and a half off the men's record, becoming the first person to break 2:10 for the Sydney Marathon with a winning time of 2:09:49 as he breasted the tape at the Sydney Opera House forecourt. 

In a quick race in perfect conditions, second placed Michael Kunyuga and Japan's third-place finisher Saturo Sasaki also ran under the previous course record of 2:11:18, set by Gebo Burka in 2014. 

Last year's winner Elijah Kemboi finished fourth in 2:13:55 - 42 seconds faster than his victorious time in 2018. 

The women's record fell by even more, with Barsosio finishing alone in 2:24:33, which was good enough for eighth place overall.

That's an incredible 3:33 faster than the previous record (2:28:06), set by Makda Harun in 2017.

Second placed woman Josephine Chepkoech also run under the previous record, finishing in 2:26:43, while the third placed woman - Tejitu Chalchissa - finished in 2:28:22.

In the half marathon, Ryota Komori won in 1:05:00, beating Thomas Do Canto by 32 seconds.

Belinda Martin won the women's half in 1:14:50, ahead of Rebecca Lowe in 1:17:04 and Karinna Fyfe in 1:18:09.

(09/14/2019) Views: 1,220 ⚡AMP
Sydney Marathon

Sydney Marathon

The Sydney Marathon is a marathon held annually in Sydney, Australia. The event was first held in 2001 as a legacy of the 2000 Summer Olympics, which were held in Sydney. In addition to the marathon, a half marathon, 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) "Bridge Run", and a 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) "Family Fun Run" are also held under the banner...


Sydney marathon organizers are determined to see the course records go when this year’s race is run on Sunday

The IAAF Gold Label road race, centerpiece of the mass participation Sydney Running Festival that has attracted almost 40,000 entrants, is not as fast as some courses, but any road course in Australia’s biggest city boasting one of the world’s iconic harbors, must be a compromise between aesthetics and degree of difficulty.

Nonetheless, organizers are confident the course records – 2:11:18 by Ethiopia’s Gebo Gameda Burka in 2014 and 2:28:04 by Ethiopian-born Australian resident Makda Harun Haji in 2017 – can be substantially improved. They have assembled a field and will provide the pacing to make that happen in this year’s race.

Australian 10,000m record holder Ben St. Lawrence will spearhead the pacers endeavoring to pilot the leading male runners through the first 25km on pace to break the men’s record. Corresponding assistance should see the leading women – including Harun Haji – through half-way on the required pace.

“We want to see the records broken this year,” race director Wayne Larden said on Friday, “and we think we have the depth in both fields for that to happen.”

Felix Kiprotich looks the pick of the men’s field. The 30-year-old Kenyan runner comes with strong current form. He recorded his personal best – 2:05:33 – in winning Korea’s Daegu marathon this April, so he is fast and in a winning mood. He also brings consistency, having four sub-2:07 times on his c.v.

Kiprotich has bettered 2:07 in four of the past five years and ran sub-2:08 in the only year he did not. He is also familiar with the region, his best performances all coming in Asia.

Elijah Kemboi won last year’s Sydney race by over two minutes in 2:13:33. Before last year he had run sub-2:10 for the previous six years. Besides his win in Sydney, he was second in Linz and won in Macao, so his consistency remains at a high level. Another Kenyan, Kiprotich Kirui, has bettered 2:10 each of the past three years including a 2:09:05 for third place in Madrid earlier this year.

Japanese runners have a good recent record in Sydney, despite usually not arriving with the strongest credentials among the elite runners. Satoru Sasaki was third in the always-strong Fukuoka marathon in 2015 in his PB 2:08:56 and finished eighth there last year in 2:11:40. He and younger compatriot Ryo Kuchimachi – 2:13:30 in Tokyo this year – will bear watching.

Kenyan duo Stellah Barsosio and Josephine Chepkoech head the elite athletes in the women’s field.

Each comes with strong recent form. Barsosio was second in this year’s Rotterdam marathon in her fastest career performance of 2:23:36. The 26-year-old was fifth in Paris the previous year and also boasts a half-marathon best of 1:09:31.

Chepkoech, 30, is a little faster than her compatriot over the half distance, with a best of 1:08:53. That dates back to 2013, however, but her 2:25:20 performance in the Barcelona marathon earlier this year suggests she remains a strong contender.

Harun Haji holds the race record set in 2017, the second time in succession she triumped in Sydney. In both victories, she broke away in Centennial Park significantly before the half-way point where the tree cover and bends in the road make it relatively easy to “disappear” from the chasers. She does not have compelling domestic form coming into the race, but it will be interesting to see whether she, or any of her rivals, adopt similar tactics.

Ethiopian pair Hirut Alemayehu and Gebeyanesh Ayele will also be in the hunt. Ayele has a personal best of 2:26:54 from Hengshui just one year ago, while Alemayehu’s best is 2:30:09. Both have half-marathon bests of just over 70 minutes, so need to be respected.

Tejita Daba, Bahrain, and Bornes Kitur, third in Osaka this year and with a 2:24:19 PB from Prague last year, are also more than capable of winning in a very even women’s field.

(09/13/2019) Views: 949 ⚡AMP
Sydney Marathon

Sydney Marathon

The Sydney Marathon is a marathon held annually in Sydney, Australia. The event was first held in 2001 as a legacy of the 2000 Summer Olympics, which were held in Sydney. In addition to the marathon, a half marathon, 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) "Bridge Run", and a 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) "Family Fun Run" are also held under the banner...


Kenya´s Elijah Kemboi was victorious in the Blackmores Sydney Marathon

Kemboi broke a run of three successive wins by Japanese athletes in taking the men’s race while Kibarus produced the third-fastest winning women’s time on the Sydney course, which starts with an up-and-over run over Sydney Harbour Bridge and produces several other tough challenges along the route to the finish at the Opera House. Favouritism is often a heavy burden in a marathon, but Kemboi and Kibarus bore the mantle lightly. Each had seen off their closest rivals by the 35-kilometre point and ran to victory unchallenged over the final stages. With three sub-2:08 marathons to his name among seven sub-2:10 performances, Kemboi looked the class of the men’s field. In the marathon, however, you have to execute your race plan before the race executes you. The just-turned 34-year-old dominated the race from the start in North Sydney to the finish at the Opera House. It had come down to a race of three very shortly after the start as the lead group was whittled down from 10, to six and then to Kemboi, Uganda’s Thomas Ayeko, and Birhanu Addisie of Ethiopia. Addisie never looked too interested in sharing the leading duties, but Kemboi motioned the younger Ayeko, the Commonwealth Games 5000m fourth-place finisher and with a 1:00:26 half marathon to his credit, to the front several times in the first 30 kilometres. (09/17/2018) Views: 1,234 ⚡AMP

Uganda’s Thomas Ayeko will be chasing the race course record at Sydney Marathon

Uganda’s Thomas Ayeko best marathon is only 2:12:04, but he has a 1:00:26 half-marathon and a 27:40.96 10,000m (11th in the 2013 World Championships) to his name and was fourth in the 5000m at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. The elite men at the upcoming Syndey marathon will be chasing the race record of 2:11:18 set by Ethiopia’s Gebo Gameda Burka in winning the 2014 race. The race records are modest by the highest international standards, but any road course in Australia’s biggest city is a compromise between aesthetics and degree of difficulty. If you want pancake-flat, better look somewhere else. There are faster runners, but recent history of the men’s race suggests Japanese duo Norikazu Kato and Takumi Honda should be in the lead pack. Since Burka’s record winning performance, there have been three successive Japanese winners. Hisanori Kitajima won in 2015, followed by Tomohiro Tanigawa a year later and then Shota Hattori last year. Sydney will be just the second marathon for Honda. He made his debut in Nobeoka earlier this year, finishing second in 2:12:18. Several others in the field have faster personal bests, but he looks competitive on 2018 performances. Likewise, Kato’s personal best of 2:12:48 came in this year’s Beppu-Oita race in Japan. Sydney will be his first significant race outside Japan. Kenya’s Elija Kemboi is entitled to race favouritism, however. Kemboi has run 2:11:15 or faster each year from 2011 to 2017 and was second in Linz this year in 2:11:30. He has run three sub-2:08 marathons, with a best of 2:07:34, among his seven sub-2:10 performances. If he is in that sort of form again now, he will be very hard to beat and might be the most likely to try an early breakaway. The other sub-2:10 men in the field are Ethiopia’s Birhanu Addisie, who ran 2:09:27 in finishing second in Rome in 2016, and Kenya’s Cosmas Kimutai, who ran 2:09:25 on debut back in 2010, but nothing of similar quality since. (09/14/2018) Views: 1,191 ⚡AMP
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