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Kevin Seaward clocked a lifetime best and became the second-fasted Irish marathon runner of all time in the process at the Seville Marathon on Sunday

Belfast man Kevin Seaward, a school teacher, ran the second-fastest Irish marathon time ever as he finished 26th at the Seville Marathon on Sunday morning.

Belfast’s Seaward ran a PB of 2:10:10 – second only to John Treacy’s national record of 2:09:15.

Seaward’s time was more than three minutes quicker than his previous best of 2:13:39, which he ran in Berlin last September.

Only John Treacy, in 1988, has ran a faster Marathon time for Ireland than Seaward while the 36-year-old now becomes the fastest Northern Ireland marathon man of all time. 

It is also comfortably inside the IAAF time of 2:11:30 for Tokyo 2020 qualification as he becomes the third Irish marathon runner to achieve the Olympic criteria.

The 34-year-old joins Paul Pollock, who ran a 2:10:25 in Valencia in December, and Stephen Scullion who is eligible by virtue of his fifth-place finish at the “gold label” Houston Marathon where he ran a time of 2:11:52.

Ballina’s Hugh Armstrong missed out on the Olympic time by less than a minute this morning, finishing 35th in a personal best of 2:12:26.

Seaward joins Paul Pollock and Stephen Scullion as Tokyo 2020 qualifiers.

(02/24/2020) ⚡AMP
by Niall Kelly
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Zurich Marathon Sevilla

Zurich Marathon Sevilla

This urban, flat, fast and beautiful brand new race course will drive athletes through the most beautiful monuments of the city. Zurich Maraton de Sevilla brings the unique opportunity to brake the Best personal result over the mythical distance to all the athletes, professional or age groupers, in one of the most perfect international marathon circuits. This fast marathon takes...

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Ayenew and debutante Chekwel break course records at Seville Marathon

Ethiopia’s Mekuant Ayenew and Uganda’s Juliet Chekwel captured commanding victories at the 36th Zurich Maratón de Sevilla, a World Athletics Gold Label road race, on Sunday (23) with respective clockings of 2:04:46 and 2:23:13.

Although Ayenew had previously won marathons in Beijing and Venice, his pre-race PB stood at 2:09:00, so his victory in Seville was something of a surprise. The 29-year-old took almost two minutes off the course record.

Chekwel, who was making her marathon debut, also improved the course record by more than a minute. Her time took more than nine minutes off the Ugandan record.

Both men’s and women’s races had strong depth as seven men finished inside 2:07 and 14 broke the 2:08 barrier, while seven women went sub-2:28, confirming the new course is conducive to fast times.

The men’s race opened at brisk pace as a 15-man lead pack went through 5km in 14:45, led by pacemakers Henry Kiprop and Raymond Kipchumba. They passed 10km in 29:24 with all the main favourites in close attendance.

The halfway point was reached in 1:02:30, putting the leaders well on schedule to break the course record of 2:06:36. By then 11 men led the contest in the form of the Kenyan quartet of Barnabas Kiptum, Amos Kiplagat, Michael Kunyunga and Stanley Kiprotich plus the large Ethiopian contingent compounded by Ayenew, Regasa Bejiga, Alemayehu Mekonen, Bazu Worku, Maru Teferi and Workhenh Tesfa, plus Italy’s Eyob Faniel.

Shortly afterwards the pacesetters dropped out and by the 25th kilometre Kiplagat, Kiptum and Ayenew had broken away from the rest with the unknown Kiplagat, whose career best is 2:11:18, making most of the pace.

By the 30km checkpoint the clock read 1:28:39, following a 29:31 split between 20km and 30km. Shortly afterwards Kiplagat began to falter and the race became a two-horse battle between Kiptum and Ayenew. The 33-year-old Kenyan, a 2:06:33 performer, took command of the rhythm at first but looked back several times to ask for the Ethiopian to help. Ayenew then moved to the front but they only travelled together for a couple of kilometres because at exactly the 34km point Ayenew’s relentless speed proved to be too fast for Kiptum and the Ethiopian began to build a sizeable gap.

At 35km (1:43:24) it became clear that, barring disaster, Ayenew would be the eventual winner as he cemented a 100m gap on Kiptum and 41 over Kunyunga, Tesfa and Bejiga who would fight for the third place on the podium.

Like a metronome, Ayenew covered each kilometre section in 2:57 and even increased his speed over the closing stages to finish in a world-leading PB of 2:04:46, having recorded negative splits of 1:02:30 and 1:02:16.

Kiptum also managed a PB of 2:05:05 to take the runner-up spot. Bejiga’s late burst of speed gave him third place in 2:06:24, a PB by three minutes.

The Spanish title went to Javier Guerra, who finished 10th overall in a PB of 2:07:28 to secure his Olympic spot while Hamid Ben Daoud had to settle for second barely six seconds behind to also improve on his previous best.

Similar to the men’s race, the women’s contest started fast, the opening 5km being covered in 16:50 with Uganda’s Juliet Chekwel leading ahead of a large Ethiopian contingent comprising Gada Bontu, Melkam Gizaw, Ftaw, Zeray, Shewaye Woldemekel and Beji Bekelu, along with Kenya’s Caroline Kilel, Josephine Chepkoech and Purity Changwony.

They reached 10km in 33:48 always with debutante Chekwel running closest to the pacesetters and still eight women remained with winning chances by halfway, which was reached in 1:12:01, perfectly on schedule to lower the race record.

The continued to whittle down until only four athletes formed the leading group by 30km, reached in 1:42:05 – Chekwel, Bontu, Melaku and Chepkoech.

Chepkoech was the first of those to drift back at 35km. With the clock reading 2:13, Chekwel made a decisive move and built a seven-second gap on Bontu and an 18-second advantage on Melaku by the 40km point. In the final two kilometres the 29-year-old Chekwel finished strongly to cross the line in 2:23:13, while Bontu was second in 2:23:39, a PB by 10 minutes. Melaku was timed at 2:23:49, also a huge PB for the 22-year-old.

(02/23/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Zurich Marathon Sevilla

Zurich Marathon Sevilla

This urban, flat, fast and beautiful brand new race course will drive athletes through the most beautiful monuments of the city. Zurich Maraton de Sevilla brings the unique opportunity to brake the Best personal result over the mythical distance to all the athletes, professional or age groupers, in one of the most perfect international marathon circuits. This fast marathon takes...

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Ethiopian and Kenyans contingents are expected to battle at the 37th Zurich Maratón de Sevilla on Sunday

The race boasts one of the flattest courses worldwide and the new circuit inaugurated last year witnessed race records set by Ethiopian duo Ayana Tsedat (2:06:36) and Guteni Shone (2:24:29).

Kenya’s Barnabas Kiptum is in the form of his life following a 2:06:33 PB in Lisbon last October. Over the past three years the 33-year-old has shown great consistency, having bettered 2:10 six times. He will be joined by compatriots Emmanuel Kibet, a 2:08:42 performer in Rabat last year, Michael Kunyunga (2:10:05) and Stanley Kiptotich (2:10:12).

The large Ethiopian contingent is headed by Birhane Bekele and Tebalu Zawude; the former finished third last year in a lifetime best of 2:06:41 although the 38-year-old has raced only once at any distance since then with a 2:11:08 outing in Taiyuan last September while Zawude won the last Rome marathon in 2:08:37 in April 2019.

Other Ethiopians include Bazu Worku, who clocked 2:06:15 as an U20 athlete back in 2009. The 29-year-old has not approached that kind of time in recent years, but he clocked a respectable 2:10:56 in Beijing in November.

Yet the quickest athlete on show will be 2:04:50 performer Dino Sefer, but the 31-year-old Ethiopian will be contesting his first competition in more than two years. Getu Feleke, who boasts an identical PB of 2:04:50 from 2012, had a best last year of 2:10:39.

Sunday’s event will also serve as the Spanish championships for the distance. Javier Guerra, who set a career best of 2:08:33 a couple of years ago, is fresh from a 10km PB of 28:11 in Valencia last month and might also be a factor. Same goes for Hamid Ben Daoud, a 2:08:14 performer. The 24-year-old ran a fine 28:06 at the San Silvestre Vallecana at the end of December. The fight for the Spanish title promises to be thrilling with Juan Antonio Pérez, a 1:00:58 half marathon performer, also in the hunt for the win.

Likewise, the women's race doesn’t have a clear favorite. The cast is led by Ethiopia’s Sifan Melaku, who finished fourth last year in a PB of 2:26:46 and went on to improve to 2:25:29. She will be joined by fellow Ethiopians Bezabeh Fitaw, who made her debut last November in 2:29:15 in Hefei, Bekelu Beji, holder of a 2:28:21 time, and Melkaw Gizaw, who won in Nanchang last November and has a PB of 2:24:28 from 2016.

Kenya’s Purity Changwony should be in contention for victory on Sunday as the 30-year-old ran 2:30:34 to win in the altitude of Nairobi last October. Josephine Jepkoech, the runner-up at last year’s Barcelona Marathon in a PB of 2:25:20, will also try to get a podium spot.

Watch out too for Uganda’s Juliet Chekwel. The 29-year-old, who has PBs of 1:09:45 over the half marathon and 31:37:99 at the 10,000m, will be making her debut over the classic distance. The Ugandan’s last outing came in Madrid on the New Year’s eve when she finished fourth in 32:13.

The European charge will be headed by Poland’s Izabela Trzaskalska, fresh from a 1:11:09 lifetime best at the Seville Half Marathon four weeks ago; the 32-year-old seems ready to improve on her marathon best of 2:29:57 set in 2017. Spain’s Marta Galimany, who came second in Seville in a PB of 1:11:13, and Germany’s Anja Scherl (2:27:50) will also fight to finish inside the top 10 on Sunday.

The course will pass several iconic landmarks, including La Giralda, one of the largest cathedrals in the world, and the La Real Maestranza bullring or ‘La Torre del Oro’. A record number of 13,500 runners from 86 countries have entered. The forecast calls for sunny conditions with temperatures between 14-16C at the start.

(02/22/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Zurich Marathon Sevilla

Zurich Marathon Sevilla

This urban, flat, fast and beautiful brand new race course will drive athletes through the most beautiful monuments of the city. Zurich Maraton de Sevilla brings the unique opportunity to brake the Best personal result over the mythical distance to all the athletes, professional or age groupers, in one of the most perfect international marathon circuits. This fast marathon takes...

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Both the men and women course records were smashed at the 35th Annual Zurich Marathon in Sevilla

Ethiopians Ayana Tsedat and Guteni Shone grabbed convincing victories at the 35th Zurich Maratón de Sevilla, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on Sunday February 17. 

Running in nearly ideal weather conditions, the 22-year-old Tsedat clocked 2:06:36 to improve the race record by 1:07. Likewise Shone’s winning time of 2:24:29 broke the course record by a similar difference, 1:06.

Both men’s and women’s contests had strong depth as five men ducked under 2:07 while four women ran inside 2:27 as the new circuit proved to be even faster than the previous one.

The men’s race opened at a steady pace of 3:00m per kilometer.  A group of 13 runners hit the 10km point in 29:56 with Kenya’s Daniel Kipkore Kibet plus the Ethiopian group of Tsedat, Belay Asefa and Birhanu Berga.

The Madrid-based Tsegay went through the halfway point in 1:03:18 with ten men still running at his shoulder. By the 27k it was Kibet who moved to the front to maintain the rhythm, sharing the lead with Tsegay by 30 kilometers, reached in 1:30:09. Surprisingly, the Eritrean, a 2:09:56 performer, didn’t quit the race at that point and ran on with relative ease.

By then the main group included Tsegay, Kibet and the Ethiopian trio of Tsedat, Asefa and Berga, with the race record of 2:07:43 seemingly well within reach. In the closing kilometer Tsedat launched his attack. First Kibet and then Tadese fell back while Asefa and Berga followed behind in single file, but unable to maintain the pace. Tsedat cross the line in 2:06:36 to obliterate his previous lifetime best of 2.09:26 set last year in Barcelona while Asefa (2:06:39) and Berga (2:06:41) secured an Ethiopian podium sweep, also improving their career bests.

Meanwhile Tsegay, the designated pacemaker, crossed the line in 2:06:46 to break the Eritrean national record and obliterate his previous best. Tsegay trains in Madrid under the guidance of Jerónimo Bravo, the coach who led Zersenay Tadese to the world half marathon record of 58:23 back in 2010.

In the women's race, it was Spanish marathon Roger Roca who was given pacing duties on track to break the 2:25:35 record set last year. He set a steady 3:26 per kilometer pace to go through the opening 10,000m in 34:25 with ten women following closely. The halfway point was reached in 1:12:40 by a group of eight Ethiopians.

The leading quintet passed 30k in 1:43:17, still led by Roca and well on schedule to set a new race record. Shone and Gebremeskel proved to be the strongest as they comfortably led by the 35k point, still on track for a sub-2:25 performance.

Then Shone, one of Tirunesh Dibaba’s training partners, made her move, reaching the 40km point in 2:17:03 with a 12 second advantage over Gebremeskel. The 27-year-old injected an even faster pace over the closing kilometers to romp home in 2:24:29, less than one minute outside of her PB set four years ago. Gebremeskel clocked 2:24:53, improved her previous best by more than five minutes. 

(02/17/2019) ⚡AMP
by from IAAF
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Zurich Marathon Sevilla

Zurich Marathon Sevilla

This urban, flat, fast and beautiful brand new race course will drive athletes through the most beautiful monuments of the city. Zurich Maraton de Sevilla brings the unique opportunity to brake the Best personal result over the mythical distance to all the athletes, professional or age groupers, in one of the most perfect international marathon circuits. This fast marathon takes...

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A strong field is expected at the 35th Zurich Maratón de Sevilla on Sunday

The Zurich Maratón de Sevilla is one of the flattest courses worldwide and the new circuit is just as flat and fast.

The large Ethiopian contingent includes Belay Afesa, holder of a 2:07:10 lifetime best set in Hamburg five years ago, sub-2:10 runners Seboka Nigusse (2:09:14) and Ayana Tsedat (2:09:26) and sub-11 men Melaku Bechalew (2:10:31) and Regasa Mindaye (2:10:51).

Meanwhile, the Kenyan challenge will be led by Samuel Kiplimo Kosgei, whose 2:06:53 career best dates back to 2016. More recently, he ran 2:09:07 last October in Gyeongju. Another contender is Jonah Chesum, winner of the 2017 Barcelona marathon with a lifetime best of 2:08:57. He last raced in October's Lisbon Marathon clocking 2:10:08.

Eritrea’s Yohanes Gebregergish boasts a 2:08:14 career best from the 2017 Tokyo Marathon. He clocked 2:11:27 in Valencia in December, his last outing. His countryman Okubay Tsegay will be the designated pacemaker chargeed with leading the main group to the 30 kilometre checkpoint. The scheduled split for the half is 1:03:30, well inside the pace required to challenge the 2:07:43 course record set by Kenyan Titus Ekiru two years ago. 

Likewise, the women's race is wide open.

Ethiopia’s Hiwot Gebrekidan, who arrives on the heels of a 1:07:36 half marathon personal best set in Copenhagen in September, is among the athletes to beat. The 23-year-old will be aiming to improve on her personal best of 2:25:45 set in 2017. Guteni Shone is the quickest woman in Sunday’s line-up thanks to a 2:23:32 outing in Houston in 2015, though she was far from that in her last appearance, a 2:31:41 effort in Lisbon last October.

Other Ethiopians include Aynalem Kassahun (PB 2:28:18) and Meskerem Abera (2:28:35). Kenya will be represented by Susan Jeptoo who set her 2:30:50 best in Prague last year.

European hopes rest on two debutants: Sweden’s 2014 European 3000m steeplechase silver medallist Charlotta Fougberg, who has a 1:11:58 half marathon best to her credit, and 24-year-old Dutchwoman Jip Vastenburg, who clocked 1:11:04 for the half marathon in Valencia in 2017. 

The 2:25:35 course record was set last year by Moroccan Kaoutar Boulaidran, who has struggled with injury since. Still on the mend, she won’t be back to defend her title.

(02/15/2019) ⚡AMP
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Zurich Marathon Sevilla

Zurich Marathon Sevilla

This urban, flat, fast and beautiful brand new race course will drive athletes through the most beautiful monuments of the city. Zurich Maraton de Sevilla brings the unique opportunity to brake the Best personal result over the mythical distance to all the athletes, professional or age groupers, in one of the most perfect international marathon circuits. This fast marathon takes...

more...
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Kenyan´s Chesum returns to defend title in Barcelona

Jonah Chesum returns to defend his title at the Zurich Barcelona Marathon, an IAAF Bronze Label road race. Chesum was a pacesetter last year who went on to win the race in 2:08:57 in his debut over the distance. Later in the season the 29-year-old took fifth in the Gold Coast Marathon clocking 2:10:47. To help remember his surprise victory last year, Chesum spent part of his earnings from the race to buy a cow for his farm in Iten. “Of course,” he said with a laugh, “I named her ‘Barcelona’. Now she is pregnant and the calf will be named ‘Messi’.” (03/09/2018) ⚡AMP
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Morocco’s Kaoutar Boulaid breaks course record in seville

Kenya’s Dickson Tuwei and Morocco’s Kaoutar Boulaid triumphed at the 34th Zurich Maratón de Sevilla. Running in nearly ideal weather conditions, Tuwei clocked 2:08:18 while Boulaid’s winning time of 2:25:32 broke the course record by more than half a minute. “Honestly, I didn’t expect a 2:25 clocking but a time in the 2:27-2:28 region,” said Boulaid, who is based in Spain. “I went out fast but managed to maintain the pace in the second half and beat the Ethiopians.” (02/26/2018) ⚡AMP
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Ethiopians Assefa and Debebe lead the elite field at the Zurich Marathon

Ethiopians Fikre Assefa and Zinash Debebe will be among the favourites at the Zurich Marathon de Sevilla. The race, which boasts one of the flattest courses worldwide, will also serve as the Spanish championships for the distance which has attracted the local crème.Assefa seems to be the field’s most in-form runner as he finished last year on a high by setting a career best of 2:08:36 in Kosice for second, his first ever sub-2:10 clocking.The women’s event features a fine Ethiopian contingent including Zinash Debebe, who set her career best of 2:30:38 in Beirut last November. (02/23/2018) ⚡AMP
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