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Articles tagged #Belaynesh Oljira
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Ethiopian Tigist Girma is going after the Toronto Marathon title

Tigist Girma’s best marathon time may not have caught up with her impressive competitive record but the Ethiopian is quickly establishing herself as a world-class athlete to be feared. When she lines up for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 20, however, it will be a reality check of epic proportions.

Among the athletes she will face at this IAAF Gold Label road race are her countrywomen Bruktayit Degefa and Belaynesh Oljira who have run much, much faster times. Oljira, for instance, has a best of 2:21:53, almost five full minutes faster than Girma’s PB of 2:26:34 which she set in winning the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon in May. However, the 26-year-old Girma remains undaunted.

“Whenever I train for a specific competition, I have the goal to win as well as to run as fast as my training partners like Roza Dereje and Ruti Aga,” she says when asked what her target might be for Toronto. “So, I will try to run fast and win the race as well.”

Her resolve to match times recorded by members of her training group is decidedly ambitious. Dereje has a best of 2:19:17 while Ruti Aga has run 2:18:34. But it is the way Girma wins that is compelling. In each of her victories she has gone to the front with more than 12-15km remaining and simply run away from athletes, many of whom have superior personal bests.

“My coach (Haji Adilo) always trains us to run following our heart and condition. So, I am not afraid of running in front,” she explains. “My victory in both races (Guangzhou and Ottawa) with new personal bests was not only because of my strength but it was also with God’s support.

“According to my condition during the race I could have run better. But I won’t complain with the results I got in both races.”

The question of whether she can outwit and outrun her compatriots remains to be seen but there is much on the line. Toronto has seen the breakthrough of many international athletes. Past winners Sharon Cherop (Kenya) and Shure Demise (Ethiopian) went on to compete in the prestigious World Marathon Majors with Cherop finishing third in Boston in 2011, six months after her Toronto victory and was Boston champion in 2012. Demise went on to finish on the podium at both Tokyo and Chicago.

Girma first emerged on the scene with a victory in the 2016 Beirut Marathon where she ran a then personal best of 2:32:44. That was on a day when the temperature at the start was 21C. More recently she won the 2018 Guangzhou and 2019 Ottawa Marathons - both IAAF Gold Label races.

It is hard to believe that she has accomplished so much considering this is just her fourth season of competition. Moreover, coach Haji has reigned in her willingness to run three marathons in a year. Toronto Waterfront will be only her second marathon of 2019. She seems pleased with her training since Ottawa.

“I train four days a week with the team with coach Haji. Right now, I am doing all the training program my coach gave me and I run 170km each week,” she reveals.

Some of Haji’s favourite sites are well outside of Addis, the capital. This is because Addis traffic is notoriously heavy and not conducive to training. Haile Gebrselassie, for example, ran on a treadmill each afternoon in the basement gym in his office building.

 “Since the training sites are quite far and it’s long drive there my boyfriend drives me up and down,” Girma says.

The unpredictable weather coming off Lake Ontario in late October should not be a problem for her. Two of her victories were in heat and humidity while in Guangzhou it was cold and raining.

“I think (Toronto) is good timing for me,” she confirms. “Since it’s now winter-time here in Ethiopia I have been training in rain and very cold weather conditions. I don't think cold weather will be problem for my result.” 

(09/10/2019) ⚡AMP
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Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half-Marathon & 5k Run / Walk is organized by Canada Running Series Inc., organizers of the Canada Running Series, "A selection of Canada's best runs!" Canada Running Series annually organizes eight events in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver that vary in distance from the 5k to the marathon. The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and Half-Marathon are...

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Ethiopians Belaynesh Oljira and Bruktayit Degefa Eshetu, are ready to compete at Toronto Marathon

Belaynesh Oljira brings an enviable reputation to the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon October 20th which includes two 2013 IAAF World Championships bronze medals at 10,000m and in cross country.

The Ethiopian star, who also represented Ethiopia at the 2012 London Olympics, has run 2:21:53 (Frankfurt 2018) for the marathon staking her claim as one of the heavy favorites to win this IAAF Gold Label race.

Oljira will be joined in Canada’s largest city by a member of her training group, Bruktayit Degefa Eshetu, who is also a world class marathoner. In January of this year Degefa ran a personal best of 2:23:28 to earn herself a hat trick of Houston Marathon victories. A year ago, Degefa beat Oljira in Houston by a mere six seconds.

Despite sharing a coach and training group their contact has been minimal and it will be every woman for herself when they line up in Toronto. 

“I train with the Demadonna Athletics Promotion team,” Oljira says, “which includes also Biruktayit Degefa. We don’t train together, except when there is group training, we meet with others.

“We are not friends. I joined the team recently, I didn’t socialize with most of them but once I met her at the Houston Marathon she seems sociable and I hope we will be friends in the future.” 

Their casual relationship is not unusual. With training groups numbering as many as a hundred the athletes will meet their coach - in this case Gemedu Dedefo - two or three times a week at some of the popular training sites such as Sendafa, a thirty-minute drive outside Addis Ababa. Athletes might ride share. Training sessions begin just as the sun is rising so it is not unusual that runners might get out of bed at 4am to be picked up.

After a brief warm-up the training session starts and from then on, it’s all business. If the athletes are going to socialize it is likely to be in Addis away from training. Another barrier in their relationship is the fact Degefa is also married to an American-based Ethiopian named Abinet Adraro and spends much time in the U.S. This past spring, she prepared for the Boston Marathon for several months there. She was eighth in Boston. 

“Training with the group can benefit you with different things like you share experience, you find new friends, you have fun with them especially when you train with them you don’t think of your tiring moments of training.”

Among their training group are a strong contingent of world-class women including Tirfi Tsegaye (2:19:41 personal best, who ran an impressive 2:22:44 in Toronto in 2010), Aberu Kebede (2016 Berlin winner in 2:20:45) and two-time Toronto champion, Shure Demise.

“Yes, Shure has told me about the Toronto marathon, about its course and weather, and all the good people there,” Degefa admits. “My expectation in Toronto is to win with a good time.”

Not surprisingly Oljira is also targeting victory in Toronto.

“My main goal as for any athlete is to run a good time and to win the race,” she declares.

The pair come from vastly different backgrounds. Oljira grew up in Wellega district about 315km west of Addis. She started out running cross country and track with immediate success. Indeed, her first overseas venture was a cross country race in France where the first-place prize was a car. She won.

(09/02/2019) ⚡AMP
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Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half-Marathon & 5k Run / Walk is organized by Canada Running Series Inc., organizers of the Canada Running Series, "A selection of Canada's best runs!" Canada Running Series annually organizes eight events in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver that vary in distance from the 5k to the marathon. The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and Half-Marathon are...

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Prague Marathon champion Bornes Jepkirui will be heading the Kenyan runners at the Osaka Women’s Marathon

Jepkirui ran a well calculated first half of the race to take leadership from Amane Gobena of Ethiopia, who had crossed the 25km marker in 1:24.40 in Prague, clocking 2:24:19.

She crossed the finish line ahead of Ethiopians Belaynesh Oljira (2:25:13) and Amane Gobena, who finished third in 2:27:43. 

Jepkirui will be running alongside her compatriot Eunice Jeptoo.

Last year’s Osaka Marathon was dominated by Japanese women, with Mizuki Matsuda taking the title and Honami Maeda and Yuko Ando coming in second and third respectively.

Jeptoo, the defending champion of the Eindhoven Marathon in Netherlands, will be the athlete to beat at the Osaka Women’s Marathon, having clocked 2:26:13 in October in her win at the Eindhoven Marathon.

The 2019 Osaka race is also part of Japan’s Marathon Grand Championship series, a group of qualifying races for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic marathon team trial race.

There will also be Izabela Trzaskalska of Poland, who has a marathon best of 2:29:56. Japanese athletes are led by Nagoya marathon silver medalist Yuko Ando (2:21:36), Honami Maeda and Mizuki Matsuda.

(01/22/2019) ⚡AMP
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Osaka International Womens Marathon

Osaka International Womens Marathon

The Osaka International Ladies Marathon is an annual marathon road race for women over the classic distance of 42.195 kilometres which is held on the 4th or 5th Sunday of January in the city of Osaka, Japan, and hosted by Japan Association of Athletics Federations, Kansai Telecasting Corporation, the Sankei Shimbun, Sankei Sports, Radio Osaka and Osaka City. The first...

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Few could have predicted the winner of the women’s race in Prague

Bornes Jepkirui Kitur of Kenya ran to victory at the Volkswagen Prague Marathon on Sunday, May 6.  Few could have predicted the results in the women’s race.  Kitur wasn’t even considered in the favorite's group before the race, but she managed to hold off all challenges en route to a clear victory in 2:24:19. “I had a really good race, the only slight issue I found were the cobblestones," she said. "I managed to shave more than four minutes off my personal best and am really delighted to have won.” The 30-year-old set her previous personal best of 2:28:48 in Mumbai in January where she finished second. The second and third podium spots went to Ethiopians Belaynesh Oljira and Amane Gobena who clocked 2:27:43 and 2:25:13 respectively. The event's 24th edition featured 9778 runners. IAAF President Sebastian Coe started the race. (05/07/2018) ⚡AMP
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