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Creating the bubble, cutting-edge technology, flexible thinking – how the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon is the the only major city marathon to take place since the Covid-19 pandemic struck

The 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 4 October was the first major marathon in the world to take place since the Covid-19 pandemic changed the sporting landscape. It was also the first truly global sporting event in the UK to take place in a non-stadium or venue setting since the country went into lockdown in March. How was it done?

An autumn London Marathon for the first time

The 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon was due to be held on Sunday 26 April – that now seems a lifetime ago. As the Covid-19 epidemic turned into a global pandemic, London Marathon Events announced on Friday 13 March that the event had been postponed to Sunday 4 October, the first time ever the London Marathon would be held in the autumn.

The postponement was announced at a time when hundreds of events across the UK were being cancelled. However, London Marathon Events, unlike virtually all other organisers, was able to announce a new date thanks to the strong relationships and huge support for the world’s greatest marathon and biggest one day annual fundraising event from a multitude of stakeholders and partners.

Speaking immediately after communicating the news to all runners who had signed up to run in the 2020 race, Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the Virgin Money London Marathon, said: “We are extremely grateful for all the support we have received from City Hall, the London boroughs of Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, the City of Westminster and the City of London, Transport for London, the emergency services, The Royal Parks, BBC TV and many others as we worked to find an alternative date.”

Only certainty is uncertainty

When the 4 October date was announced on Friday 13 March, the hope and expectation of Brasher and his team was the event would run in its usual format in 2020, just six months later. But the true scale of the pandemic was only just beginning to emerge. Just 10 days after the postponement announcement, the UK went into a full lockdown. As the country remained in lockdown throughout spring and into early summer, the London Marathon Events team were looking at all options to deliver one of Britain’s flagship sporting events while others fell by the wayside, seemingly on an almost weekly basis.

Brasher spoke to reporters ahead of what would have been the date of the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 26 April and said: “The flame is still burning. And is there hope? Absolutely. But you have to do what’s right for society. You usually have 750,000 people out in central London watching 45,000 runners. Then there’s the medics, the 6,000 volunteers and the transport system. There’s so much to take into account when making any decision.”

London Marathon Events committed to making a final decision on the 2020 event by August and staff continued to work on a range of scenarios as the landscape changed on an almost weekly basis. Scenarios ranged from holding a socially-distanced mass event to an elite-only race. As Brasher said continuously to his team, ‘the only certainty is uncertainty and we have to remain agile’.

Elite race confirmed

A final decision had to be made.

The overall picture in the UK during July and going into August, though improving, did not indicate that an event involving 40,000 people running through the streets of London in October would be possible. Sport had returned but was taking place behind closed doors. Restrictions were lifting gradually but local lockdowns were being implemented and there was a growing sense that once autumn and winter arrived, cases would again be on the rise.

London Marathon Events had been working on plans to deliver a socially distanced mass participation event – either a run or a walk – and were looking to use new technology which would monitor the distance participants were from one another throughout their run (this planning did not go to waste as it would be used for the elite event, more of which later).

Ultimately, however, the challenge of managing spectators, ensuring the emergency services had access across London, the increased likelihood of a second spike and the ongoing concern about the pressure on the NHS, ensured a final decision was made that there could be no mass-participation event on the streets of London.

Instead, the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon would have an entirely new format for 2021: elite races only on a closed-loop circuit in central London and a virtual race for 45,000 people who were encouraged to run the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon – Your Way, the first virtual event in the 40 year history of the London Marathon.

Build it and they will come

When athletes’ agents were first contacted to ask if their runners would be interested in coming to London, the response was unequivocal: if London Marathon Events could build it then the world’s best would come – it was now down to Brasher’s team to hold up their end of the bargain.

How do you put on an elite race for more than 100 of the best marathon athletes on the planet in a safe, secure environment? That would be a challenge given 12 months of planning but for London Marathon Events, the total preparation time amounted to about eight weeks.

The first priority was confirming a course. All other sports that had returned to action during the course of the summer of 2020 had done so in either a stadium (think football and cricket) or in a secure venue such as Silverstone in the case of F1. There had been no organisation that had tried to close down public roads to create an event.

The team’s solution was to create a venue that could be contained and prevent general public access. The organisation has a long-standing and strong relationship with The Royal Parks, the Mayor of London’s Office and Westminster City Council and their support meant the first choice of course could go ahead: the event to be held on a closed-loop circuit around St James’s Park in central London which would ensure the iconic finish on The Mall would remain in the same place as it has done for the past 27 years.

A constant dialogue with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) ensured that the Government gave its blessing to the plans and granted the necessary permissions for athlete travel. With the green light given, a 19.7 lap closed-loop circuit was created which followed the perimeter of St James’s Park, starting and finishing on The Mall. Screened barriers were to be erected on either side of the course to deter people from coming to watch on the day and, in effect, a venue had been created in the heart of London.

The London Marathon Events team was also able to build on invaluable experience from 12 months earlier as an integral part of the delivery team that put on the INEOS 1.59 Challenge, Eliud Kipchoge’s historic sub two hour marathon which took place on a closed loop circuit in Vienna. For that event, the team had carried out detailed research on putting a marathon on a looped course and, furthermore, when searching for a course for the INEOS 1.59 Challenge, had explored the the possibility of staging the challenge on the St James’s Park loop.

Creating a biosecure bubble

Securing a course and a world-class line up in four races (elite men, elite women and men’s and women’s wheelchair) was the relatively easy part – or at least areas of great expertise for the London Marathon Events team. However the team had no previous experience in putting on an event in a Covid-19 world but they learnt fast.

To make the race completely safe and secure for athletes and all staff, the team created a biosecure bubble around the event. Information on the best way to do this was garnered from other sports which had returned to action, as well as from medical and security experts and Government advisors from DCMS.

The biosecure bubble would be created from the moment the elite athletes arrived in the country to the moment they left the UK after the race. In total it amounted to a nine-day window from Sunday 28 September to Monday 5 October.

The first challenge was finding a location where elite marathon athletes could stay for the week leading up to the race. A checklist was drawn up for what was needed: exclusive use of a hotel, within an hour’s travelling distance from the course, grounds large enough for athletes to train in, big enough to create socially distanced eating and relaxation areas, the ability to hold remote press conferences…the list was exhaustive.

Eventually a hotel was found about 60 minutes outside central London. Its identity was kept secret to prevent anyone from turning up to see athletes. Hotel staff were booked in for the full eight days to ensure they were in the bubble and security was booked to man the site 24/7.

Race sponsor Abbott, a life-changing tech company and global diagnostics leader, provided the critically important Covid-19 testing for the elite athletes, staff and everyone else working in the biosecure bubble.

All elite athletes, their coaches and support staff had to undertake a Covid-19 test in their country of origin before flying into London, Anyone who failed a test could not travel. In addition, every single person that went into the hotel from the UK had to return a negative Covid-19 test four days prior to arrival. Everyone was tested again the day they arrived at the hotel and again on Friday 2 October. Absolutely nothing was left to chance.

Of all the athletes and support staff invited to London, only two people, both from Ethiopia, had positive Covid-19 tests prior to travel. Degitu Azimeraw, the 2019 Amsterdam Marathon champion, and Haji Adillio, the coach to the eventual men’s champion Shura Kitata, were the unfortunate pair prevented from travelling. Adillio had been away from home and only in contact by telephone with his athletes for the 10 days prior to the travel window, meaning his athletes could still travel.

Another headache for the London Marathon team was getting the athletes from their countries to London in a safe environment. The majority of the international athletes were coming from East Africa, either Kenya or Ethiopia, so to mitigate against the risk of small groups travelling on different scheduled flights to the UK, a charter flight was booked for all of the East Africans. The plane, containing world record holders Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei, made stops in Eldoret, Kenya, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, before heading to London.

Elsewhere around the world, athletes were boarding planes in the likes of Chicago, Melbourne and Amsterdam on their way to London.

On arrival at the hotel, every athlete and support staff member was tested again by the Abbott team and all tested negative. Everyone resident in the bubble was then tested again on Friday 2 October, two days before race day, for a final time. Given all the hard work and effort that had been put in by the organisers to this point, awaiting the final test results was undoubtedly the nerviest time in the entire event.

Extra reinforcement with cutting-edge Bump technology

Though the Friday testing was an anxious time for all, London Marathon staff were reassured by the knowledge that they had done everything in their power to ensure all those in the hotel were Covid free, including introducing new technology to implement social distancing.

The Bump devices, created by Tharsus, were worn by all elite athletes and 500 members of the Virgin Money London Marathon’s operational team both in the athlete hotel and at the venue to help maintain the biosecure bubble for the event.

The Bump devices were attached to a lanyard and worn around the neck like a medal. Bump helped inform effective social-distancing behaviour by using sophisticated Radio Frequency technology to create a 'Personal Motion System' that immediately alerts wearers when they are getting too close to another person. Going within two metres of someone prompted a blue flashing light and within 1.2 metres a red flashing light and loud beeping noise.

Data was downloaded daily which allowed organisers to accurately monitor how often and how long elite athletes and event staff spent in close proximity to each other. If anyone in the bubble tested positive for Covid-19 either during the event or during the two weeks following the event, organisers would be able to trace interactions back to specific wearers and inform them accordingly.

These Bump devices were part of the new normal in the elite athlete hotel as the best marathoners in the world got used to the flashing warning lights and sounds should they get too close to another person.

Away from the hotel, the Bumps were worn by all staff working on the build of the event site in the run-up to and on race day itself as the team prepared to build a venue on the Queen’s front garden befitting The 40th Race in London Marathon history.

Race Day

A quick glance at the BBC television pictures on race day morning and you would have been forgiven for thinking that though it might have been six months later, it looked like the same old London Marathon – with the familiar iconic finish on The Mall. But the reality was very different. Just like the work that went into delivering the hotel bubble, every last intricate detail of Race Day was planned to ensure the bubble, which would travel from hotel to the venue, would remain secure.

From the individual areas (including personal toilets!) provided for each athlete to the socially-distanced media interviews post-race, nothing was overlooked.

The halt to trials of bringing fans back to sport in September extinguished any hope that some spectators would be allowed into the venue which meant staff were brought in to patrol the interior and exterior perimeters of the route – though the awful weather on the day did mean most people were content to watch it in the warmth of their homes.

A very limited number of media was allowed into the venue with London Marathon Events creating their own content service which pushed out interviews and B-roll footage throughout the day. This followed the virtual press conferences held during race week and the daily updates of life inside the bubble in video and photographic form which were produced every day from the athletes’ hotel and made available for free to all media.

The only lack of social distancing that took place for the whole week was when the racing started but women’s world record holder Brigid Kosgei is used to running solo and she proved again that she is streets ahead of the opposition to win the first race of the day, in heavy rain and wind. However Kosgei was the only favourite to come out on top in a year where the unexpected really should have been expected.

Men’s world record holder, sub-two hour marathon man and four-time champion Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) dramatically surrendered his title with Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata triumphing while both Brent Lakatos (Canada) and Nikita den Boer (Netherlands) overturned the form books to win the wheelchair races.

For all the winners, their moments of triumph will be memories they will never forget. But even in the instant triumph of winning the greatest marathon in the world, they were reminded this is 2020 and nothing is as it was. Bumps were returned, celebratory pictures and media interviews were held with social distancing prioritised and the never-to-be-forgotten moment of standing on top of the podium in front of Buckingham Palace, posing for pictures was done while wearing a face mask – an image that will forever capture the London Marathon in 2020.

While Kipchoge – the greatest marathon runner in history - was not on the podium himself this time, he summed up the feelings of all the athletes that had taken part when he said: “I want to thank the organisation of the London Marathon for going the extra mile to make the event possible. It shows what’s possible and gives hope other organisations can incorporate their plans to make sports possible in current times.”

Long after Kipchoge and the other elites had left The Mall, darkness had descended and London Marathon staff were in a race against time to deconstruct the venue they had built for this historic occasion.

In the murky October gloom, hundreds of staff worked in the rain and wind to take down in a matter of hours what had been months in the planning. Amid the usual flurry of work seen while de-rigging a site, there was one recurring and very 2020 sight and sound: the flashing lights and warning beeps of the Bump technology that ensured everyone, to the very end, did all they could to protect one another in a year and an event like no other.

That was The 40th Race.

(10/24/2020) Views: 41 ⚡AMP
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Stephen Scullion sets new Irish Marathon record in London Marathon

An Irish record for Stephen Scullion, an unexpected defeat for pre-race favorite Eliud Kipchoge and business as usual for Brigid Kosgei were just some of the talking points from yesterday’s very unusual London Marathon.

Run over 19 and a bit laps of St James Park, an autumn date and no spectators all marked out the 40th edition of the event as very different to the norm.

One aspect not to change was the unpredictable nature of marathon racing.

Things have been going swimmingly for Scullion over the past 12 months, apart from the occasional retirement.

A runner-up spot and Irish title at last year’s Dublin Marathon were followed by a fifth place in the Houston Marathon last January.

That qualified him for the Olympics because it was a gold standard marathon, although his time was outside the 2:11:30 qualifying standard.

As much affected by the lockdown as everyone else, the 31-year-old Belfast man set the athletics world talking with a Northern Ireland half-marathon record in Larne last month.

But surely only a few expected him to become arguably the fastest Irishman of all time with a 2:09:49 clocking for 11th in yesterday’s race.

Scullion put down a marker from early on, moving away from a group, consisting largely of British runners chasing the Olympic qualifying time and paced by Sir Mo Farah.

Instead, he ran in a small group of three, equidistant between the lead pack and Mo’s gang, for most of the way.

Whilst many faded in the rainy conditions, the Clonliffe Harrier stayed strong to complete his best-ever performance over the 26.2 mile distance.

Whilst Scullion’s time clearly displaces Kevin Seaward (2:10:09) as NI record-holder, it also eclipses John Treacy’s 2:09:56, set when winning the silver medal at the LA Olympics, as the national record.

(10/05/2020) Views: 85 ⚡AMP
by Malcolm McCausland
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Kitata conquers Kipchoge while Kosgei retains title at London Marathon and US Sara Hall finishes second

The man is fallible after all. Eliud Kipchoge’s reign of invincibility came to a crushing end with an eighth-place finish at the Virgin Money London Marathon, a World Athletics Platinum Label race, as Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata won a dramatic, last-gasp sprint to take the honours in the men’s race.

Kipchoge, the Olympic champion and world record-holder and unbeaten in 10 previous marathons, had been widely expected to claim an unprecedented fifth London title in his first race since making history by breaking the two-hour barrier in Vienna.

His principal challenger, Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekeke, had been forced to withdraw with a calf injury just two days before the race, while Kipchoge had cut a confident figure in the build-up as he discussed how well his preparations had gone.

Moments before he went to the start-line, fellow Kenyan Brigid Kosgei had raced to a runaway victory to retain her London crown, and few predicted anything but a Kipchoge triumph to complete a Kenyan double.

But this time, the race did not follow the usual script. Looking comfortable among a lead group of nine runners for much of the race, Kipchoge appeared to be biding his time before launching a characteristic surge of pace to break up the field.

On this occasion, though, the attack failed to materialise. Instead, the tables were turned on the mighty Kenyan as his rivals launched a breakaway with three miles of the race remaining.

With Kipchoge unable to respond, a lead group of five soon turned into a three-way battle between Kitata, fellow Ethiopian Sisay Lemma and the towering Kenyan, Vincent Kipchumba. Kipchoge, meanwhile, was disappearing into the distance.

In one of the most exciting finishes in London Marathon memory, Kipchumba was the first to strike for home, only to be overtaken on the line by the diminutive Kitata. Just a single second separated the two men as Kitata clocked a winning time of 2:05:41.

“I prepared very well for this race,” Kitata, 24, said afterwards. "Kenenisa Bekele helped me. I am very happy to win the race.”

Lemma was third in 2:04:45 while Kipchoge crossed the line in eighth in 2:06:42 – his slowest ever time in a city marathon. It was his first defeat since 2013.

“I am really disappointed,” Kipchoge said afterwards. “I don't know what happened.

“The last 15km, I felt my right ear was blocked and I had cramp in my hip and leg.

“It just happened in the race. I started well. It's really cold but I don't blame the conditions.”

It was a remarkable outcome to an extraordinary race, which was staged for the first time over 19 laps of a closed-loop course around St James’s Park in central London after the original race scheduled for April had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The course was also off limits to spectators to maintain a ‘biosecure’ bubble for the athletes and support staff. It was just a shame that no one was there to witness in person one of the most dramatic men’s races in the event’s 40-year history.

By contrast, the women’s race followed a more predictable path.

Kosgei, the overwhelming pre-race favourite after obliterating Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old world record when she won in Chicago last October in a stunning 2:14:04, delivered another imperious performance to retain her London crown.

Her time of 2:18:58 may have been 38 seconds slower than her victory a year ago, but her winning margin of more than three minutes spoke volumes for her dominance. At the age of just 26, she is already taking the marathon into uncharted territory.

“I just tried my best,” she said afterwards. “The weather affected us today. There was some wind and rain all the way, which made our muscles colder. No one could warm up so it was difficult to even finish.”

Earlier in the race, Kosgei’s main challenge came from fellow Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich, the world champion and London debutant, as the pair set a hot pace to break away just before the 10-mile mark.

The halfway split of 1:08:15 put the duo on track to lower Mary Keitany’s women’s only world record of 2:17:01, though the soggy conditions and tight corners on the looped course were never going to be conducive to record-breaking times.

Chepngetich made a brave attempt to surge away from Kosgei after the midway point, though the attack was swiftly countered and the pair settled into a more sedate pace for several miles, ending all thoughts of breaking records.

It was after the 19-mile mark that Kosgei made the decisive attack and this time Chepngetich had no answer, dropping back quickly and looking suddenly fatigued as she evidently paid the price for going with the early pace.

As Kosgei’s race turned in a one-woman exhibition over the closing miles, the real contest was taking place further back in the field as veteran Sara Hall of the US overhauled Ethiopia’s Ashete Bekere to move into third place before training her sights on the tiring Chepngetich.

In an exciting sprint finish that presaged the men’s race a couple of hours later, Hall, 37, found the energy to burst past the Kenyan with just 80 metres remaining, crossing the line in second place in a lifetime best of 2:22:01 for her first ever top-three finish in a major city marathon. Chepngetich finished four seconds behind her.

It was also the first time an able-bodied US athlete had made it on to the London Marathon podium since Deena Kastor’s victory in 2006 – an achievement that will help atone for Hall’s disappointment in failing to gain selection for the Tokyo Olympics at last year’s US Olympic trials.

 

(10/04/2020) Views: 105 ⚡AMP
by Simon Hart for World Athletics
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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World record holder Eliud Kipchoge loses to retain 2020 London Marathon title.

World record holder Eliud Kipchoge loses the 40th London Marathon  after finishing at 8th position in time of 2:08:42.Shura Kitata from Ethiopia won with a time of 2:05:42 which was a close finish with Vincent Kipchumba 2:05:45.Lemma Sisay came third 2:05:45  after leading from 25km to almost 41.8km where the high pace set by Kitata edge him out of the lead and settled at third position

The men race which was full of surprises saw Eliud Kipchoge who has won four London marathons and never lost for seven years over the distance dropped at 22-mile mark  due to stomach issues,hip problem and right ear blockage.

The men had 3 pace makers who helped them crossed 5km in 14:48,10km 29:45 and all through 15km in 44:31. At 25km , Lemma Sisay hicked the pace higher making the group goes in a single lane.Vincent Kipchumba picked a paced through 30km at 1:29:00.Mo farah on the chasing pack  was pacing for European athletes who wanted to beat personal best and also Olympics qualifyers time.

In the women category ,world record holder Brigid kosgei swept a win in 2:18:58 followed a distance away by Hall Sara of USA 2:22:01 while Ruth Chepngetich settle at 2:22:05.Sara Hall set her pb after outshining Chepngetich(KE) in the last 300m who had harmstring problem.

The women race had pacemakers than included Vivian Kiplagat that did a nice job despite harsh weather conditions with incessant rain with alot of humidity and low temperatures of about 9 degrees celsius.The 19.7 laps race around St. James Park rather than normal  traditional route was tough for the majority of the athletes that saw the likes of Vivian Cheruiyot dropped in the middle of the race.The 2020 London marathon route was change to loop running due to covid-19 pandemic that has affected all sports facilities in the entire world.

(10/04/2020) Views: 89 ⚡AMP
by Willie Korir reporting from Kenya
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Run with Paula Radcliffe in the fast 10k virtually

The World Athletics Half Marathon Championships are just a couple of weeks away, and race organizers in Gdynia, Poland, have provided one last challenge ahead of the free virtual mass participation race.

The Fast 10k with Paula Radcliffe is the final test of fitness for participants who plan to run the half-marathon, and they can do it (virtually) alongside one of the best marathoners in history, after whom the challenge is named. 

Radcliffe is an Olympian, a British and European record-holder many times over and the former women’s marathon world record-holder. Her marathon best was only recently beaten by Brigid Kosgei, who lowered Radcliffe’s longstanding record of 2:15:25 at the Chicago Marathon in 2019. In a promotional video for the Gdynia event and her virtual challenge, Radcliffe says the “World Half Marathon Championships have a very special place in my heart.

It was my first world title. I won three World Half Marathon Championships and all of them were extremely special to me.” She won the world half-marathon titles in 2000, 2001 and 2003, the same year she set her marathon world record. 

This is the last of the virtual “warmup events” that have been organized for competitors by the Gdynia 2020 team. There was also a one-mile run with World Athletics head Seb Coe and a 5K with British Olympian Eilish McColgan, among other events. It’s easy to participate. Simply head to the event website, download the Gdynia 2020 tracking app and head off on your 10K challenge in preparation for your virtual half-marathon. 

The mass participation race was cancelled and changed to a virtual format for 2020 due to COVID-19, but the elite race is still set to go ahead. The race has a number of big names ready to run, and it should be an exciting one to watch.

Newly-minted 5,000m world record-holder Joshua Cheptegei will be debuting at the distance in Gdynia, and he will be lining up alongside a strong Canadian team that’s made up of Trevor Hofbauer, Justin Kent, Phil Parrot-Migas, Benjamin Preisner and Thomas Toth. The lone woman heading to Poland to represent Canada is former national half and full marathon record-holder Rachel Cliff. 

For anyone interested in participating in either the The Fast 10k with Paula Radcliffe challenge or the virtual half-marathon, it’s not too late to sign up.

(10/02/2020) Views: 88 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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World Half Marathon Championships

World Half Marathon Championships

The first one was first held in 1992. The collaboration with the world half marathon championships allows the Trinidad Alfonso Foundation to continue its strategy of supporting sports events that help to position València as the city of running. It has been the main contributor to the Valencia Marathon and Half Marathon for the past five years. The Spanish Federation...

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Brigid Kosgei and Ruth Chepngetich will use controversial shoes worn by Eliud Kipchoge in the London Marathon

Kenyan duo Brigid Kosgei and Ruth Chepngetich will use controversial shoes worn by Eliud Kipchoge in the London Marathon on Sunday.

Kenya's Kipchoge broke the two-hour barrier in an unofficial event in Vienna last October when he wore the platform Alphafly Next% shoes.

While the shoes allowed by World Athletics' regulations, they are estimated to improve running economy by up to eight per cent.

Kipchoge's record led to calls for the Nike shoes to be banned, but women's marathon world record holder Kosgei is adamant the runner makes the difference rather than the footwear.

Asked which shoes she would be wearing in the her London Marathon title defence, 2019 champion Kosgei said: "The ones Kipchoge will use.

"You know the shoes could not run. It is someone who can run, it's not the shoes, it does not depend on the shoes.

"If I use the training shoes and the body is not there, you cannot run good. So for me it's just the body which enables me to run good, it is not the shoes."

Kosgei's fellow Kenyan -- reigning world champion Chepngetich -- also confirmed she would wear the shoes.

Kosgei and Chepngetich said their training had been interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, with their training camps both closed temporarily, leaving the pair having to train alone.

At the Chicago Marathon in October last year, Kosgei set a world record with a time of 2 hours 14 minutes 4 seconds, but she will not be targeting a better time on Sunday.

"We did not get a group like last year, (when) we are in groups together we just had to push each other. So it's not like in Chicago but I will try," she said.

(10/02/2020) Views: 114 ⚡AMP
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Ethiopia`s Degitu Azimeraw withdraws from London Marathon after positive COVID-19 test

An Ethiopian runner had to pull out of the London Marathon after she and the coach of two other elite marathoners tested positive for the coronavirus, the race director said Tuesday.

Degitu Azimeraw, who won the 2019 Amsterdam Marathon, and coach Haji Adilo tested positive in Ethiopia.

"As a result (of the positive tests), they didn't get on the plane," London Marathon event director Hugh Brasher said in a conference call ahead of Sunday's race.

Adilo is the coach of Ethiopian runners Shura Kitata and Alemu Megertu, both of whom will remain in the race because there was no "face-to-face contact" with their coach in the past two weeks, Brasher said.

The London race has all the trappings of a 2020 sporting event: hotel bubble for athletes, competition modifications and no spectators. Athletes and their coaches are staying at a hotel reserved only for them outside London.

Protocols required virus testing before athletes left for London and on the day of their arrival. They'll also be tested on Friday.

Instead of snaking along the River Thames, the athletes will compete on a 26.2-mile (42.2 kilometer) closed-loop course consisting of 19.6 clockwise laps around St. James' Park, ending on the Mall. It should be a fast course for defending champions Eliud Kipchoge, Brigid Kosgei and their challengers, but potential wet weather could dampen hopes of world records.

"Heavy rain is not ideal conditions to do a world record in," Brasher said of current forecasts. "You want light winds, you want dry conditions.

"We, whatever the conditions, believe that there will be some incredible racing that will live long in people's memory, and it could be incredibly quick."

Only one other World Marathon Major -- Tokyo -- was held this year as Boston, Berlin, Chicago and New York all canceled because of the pandemic. Like Tokyo, London's field was reduced to elites only.

Even with prize money slashed nearly in half, the event has drawn elite runners who have had few opportunities to compete during the pandemic.

(10/01/2020) Views: 87 ⚡AMP
by Associated Press
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Eliud Kipchoge has unveiled the shoes he will use for London Marathon this Sunday, inspired by Kenyan flag

Eliud Kipchoge, the world marathon record holder, will be cladding a Kenyan flag-inspired Nike “Alpha fly N% Kenya”, custom made for him for this race.

"The shoes for Sunday's competition. Inspired by colours of the Kenyan flag, representing (the) great people of this beautiful country and to celebrate one year anniversary of the achievement 1:59:40 in marathon distance by EK," Kipchoge posted in his official Facebook page.

It is an Alpha fly N% shoe, just like the one he used during the Ineos 1:59 Challenge in Vienna last year.

The personal details include a green-and-red colourway – a nod to the national flag of Kenya. The shoes also feature the runner’s initials and 1:59:40 – the time he ran in Vienna.

The Kenyan distance running legend became the first man to run the marathon in under two hours after clocking 1:59:40.2 in Vienna.

This Sunday, Kipchoge comes face-to-face with Ethiopia's distance running great Kenenisa Bekele, who is also the second fastest man in marathon.

There were some complaints after the Ineos 1:59 Challenge with ritics claiming that the shoe had multiple carbon plates and there were calls for it to be banned from competition.

However, Kipchoge and Nike have always insisted that it’s not about the shoes but the person using them.

“The shoes have not been banned hence I am looking forward to another great show on them as I seek my fourth victory on the course,” said Kipchoge during the launch of domestic tourism at the Serena Mara in the Maasai Mara, Narok County in August.

Defending women’s London Marathon champion Brigid Kosgei also used similar shoes when she set the women’s world marathon record in winning the Chicago Marathon in 2:14:04, just a day after Kipchoge’s exploits in Vienna.

Then Bekele would come close to breaking Kipchoge’s world marathon record of 2:01:39 set by Kipchoge in Berlin in 2018 by two seconds when he won in Berlin in 2:01:41 last year.

Nike's Vaporfly range was the talk around the world with the feeling that it gave undue advantage to other runners owing to its sole technology.

However, World Athletics — the global athletics governing body —  said it will not ban the shoes but would instead institute tighter regulations around high-tech running shoes.

(10/01/2020) Views: 136 ⚡AMP
by Ayumba Ayodi
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Vivian Cheruiyot will be heading to London Marathon for the fourth time

Cheruiyot is on the celebrity elite list of athletes who will jet out Sunday night for the eagerly-anticipated London Marathon next weekend.

Big names will be on parade in the women’s race. Cheruiyot will be up against compatriots; world marathon champion Ruth Chepng’etich, Frankfurt Marathon champion Valary Jemeli Aiyabei, world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei, who is also the defending champion, and debutant Edith Chelimo.

There will be special focus on the men’s race which has two of the finest athletes over the distance competing. World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge and Berlin Marathon champion, Kenenisa Bekele.

Cheruiyot mainly trained in Kaptagat and Eldoret. She scaled down her training schedule a bit when the race was postponed from April 26 to October 4 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cheruiyot told Nation Sport she was in great shape before the race was cancelled. The athlete, who spoke after a speed session at Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Eldoret, said she was disappointed when the race was put off.

“I had finished my programme and I was ready to conquer the world. If the race was to be held then, I would have been in a very good position,”  she said.

After the setback, Cheruiyot encouraged herself that things will return to normal since health was more important.

“Everyone has been affected by the virus because it is a worldwide pandemic. We are happy that athletics is opening up slowly, which is a good sign,” she said.

“My preparations for the race have been thorough for the last two months. So far, so good. I expect stiff competition on Sunday, but I am ready for the challenge ahead,” Cheruiyot said.

Asked if she is in good shape compared to 2018 when she last won the race, Cheruiyot said that she feels "much better."

“My prayer is to run well and clock a personal best. But the most important thing is to win the race. There are able competitors in the race because everyone has trained hard. I will focus on my race,” Cheruiyot said.

She said usually there is the pre-race anxiety over how the race will unfold, but she does not fear her opponents because she has prepared adequately.

“I don’t fear anybody, but there is always tension over how the big day will turn out. Every runner is good in her own right. The  thought that may stick in your head is the position you will be after the 42 kilometres race,” she said.

Cheruiyot said running in a loop will be an advantage though doing that for 42km is really challenging, but she will do her best.

“The route was changed due to the virus. I love going one way instead of running in a loop which is not hard because I have done this before in the track events.  But I will concentrate on the race. I’m aiming for good results."

Cheruiyot said that training for speed was very important because it helps an athlete prepare for anything that might come up towards the end of the race.

The athlete, fondly known as “pocket rocket”, has won many accolades in her career.

Cheruiyot started participating in international races in 1998 when she represented Kenya in the World Cross Country Championships in Marrakech, Morocco. She emerged fifth in the junior category.

Cheruiyot later switched to track events with her specialty being the 5,000m and 10,000m races where she registered mixed results.

(09/28/2020) Views: 109 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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SARA HALL REFLECTS ON HARD WORK AND MOTHERHOOD IN BUILD UP TO LONDON MARATHON

Running At Peak Form Into Her Late 30s, Hall Continues Lifelong Pattern Of Putting In The Effort

When the future of racing in 2020 looked bleak as the COVID-19 crisis swept the world last spring, Sara Hall didn’t lose hope.

“I started training for a marathon in faith, before I knew there would be any real competitions,” said Hall, who has been eager to finally move past her heartbreaking performance from February at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, where she dropped out at mile 22.

“It would have been easier just to hit the couch, but I set my mind on running a marathon, some way some how.”

Even if it meant racing 26.2 miles by herself, she said.

Ryan Hall, a two-time U.S. Olympic marathoner who retired in 2016, said his wife’s relentless competitive drive is one of his biggest challenges as her coach.

“She loves to train hard, but has a hard time taking extended breaks,” he said. “She is always ‘chomping at the bit’ to get back out there.”

When Hall heard that the London Marathon would host a highly secure, elite-only race amid the pandemic, she jumped at the precious opportunity.

On Oct. 4, she will face some of the world’s best marathoners, including defending London champion and world record holder Brigid Kosgei of Kenya and U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials champion Molly Seidel.

“Getting into the London Marathon felt like such a reward for a lot of perseverance this year — being willing to put in the work on faith alone,” said Hall, 37. “It felt against all odds to get to toe the line in a world marathon major.”

‘Against all odds’ is a familiar theme for Hall, a mother of four who has posted the fastest times of her career well into her 30s, including a 2:22 marathon last year in Berlin, where she finished fifth. Last month, with two male pacers, she ran a personal best of 1:08:18 in a half marathon along the Row River Trail in south of Eugene, Oregon, making her the sixth-fastest American woman ever in that distance.

A former Foot Locker Cross Country National Champion in high school and distance standout at Stanford University, Hall has competed at the highest levels of distance running for two decades — a great accomplishment in itself.

“It’s definitely surprised me,” she said of her longevity in the sport. “I think it’s a lot of factors, but I think the biggest are being naturally durable and learning to be really mentally-emotionally resilient.”

Ten years ago, after disappointing results as a 1,500-meter and 5,000-meter runner on the track, Hall thought her elite running career was over. She credits her Christian faith and Ryan with convincing her she had more to achieve.

Since then, she’s not only moved up to and mastered the marathon distance, she’s done it while becoming a mother to four adopted sisters from Ethiopia.

“When we adopted them, I didn’t think I’d be able to keep competing, but instead I’ve improved every year since they’ve been here,” said Hall, who is using her race in London to raise money for homeless children in Ethiopia, where she and Ryan have spent a lot of time working on various causes.

“I get to model to (my daughters) so many character aspects I want to instill in them: picking yourself up after defeat, taking risks, hard work, commitment,” she said. “Running is the greatest teacher.”

Inspired by their parents, three of the Halls' daughters have become runners. The oldest, Hana, currently a freshman runner at Grand Canyon University, won the Division 2 Arizona Cross Country Championships last fall. Hana and Mia, 16, both ran with their mom at the half marathon in Oregon.

In addition managing her kids’ remote learning and getting in her workouts, Hall has made time to discuss the racial justice movements happening across the United States.

“I’ve told my daughters about George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor,” she said. “We’ve discussed the movement in the U.S. and the systemic racism over the last 400 years that is the backstory to these recent events. I personally have been learning a lot.”

Despite the world’s turmoil in recent months, Hall has maintained extraordinary focus on the road ahead.

In the London Marathon, which will be held on a closed-loop course around St. James Park, she hopes to snag a new personal best and would love to finally land on the podium, after finishing fifth at the Frankfurt and Berlin Marathons.

“I’m focused on having my best marathon yet,” she said.

(09/26/2020) Views: 123 ⚡AMP
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Frankfurt Marathon champion Valary Jemeli Aiyabei is currently ranked as the 10th fastest woman in marathon history

Vegetables vendor who conquered the Frankfurt marathon, ranked as the 10th fastest woman in marathon history.

This is after breaking the course record in Frankfurt last year, winning in two hours, 19 minutes and 10 seconds.

But she’s not done yet and will be seeking to move up the pecking order at the London Marathon next Sunday.

Her’s is an amazing story of a late bloomer who started off selling vegetables to eke out a living before taking to athletics.

In London, she will be competing against compatriots, defending champion Brigid Kosgei, 2018 champion Vivian Cheruiyot, world marathon champion Ruth Chepng’etich and debutant Edith Chelimo.

Aiyabei told Nation Sport that her preparations for the London race are complete and that she looks forward to a good race.

“My training was injury free and I’m happy because despite the Covid-19 challenges, I managed to train well and I’m just waiting for the race day,” said Aiyabei.

She also said that training in a group helps athletes gauge their limit but she has been training alone which she feels that she has done well so far.

“It’s my first time to compete in London Marathon and I will be doing my best despite the fact that I was training alone. I trust I did well and finished my training programme and I will be implementing what I have done so far,” she added.

Went there to set up business

Aiyabei joins the long list of athletes who started their training and ventured straight into the road and marathon races. She trains in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County, where she has called home since 2011 when she went there to set up business but decided to join athletes who used to train every day.

Aiyabei comes from a humble background and after graduating from Kapkitony High School in Elgeyo Marakwet, life was hard and she decided to shift base to Iten where she started a small business to keep her going. The athlete decided to look for some income generation and her mind clicked Iten, a busy town full of athletes training for various races where she thought there could be good circulation of cash.

It was while she was selling her vegetables and fruits, that she could see athletes training every day and she was attracted to the sport.

“Poverty pushed me to Iten town where I used to hear that athletes were camping and I wanted to go there and make money. In my interaction with them, I came to love the sport and I started training in the morning and evening every day,” said Aiyabei.

She started training on road races and she later had her first child, Michelle Chebet, before getting back to serious training.

“With good training I’m very much sure that I can still lower that time but my target is to also run a world record time in the near future,” said Aiyabei.

At the Frankfurt Marathon, Aiyabei broke from the leading pack with her husband Ken Tarus pacing for her in the initial stages before he dropped out of the race after feeling unwell.

“It was tough running alone when the pacemaker dropped but I kept going because I wanted to win the race. Breaking early saved me because the Ethiopian athlete (Kebede) looked strong and she would have beaten me in the final part of the race,” said Aiyabei.

(09/26/2020) Views: 105 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Abu Dhabi Marathon champion Vivian Kiplagat is among the athletes enlisted late to lay the groundwork for the women’s elite London Marathon field

So stellar is the London Marathon cast that they have an Abu Dhabi and Honolulu Marathon champion as pacemaker.

Never mind the fact that multiple world and Olympic champion Mo Farah is also a “rabbit” for the October 4 race that will be televised live on NTV.

Abu Dhabi Marathon champion Vivian Jerono Kiplagat is among the athletes enlisted late to lay the groundwork for the women’s elite field.

The London Marathon is the only World Marathon Majors race scheduled post-coronavirus after Berlin, Boston, New York and Chicago marathons were cancelled.

Tokyo managed to sneak in an elite-only race in March before all hell broke lose, coronavirus-wise.

Kiplagat, who has been training with the world record holder Brigid Kosgei in Kapsait, Elgeyo Marakwet County, is optimistic that her training mate will retain her title and if possible run a course record.

Pacing for the first time in history, the soft-spoken athlete said that she has done adequate training and will be looking forward to a good race on October 4.

“I have done good training and I believe I will be able to finish the required distance but the most important thing is to help my friend and training mate Brigid to retain her title. She has done well in training and I trust her when she lines for the race,” she said.

Kiplagat was preparing for the Paris Marathon and was looking forward to be on the podium, but, just like many other athletes, she was rudely interrupted by coronavirus.

This made her reduce her work load aiming to just to keep fit as she waits for another season but she is happy she will be racing anyway.

“I was supposed to compete in Paris and I was in good shape… I knew I would be on the podium there, but the virus stopped my plans. It affected everybody and I’m happy I have been tasked to pace for London athletes. I will be doing my best despite the fact that it’s my first time,” said Kiplagat.

She noted that despite the huge expectations having been training with the world record holder, and coupled with the fact that she will be competing with the best in the world, she is confident that she’s up to the task.

“I was called upon to come back to the camp which is still closed for the other athletes and we had to prepare for the last three months. We are now finalising on our programme as we look forward to a good race,” she said.

Kiplagat also said that Brigid has been her mentor and she wants to run in future like her as she looks forward to taking the sport to another level.

“Athletics will always change, and I want to be in history as one of the athletes who took the sport to another level. My fans should watch this space!” she declared.

Kiplagat then stormed to victory in Abu Dhabi Marathon last year after she clocked 2:21:11, setting another new personal best, shaving over a minute off the time set in her victory at the Milano Marathon in 2019.

(09/25/2020) Views: 91 ⚡AMP
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Why young Kenyan Sandra Chebet cannot wait for London Marathon?

It’s baffling that, at just 22 years of age, Sandrafelis Chebet has fallen in love with road running.

Ideally, one would expect her to gain some track experience from the middle distance to the 10,000 meters before hitting the asphalt.

The dearth of Kenyan talent in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters, with just Hellen Obiri to bank on, means Kenyan coaches needed to have enticed the likes of Chebet to work on the track, hoping to stop the potentially dangerous streak by Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan that could threaten Kenya’s gold medal hopes at the Tokyo Olympics next year.

Nonetheless, the 2015 World Under-18 Championships silver medalist in the 2,000 meters steeplechase hopes that her enlisting to pace the women’s lead group at next month’s London Marathon will motivate her to bigger things.

Chebet has been tasked with pacing for the lead group of women in London who include world record holder and defending champion Brigid Kosgei, world champion Ruth Chepng’etich, 2018 champion Vivian Cheruiyot, Frankfurt Marathon champion Valary Aiyabei and debutant Edith Chelimo.

Nation Sport caught up with Chebet at Lemotit Athletics Camp in Londiani, Kericho County, where she said her featuring in a major marathon will help improve her performance.

“I’m lucky to have been selected as one of the ‘rabbits’ who will be pacing for the lead group in London,” she said.

“It’s a tough task, but I will do my best to make sure I deliver good results,” said Chebet who is under the Italy-based Rosa Associati management, the same stable as Kosgei and Chepng’etich.

Chebet admitted that when the coronavirus struck, everything came to a standstill and with the closure of training camps, she decided to continue her training following the guidelines from the ministry of health of social distancing.

“It was tough training in a group of three or less but I’m happy because I was not discouraged knowing that the virus will be contained and competitions will resume.

“I went on with my training and with the big assignment ahead, I will do what I can to deliver,” she said.

She praised her training partner Beatrice Chebet, who is also the World Cross Country Championships’ junior title holder, for her assistance in speed work session.

“Beatrice has been of great help to me because she has good techniques in finishing which is good for an athlete, and I have been always ready to listen from her,” added Chebet who has a half marathon personal best time of 68:14.

Still only 22, Chebet looks forward to graduating to the full marathon in future and believes that pacing the best athletes in the world in London gives her the much needed drive.

She looks at it as a learning experience.

“I have participated in various half marathon races and by next year, I will be shifting to the full marathon where I want to register my name as one of the best in the distance, but I have to start slowly before becoming a world beater,” she added.

She said her mentors are Kosgei and Cheruiyot who make her work hard as she seeks to venture into marathon races and build up from there.

With silver medals at the World Under-18 Championships (steeplechase, Cali, Colombia), Africa Under-20 Championships (5,000m, 3,000m, Tlemcen, Algeria) and a 3,000m bronze at the Africa Under-20 Championships (3,000m, Addis Ababa), Chebet hopes to graduate to become the golden girl of distance running.

(09/17/2020) Views: 151 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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London Marathon Creates a Biosecure Bubble for the Upcoming Elite-Only Race

All runners will stay in the same hotel, and will be allowed to train on the surrounding 40 acres.

The London Marathon, scheduled for elites only on October 4, is creating a bubble environment to protect the runners and necessary staff.

This will be the first World Marathon Major to take place since the Tokyo Marathon was run as an elite-only race on March 1.

On Thursday, September 3, race organizers for the World Marathon Major announced plans to implement a biosecure bubble for the elite-only race on Sunday, October 4. The biosecure bubble will be created using a strict testing protocol and an athlete-only hotel surrounded by 40 acres for runners to train ahead of the marathon.

“It is our duty and responsibility to ensure this event is held in a safe and secure environment,” Hugh Brasher, the London Marathon event director, said in an announcement. “We have looked at other examples and taken learnings from other sports which have returned to action as we developed our detailed plans for this biosecure bubble around the event.”

To enter the biosecure bubble, athletes will be required to test for COVID-19 in their home country four days prior to travel. They will be tested once again when they arrive at the athlete hotel in London, and testing will continue until the Friday before the event. The hotel will be used exclusively by athletes, support staff, and race officials, all of whom will be required to remain socially distant from each other and wear face masks at all times with the exception of training, eating, and being inside their single rooms.

“By finding a hotel for exclusive use and putting in place the strict testing, hygiene and security measures to protect the bubble, we are confident we have created the safest environment possible for everyone,” Brasher said.

The race will be held over 19 laps on a 2.15K-closed course around St. James’s Park plus an extra 1,345 meters to the usual finish line. To keep the competition secure, no spectators will be allowed on the course.

The London Marathon, originally scheduled to run in April, is the first World Marathon Major to take place since the coronavirus was declared a global pandemic on March 11 (the Tokyo Marathon staged an elite-only race on March 1). Outside of running, the NBA became the first professional sports organization to start back up, creating a bubble in Orlando, Florida, in an effort to protect players during a three-month season.

For many athletes, the London Marathon will be their first major competition of 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, which forced many events to be postponed or canceled.

The men’s race features a highly-anticipated match-up between world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge and 2019 Berlin Marathon winner Kenenisa Bekele. In Berlin, Bekele came within two seconds of breaking the 2:01:39 world record set by Kipchoge at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.

Brigid Kosgei leads the women’s field after breaking the world record at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She will be competing in her first race since the RAK Half Marathon in February when she finished second to Ababel Yeshaneh who broke the half marathon world record.

Americans Sara Hall, Molly Seidel, Lindsay Flanagan, and Jared Ward will be competing in London as well.

On August 7, Hall ran an impressive half marathon personal best of 1:08:18 with two male pacers and two of her daughters following at a distance in a race staged by Eugene Marathon organizers.

In February, Seidel made her first Olympic team in her 26.2 debut when she finished second at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta. Flanagan finished 12th at the Olympic Trials.

For Ward, a 2016 Olympic marathoner, London will be his first major marathon since finishing 27th at the Trials.

While the 40th running of the London Marathon will feature elites only, 45,000 people signed up to participate in the virtual 26.2.

(09/06/2020) Views: 154 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Kenya's Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon to take on Genzebe in Ostrava

After settling for another world record near-miss in the Brussels Diamond League on Friday, Kenya's Olympic 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon is set to resume her special rivalry with Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting in Ostrava on Sept. 8.

Having finished just 17 hundredths of a second short at last month's opening Diamond League meeting in Monaco, Kipyegon seemed on track to achieve her ambition with 200 meters remaining, but faltered slightly over the final few meters to cross the line in 2:29.92.

The Kenyan now will return to her 1,500m specialty against Dibaba with hope of continuing her perfect start to Diamond League series at the Ostrava Golden Spike (Czech Republic) on Tuesday.

"I'm happy with the win, the record didn't come out as we had planned but I'm satisfied with my general performance, now I will concentrate on the next competition, the Ostrava meeting," Kipyegon told Xinhua on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Kenya's world marathon record-holder Brigid Kosgei's track debut ended in disappointment after losing the battle to The Dutch world 1,500m and 10,000m champion Sifan Hassan who went to break the World Hour record after she reached 18,930 meters as the hour elapsed, beating the existing mark of 18,517 meters set by Ethiopia's Dire Tune in 2008.

Kosgei was later disqualified for infringement after she was found to have stepped on the rail.

In the men's One Hour event, Britain's and Olympic champion Mo Farah held off the challenge of his training partner, home athlete Bashir Abdi, to set a new mark of 21,330m - eclipsing the 2007 mark of 21,285m set by Haile Gebrselassie. Abdi finished eight meters behind.

(09/05/2020) Views: 88 ⚡AMP
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Hassan and Farah break one-hour world records in Brussels

Britain's Mo Farah and Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands set respective men’s and women’s world one-hour records* at the Wanda Diamond League exhibition meeting at the King Baudouin Stadium tonight.

Britain’s multiple world and Olympic champion held off the challenge of his training partner, home athlete Bashir Abdi, to set a new mark of 21,330m – eclipsing the 2007 mark of 21,285m set by Haile Gebrselassie. Abdi finished eight metres behind.

Hassan’s record also came after a titanic battle with Kenya’s world marathon record-holder Brigid Kosgei, although it later transpired the latter had been disqualified for stepping on to the infield in the closing stages.

The Dutch world 1500m and 10,000m champion reached 18,930 metres as the hour elapsed, beating the existing mark of 18,517 metres set by Ethiopia’s Dire Tune in 2008.

Moving into the final quarter of an hour, Tune’s mark seemed certain to be bettered, given that both women were more than a minute ahead of world record pace. The only question remained – which champion would secure it?

As they shadowed each other, swapping the lead but never getting away from each other, it was impossible to predict who would triumph. Hassan said afterwards that she thought Kosgei would “run away from her”.

But when the gun went to mark the final minute with the pair halfway down the back straight, Hassan moved ahead once more, and this time it was decisive.

Looking once behind her, the Dutch athlete took off, pumping her arms, going for broke. Kosgei, baring her teeth, did everything in her power to stay in touch, but there was no catching up, and when the 60 minutes elapsed, Hassan slowed to a halt halfway down the back straight after a crazy sprint finish.

"I didn't feel good before the start of the race, I even puked," revealed Hassan. "After 30 minutes of racing, I finally felt better. It was in the final 20 minutes that I gained the confidence I needed. When there were only two minutes left on the clock, the fun began. I just gave everything I had left. I am so happy with the win and the world record. It wasn't easy."

As the men’s race moved into the final quarter of an hour, the ghostly figure of the current world record holder, Gebrselassie, was shown in virtual shape, running at their side. They were bang on the pace.

With 10 minutes to go, they moved ahead of the world record schedule. They passed 18,000 metres in 50:43.

Inside the final five minutes, the home runner, who the day before had confessed that he expected Farah to beat him, moved to the lead, but the multiple champion was shadowing him still.

As advertised, the Wavelight visual pace-guidance system employing differently coloured LED lights installed on the inside edge of the track made the pursuit of records on the night immediately intelligible.

With three minutes remaining, both men were 30 metres clear of the leading blue lights, showing the intended pace, and the green lights snaking behind them, showing the actual world record pace.

A second world record appeared in the offing – and the same question was being asked. Who would break it?

The gun went to mark one minute to go, then Farah made a significant break. He charged around the bend as the final seconds ticked away, and at the same spot where Hassan had earlier triumphed, Farah did too, taking a few seconds to realise it was all over.

“The world record is yours, Mo!” said the stadium MC.

Abdi had the consolation of lowering the world best for 20,000m from 56:26 to 56:20.2*, having led his friend through that mark.

"I was very excited to be back on the track," said Farah. "I knew I was in a great shape after the hard work I did in the last six weeks. At a certain point, with just 10 laps to go, it became tough so I was happy that Bashir took the lead, but I felt great with just one minute to go. A fast last lap is still my best tactic."

Kenya’s Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon had to settle for another near miss as she attempted to beat the world 1000m record of 2:28.98 set on this track in 1996 by Russia’s double Olympic champion Svetlana Masterkova.

Having finished just 17 hundredths of a second short at last month’s opening Diamond League meeting in Monaco, Kipyegon seemed on track to achieve her ambition with 200 metres remaining, but faltered slightly over the final few metres to cross the line in 2:29.92.

Norway’s 19-year-old European 1500m champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who has already reduced the European record to 3:28.68, made a bold effort to improve on that but his honourable solo effort saw him finish in 3:30.69, with Jesus Gomez of Spain a distant second in 3:34.64.

In the pole vault, Sweden’s 20-year-old world record-holder Mondo Duplantis saw the last challenger, home vaulter Ben Broeders, fall away with a best of 5.70m.

The European champion then went on to clear a meeting record of 6.00m at his first attempt before having another crack at 6.15m, a centimetre higher than the best outdoor clearance ever made, by Sergey Bubka in 1994. He didn’t make it. But surely his time will come sooner rather than later.

Twenty-year-old Rani Rosius, who had won the Belgian title in 11.39, needed 11.43 to earn another prestige victory in the women’s 100m, with France’s Carolle Zahl second in 11.56.

Britain’s world heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson had said the day before that this meeting – where she was competing in the 100m hurdles and the high jump – was effectively the highlight of her season, and she had a reasonably satisfactory result in the first of them, which was won by home champion Anne Zagre in 13.21.

Despite an uncertain start, Johnson-Thompson drew on her strength to take fourth place in 13.57 – inside her previous season’s best of 13.73.

Zagre was chased home by Denmark’s Mette Graversgaard, who clocked 13.26, and Belgian compatriot Sarah Missinne, who ran a season’s best of 13.55.

Johnson-Thompson went on to equal her season’s best of 1.84m in a high jump won by Australia’s Nicola McDermott with 1.91m.

Poland’s Iga Baumgart-Witan won the women’s 400m in 52.13, while the men’s 200m went to Italy’s Eseosa Desalu in 20.39.

(09/05/2020) Views: 98 ⚡AMP
by Mike Rowbottom for World Athletics
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Elite athletes will be protected in bio secure bubble for 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon

The Virgin Money London Marathon today announced plans for the biosecure bubble for the historic elite-only races on Sunday 4 October.

The races will take place on a closed-loop circuit around St James’s Park in central London on Sunday 4 October. The elite men’s race will see one of the most eagerly anticipated match-ups in marathon history with world record holder and defending champion Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) going head-to-head with Kenenisa Bekele (ETH), the man who came within two seconds of his world record last year.

In the elite women’s race, defending champion and world record holder Brigid Kosgei (KEN) will return, as will the two best marathon wheelchair athletes in the world: Daniel Romanchuk (USA) and Manuela Schar (SUI).

Special permission has been granted by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to allow athletes and support staff to travel and compete in the biosecure bubble, with strict guidelines on testing, travel, accommodation and competition.

Flora also announced that Paula Radcliffe, who famously won three London Marathon titles and broke two world records when Flora was headline sponsor of the event, has become an official Flora Running Ambassador to mark the partnership.

In order to create and preserve a biosecure bubble around the athletes, the following measures will be put in place:

Testing: Athletes will be tested for Covid-19 in their country of origin/home four days prior to travel and again on arrival at the hotel. Testing will continue at the hotel until the Friday before the event. Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 or displays symptoms will be placed in quarantine immediately and, in the case of athletes, will not be able to participate in the race.

Athlete-only hotel: The athletes will stay in a hotel outside London which will be used exclusively by athletes and support staff, plus a team from the Virgin Money London Marathon. The hotel was chosen for its 40 acres of grounds where athletes will be able to train during Race Week inside the bubble. An extensive hygiene protocol will be in place in the hotel and it will be mandatory for everyone inside the bubble to observe social distancing rules and to wear face coverings at all times, apart from when training, while dining and in their own rooms. All athletes and their support staff will have single rooms.

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the Virgin Money London Marathon, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Government, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), The Mayor of London, The Royal Parks and all our stakeholders for helping us put on the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon for elite athletes. Sports fans all over the world are eagerly anticipating these great races in this unique environment.

“It is our duty and responsibility to ensure this event is held in a safe and secure environment. We have looked at other examples and taken learnings from other sports which have returned to action as we developed our detailed plans for this biosecure bubble around the event.

“By finding a hotel for exclusive use and putting in place the strict testing, hygiene and security measures to protect the bubble, we are confident we have created the safest environment possible for everyone.”

The Virgin Money London Marathon also revealed details of the course for the elite races at the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon.

Each race will comprise 19 x 2.15 kilometre clockwise laps of St James’s Park plus an extra 1345m with the Finish Line in its traditional place on The Mall.

2020 Virgin Money London Marathon elite race route map

The course will be sealed off from the public to maintain the integrity of the biosecure bubble. There is no spectator access and there will be no public viewing points along the course.

(09/03/2020) Views: 132 ⚡AMP
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Athletics Kenya readies to replace athletes in U-20 team

Athletics Kenya (AK) will select more youth and put them in camps in various regions ahead of 2020 World Under-20 Championships slated for August 17-22 next year in Nairobi.

While welcoming proposed health protocols issued by the government to guide resumption of sports activities countrywide, AK’s Youth Development chairman Barnaba Korir on Thursday said many athletes who could have made Team Kenya for the championship this year will not be eligible to compete in 2021.

He said this as 14 upcoming athletes at Kapsait Athletics Camp in Elgeyo Marakwet received assorted food donation and Sh3,000 for their upkeep to shield them from adverse effects of Covid-19.

“We shall continue giving support to the youth and at the same time we are aware that many athletes who could have made the team this year will not be eligible to compete in 2021. AK Youth Committee will go back to the drawing board to identify other athletes and prepare for the World Under-20 Championships slated for next year,” said Korir.

The athletes who have been struggling to put food on the table were happy to get food rations from the federation.

Kapsait is home to world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei who is currently training for the London Marathon race slated for October 4.

The youth are among 1,400 probables who had been identified for residential training in various parts of the country to prepare for the World Under-20 Championships in Nairobi before Covid-19 struck, halting sports activities worldwide.

AK started distributing food rations two months ago across the country in collaboration with Ministry of Sports.

“We thank the Ministry of Sports through the Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed who has given guidance in the distribution of food. We hope the virus shall be contained and we shall get the best team for the global event next year as we seek to bag more medals,” added Korir. During the food distribution exercise, AK’s Youth Development head coach, Robert Ng’isirei, asked the young athletes to continue training.

(08/29/2020) Views: 90 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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London Marathon releases race day schedule

A series of elite events will take place in St James’s Park on October 4

The race schedule for the elite-only Virgin Money London Marathon has been announced, with a series of events taking place throughout the day on Sunday October 4.

The action will kick off with the elite women’s race at 07:15 before the elite men’s race at 10:15 and the wheelchair races at 13:10.

As announced earlier this month, the 2020 London Marathon will not feature a mass race and the elite racing will take place within a “secure biosphere” in St James’s Park.

As recently confirmed by World Athletics, the times recorded in London will be eligible for Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification.

ELITE RACE SCHEDULE

07:15 – Elite women’s race

10:15 – Elite men’s race

13:10 – Wheelchair races

The elite men’s field features distance running greats Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele in a highly-anticipated clash, together with Mosinet Geremew and Mule Wasihun, who placed second and third in 2019.

Britain’s Mo Farah will be a pacemaker to athletes looking to achieve the Olympic marathon qualifying standard of 2:11:30, with his compatriots Jonny Mellor, Chris Thompson and debutants Ross Millington and Ben Connor all set to run.

World record-holder and defending London Marathon champion Brigid Kosgei leads the women’s field and is joined by five other women who have run inside 2:20: Ruth Chepngetich, Roza Dereje, Vivian Cheruiyot, Valary Jemeli and Degitu Azimeraw.

Among the leading British women confirmed to race are Steph Twell and Lily Partridge.

In the wheelchair races, both Daniel Romanchuk and Manuela Schär will defend their titles.

Athletes will cross the same traditional finish line on The Mall after each completing 19.8 laps of the St James’s Park course, while mass runners will take on their 26.2 miles from home or anywhere in the world as part of the event’s first virtual edition.

(08/28/2020) Views: 137 ⚡AMP
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Brigid Kosgei will be targeting records in Brussels

Brigid Kosgei is set to make her serious track debut at the AG Memorial Van Damme Diamond League meeting in Brussels on September 4, when she will join Sifan Hassan in attacking the one-hour world record.

Netherlands’ Hassan was announced for the event earlier this month, with the world 1500m and 10,000m champion targeting Dire Tune’s 2008 mark of 18,517km.

Now world marathon record-holder Kosgei has been added to the field as she works toward the defence of her title at the elite-only Virgin Money London Marathon on October 4.

According to her World Athletics profile, the Brussels meeting will be Kosgei’s first serious track event, with only road performances – including her incredible 2:14:04 marathon in Chicago last October – listed so far.

The 26-year-old has a half-marathon PB of 64:28 which she set when winning the Great North Run last year. Although that course is not record-eligible, Kosgei’s performance there is the fastest ever half-marathon time run by a woman.

The Kenyan’s best time for 15km is 48:54.

The meeting will also include a men’s one-hour event, with Britain’s four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah among those targeting Haile Gebrselassie’s 21,285km mark.

He will be joined by his training partner Bashir Abdi of Belgium and Norway’s Sondre Nordstad Moen.

Meanwhile, Kenya’s Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon will aim to break the world 1000m record of 2:28.98 – a mark she missed by just 17 hundredths of a second in Monaco – when she lines up at the AG Memorial Van Damme.

The women’s 1000m replaces the 4x400m mixed relay event which had originally been planned, with the Borlée brothers having decided to end their season due to “slight injuries”.

Another change to the programme is the cancellation of the triathlon which had been set to see Belgium’s Olympic heptathlon champion Nafissatou Thiam and Britain’s world gold medalist Katarina Johnson-Thompson go head-to-head in the 100m hurdles, shot put and high jump.

Thiam has withdrawn from the meeting due to injury and Johnson-Thompson will now contest just the hurdles and high jump.

According to organizers, Thiam is suffering “continuous pain at the Achilles tendons and does not want to take any risk”.

The triathlon shot put will be replaced by a women’s 100m, while Brazil’s Olympic champion Thiago Braz has been added to the pole vault field alongside world record-holder Mondo Duplantis of Sweden.

Organizers had initially hoped to be able to welcome around 9000 spectators “in a safe and secure way” but the event is now set to take place behind closed doors.

(08/28/2020) Views: 114 ⚡AMP
by Athletics Weekly
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Reigning Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon has set her sights on the world 1000m record in Brussels

Reigning Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon has set her sights on the world 1000m record at the Memorial Van Damme, a Wanda Diamond League meeting in Brussels on September 4.

Kipyegon, who came up 0.17 shy of Svetlana Masterkova's 2:28.98 record at the Diamond League meeting in Monaco earlier this month, will give it another try in the same stadium and meeting where the record was set in 1996. Kipyegon's 2:29:15 performance in Monaco elevated the 26-year-old Kenyan to No2 all-time over the distance.

Organizers also announced that Brigid Kosgei, the world record-holder in the marathon, has joined the field in the women's one-hour run, a bid on the 18.517km world record in that event, which includes double world champion Sifan Hassan. Kosgei, who smashed the marathon world record with a stunning 2:14:04 run in Chicago last year, will be making her track debut. 

Slight injuries by key local athletes have forced some changes to the programme.

Nagging achilles tendon pain has sidelined Olympic heptathlon champion Nafi Thiam, cancelling her triathlon duel with world champion Katerina Johnson-Thompson of Great Britain. Johnson-Thompson will still compete in the 100m hurdles and the high jump.

Injury woes have also struck the Borlee brothers, thus cancelling the mixed 4x400m relay. That made room on the programme for the women's 1000m.

Meanwhile, the removal of the triathlon shot put has made room for the women's 100m to give rising Belgian star Rani Rosius an opportunity in the spotlight. The 20-year-old improved her career best to 11.39 at the national championships recently to move up to No2 on the Belgian all-time list.

Olympic champion Thiago Braz of Brazil has joined the men's pole vault field, taking on world record holder Mondo Duplantis and local star Ben Broeders.

Local restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic have forced the meeting behind closed doors but will be broadcast live across several platforms. Details will be announced shortly.

(08/27/2020) Views: 94 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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World champion Ruth Chepng’etich promises thrilling battle at London Marathon

World champion Ruth Chepng’etich says her clash with world marathon record-holder Brigid Kosgei at London Marathon on October 4 will “read like a script from a thriller.”

“Nothing can really describe that rare moment when some of the best marathoners clash,” said Chepng’etich, who has been training in isolation in Ngong, Kajiado County.

“People should expect thrills and a tough battle. That is why I want to be in one of my best shape before meeting my good friend Brigid and the rest of the star-studded pack,” explained Chepng’etich as the London Marathon organisers Friday unleashed the star-studded elite cast for the rescheduled race on October 4.

NTV has exclusive rights for the race in Kenya and will broadcast the eagerly-awaited clash live.

The 26-year-old Chepnng’etich said everyone will be heading into the race with unknown qualities owing to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

“You really can’t tell what someone has been doing in isolation or predict the winning time,” said Chepng’etich, adding that it will feel great running her first World Marathon Majors race.

“It will take a lot of courage and focus to face some of these athletes who have conquered races at the World Marathon Majors like Brigid and Vivian Cheruiyot. I have a lot to learn from them too,” she said. Kosgei, who has a personal best of two hours, 14 minutes and four seconds, will be making her third stab at the London Marathon, having won last year in 2:18:20 after finishing second behind compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot in 2018 clocking 2:20:13.

Agemates, Kosgei and Chepng'etich will have company in Cheruiyot, who won in London in 2018 in a career best 2:18:31, and Valary Aiyabei, the winner of the 2019 Frankfurt Marathon (2:19.10).

British athletics legend Mo Farah has agreed to be one of the pacemakers for this year’s London Marathon with his aim to help fellow Britons make the qualifying time for the Olympics.

The 37-year-old will also hope to tee up a spectacular final duel between two fellow legends in Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele and Kenya’s world record holder Eliud Kipchoge.

(08/22/2020) Views: 152 ⚡AMP
by Ayumba Ayodi
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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London Marathon Elite Fields Released, 2020 elite field will be the best in years

Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele face battle from six more sub-2:05 runners in elite men’s race.

World record holder Brigid Kosgei among six sub-2:20 athletes in elite women’s race.

The Virgin Money London Marathon today confirmed the full fields for the historic elite men’s and women’s races on Sunday 4 October.

The elite men’s race – headlined by the greatest marathon runners in history, Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) and Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) – will include eight athletes who have run sub 2:05 marathons, including Mosinet Geremew (ETH) and Mule Wasihun (ETH) who were second and third respectively at the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon.

Sisay Lemma (ETH), Tamirat Tola (ETH), Marius Kipserem (KEN) and Shura Kitata (ETH) are the other men to have run inside 2:05 while Sondre Nordstad Moen (NOR), who broke the European hour record in Norway earlier this month by running 21.132km, is also included.

The news that World Athletics will lift its suspension of the Olympic qualification system for marathon races from 1 September means there will also be a clutch of athletes racing with the ambition to achieve the Olympic standard of 2:11:30.

Adding yet further superstar quality to the event, the Virgin Money London Marathon can also announce that Sir Mo Farah will be a pacemaker for this group of Olympic hopefuls.

Farah, the four-time Olympic champion, said: “The London Marathon has been so important to me since I was a schoolboy and when they asked me to do this I thought it would be great to help. I am in good shape, I’ll be in London that week and it fits in with my training.

“I’ve been training here in Font Romeu with some of the British guys who are going for that Olympic qualifying time and they are good lads. I know just how special it is just to compete for your country at an Olympic Games and it would be great to help other athletes achieve this. With the current global situation and lack of races, the Virgin Money London Marathon in October is the best chance for athletes to run the Olympic qualifying time.”

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the Virgin Money London Marathon, said: “This is the greatest Olympian in British track and field history coming to run as a pacemaker to help others achieve their dreams of making the Tokyo Olympic Games. It is a wonderful gesture of togetherness from Sir Mo and I’m sure his presence and support will inspire the athletes chasing that qualifying time on Sunday 4 October.”

At present only two British athletes other than Farah have run inside this time: Callum Hawkins, who has been pre-selected for the Olympic Games marathon, and Jonny Mellor who ran 2:10:03 in Seville in January. Farah himself has opted to run on the track at the Olympic Games.

Mellor is one of a number of British athletes running the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon – The 40th Race – on Sunday 4 October. Other British men joining Mellor on the Start Line are Chris Thompson and debutants Ross Millington and Ben Connor.

Among the leading domestic women confirmed to race are Steph Twell, who ran a personal best (PB) of 2:26:40 in Frankfurt last year to go sixth on the British all-time rankings, and 2018 British marathon champion Lily Partridge.

The elite women’s field is headlined by world record holder Brigid Kosgei (KEN). Confirmed today are five other women who have run inside 2:20: current world champion Ruth Chepngetich (KEN), 2019 Valencia Marathon champion Roza Dereje (ETH), 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN), 2019 Frankfurt Marathon winner Valary Jemeli (KEN) and 2019 Amsterdam Marathon champion Degitu Azimeraw (ETH).

Ashete Bekere (ETH), the winner of last year’s BMW Berlin Marathon, Alemu Megertu (ETH), the 2019 Rome Marathon champion, plus Sarah Hall (USA) and Sinead Diver (AUS) are also included in a star-studded race.

(08/21/2020) Views: 240 ⚡AMP
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Mo Farah will be the pacemaker for the elite men's race at October's rescheduled London Marathon

Briton Mo Farah, 37, is among the competitors to have achieved the Olympic-qualifying time of two hours 11 minutes 30 seconds.

Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, who won last year's event, leads the men's field with Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia.

Reduced fields of 30-40 athletes will also compete for the elite women's and wheelchair titles on 4 October.

The races will take place on a bio-secure closed course amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"The London Marathon has been so important to me since I was a schoolboy and when they asked me to do this I thought it would be great to help," said Farah, who finished third in 2018 and fifth last year.

"I am in good shape. I'll be in London that week and it fits in with my training."

Ethiopians Mosinet Geremew and Mule Wasihun, who finished runner-up and third respectively in 2019, are among eight athletes who have run marathons in under two hours five minutes.

Brigid Kosgei of Kenya heads up the women's elite field alongside compatriot and world champion Ruth Chepngetich.

Ethiopia's Roza Dereje and Kenyans Vivian Cheruiyot, Valary Jemeli and Degitu Azimeraw are the other picks of the line-up.

The full elite wheelchair fields will be released next week.

The route will consist of laps of about 1.5 miles, taking in The Mall, Horse Guards Parade, Birdcage Walk and Buckingham Palace.

(08/21/2020) Views: 133 ⚡AMP
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Eliud Kipchoge will use the Nike Vaporfly, the shoes he used during the Ineos 1:59 Challenge, to defend his London Marathon title

Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge will use the Nike Vaporfly Next % — the shoes he used during the Ineos 1:59 Challenge — to defend his London Marathon title on October 4.

At the same time, Kipchoge has welcomed Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele’s challenge at the London Marathon, but hastened to add that “every athlete who will compete in the race is a threat.”

“The shoes have not been banned hence I am looking forward to another great show on them as I seek my fourth victory on the course,” said Kipchoge during the launch of domestic tourism at the Serena Mara in the Maasai Mara, Narok County.

Kipchoge made history on October 12 last year when he became the first man to run a marathon (42 kilometres) in under two hours when he conquered the Ineos 159 Challenge in 1:59.41 using the new Nike Vapour Next % shoes.

Defending women’s London Marathon champion Brigid Kosgei also used similar shoe technology to set the women’s world marathon record in winning the Chicago Marathon in 2:14:04, just a day after Kipchoge’s Vienna exploits.

Then Bekele would come close to breaking Kipchoge’s world marathon record of 2:01:39 set by Kipchoge in Berlin in 2018 by three seconds when he won in Berlin in 2:01:last year. Nike's controversial Vaporfly range was the talk around the world with the feeling that it gave undue advantage to other runners owing to its sole technology. However, World Athletics — the global athletics governing body —  said it will not ban the shoes but would instead institute tighter regulations around high-tech running shoes. Any new shoe technology developed after April 30 this year will have to be available on the open market for four months before an athlete can use it in competition.

World Athletics has also introduced an immediate indefinite ban on any shoes that have a sole thicker than 40 millimetres.

“Everybody is a threat, especially when you are on a running course. Personally, I don’t see everybody less or high,” said Kipchoge adding that the only threat or difference will be the unusual training and competition conditions. “I don’t know what everyone has been doing in training. For sure it will be a different race where it won’t have the usual large field and fans owing to Covid-19 regulations,” said Kipchoge, adding that it will feel good running in London, a course where he won in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019.

Kipchoge said he has been training in Kaptagat, Elgeyo-Marakwet County, in isolation and in small groups but hopes that the government will reopen camps in the next week to enable them to train well.

“This is a non-contact sport and it’s my prayer that the government allows some camps to open,” said Kipchoge, who has occupied himself in reading books. He has also attended over 100 zoom meetings in the last four months from across the world.

(08/11/2020) Views: 150 ⚡AMP
by Ayumba Ayodi
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele are set for London Marathon

The 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon will not feature a mass race and will be an elite-only event, with Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele set to be among those racing on an enclosed looped course in St James’s Park on October 4.

Meanwhile, organisers have also confirmed that next year’s edition will not take place in April but will be moved to October 3 “to give the best chance for the mass race to return in 2021”.

The 2020 event will see elite racing take place within a “secure biosphere”, which organisers describe as a contained safe environment like that of Formula 1 and football, and as recently announced by World Athletics the times recorded in London will be eligible for Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification.

While the men’s race is set to host the highly-anticipated clash between distance running greats Kipchoge and Bekele, world record-holder Brigid Kosgei has been announced for the women’s event, with David Weir and Manuela Schär set to lead the wheelchair fields.

Organisers are yet to announce the elite field sizes and how the races will be set off, including whether it will be by waves, but it has been confirmed that athletes will cross the same traditional finish line on The Mall after completing 19.8 laps of the St James’s Park course.

There will be no spectator access in order to maintain the biosphere, but BBC Sport plans to broadcast eight hours of coverage during the day.

UK Athletics had previously announced that next April’s London Marathon would be the GB Olympic trial race for the postponed Olympics in Tokyo but the national governing body will now work on new qualification plans following confirmation that the 2021 race has been moved from spring to autumn. Selection will still take place in 2021.

“It is a very fast course,” said event director Hugh Brasher, with London Marathon Events having experience of looped course racing as they were part of the organising team for the INEOS 1:59 Challenge event in Vienna last October, when Kipchoge broke the two-hour barrier.

“The course is faster than the current London Marathon course. It is not the fastest course, it is not as fast as Vienna, but it is a quick course. What we want to do is provide an environment that really excites the athletes. There is a lot of technology out there at the moment with which to do that, and how we can invite people in, in virtual reality, how we can create an atmosphere.

“It is important that we try and show that the sport can still take place. Sport plays such an incredible part in British psychology and the London Marathon reflects that in a way that very few, in fact no other, sports do. What we talk about is that it is the only event where you are taking part at the same time as the gods of the sport.

“At least here the elite athletes will be in London, they will be going head-to-head, and they will be able to celebrate the competition together. To be able to say that those athletes are coming to London is enormously exciting for the sport, for them, and we hope it adds to the inspiration and the feeling that we really want people to have on October 4, people who are on their own journey of that 26.2 miles.”

(08/07/2020) Views: 209 ⚡AMP
by Jessica Whittington
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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At the Los Angeles Games 36 years ago, Canadian Silvia Ruegger finished in eighth in the first-ever women's Olympic marathon

On August 5, 1984, the inaugural women’s Olympic marathon was held in Los Angeles. Fifty runners lined up for the 42.2K run and American Joan Benoit-Samuelson took the win in 2:24:52, grabbing the first Olympic gold in women’s marathon history. Three Canadians raced that day 36 years ago in L.A., including marathon legend and former national record-holder Silvia Ruegger. Ruegger finished in eighth place on the day, running to a 2:29:09 top-10 finish. That was the sole Olympic race of Ruegger’s career, and since then, no Canadian — male or female — has finished in a higher position in the Olympic marathon. 

Women’s marathoning through the years 

Benoit-Samuelson won the race in L.A. in impressive fashion, beating silver medallist Grete Waitz of Norway by more than a minute to take the gold on home soil. Going into the race, Benoit-Samuelson was a two-time Boston Marathon champion, and a year later, she won the Chicago Marathon and set an American record in the process. Her time of 2:21:21 stood as the national marathon record until 2006, when Deena Kastor beat it at the London Marathon. Benoit-Samuelson is still the fourth-fastest woman marathoner in U.S. history. 

The women’s marathon has come a long way since its introduction to the Olympics in 1984. At the time, the world record was 2:24:26, set by Ingrid Kristiansen of Norway (who finished in fourth in L.A.). Today, 36 years later, that record has been lowered by 10 minutes, and it currently sits at 2:14:04 following Brigid Kosgei‘s dominant performance at the 2019 Chicago Marathon.

Canadians at the 1984 Games 

Ruegger qualified for the Olympics at the 1984 Ottawa Marathon, which she won in a Canadian record of 2:30:37. She broke that record just a few months later in L.A., becoming the first Canadian woman to dip below 2:30 in the marathon. Ruegger raced alongside fellow Canadians Jacqueline Gareau (1980 Boston Marathon champion and the previous national record-holder before Ruegger won the Ottawa Marathon) and Anne Marie Malone. Gareau didn’t finish the race in L.A., but Malone recorded an impressive result to follow Ruegger’s, finishing in 17th place with a final time of 2:36:33. 

The following year at the 1985 Houston Marathon, Ruegger beat her record yet again, posting a 2:28:36. This remained the Canadian record for almost 30 years before it was broken in 2013 at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon by both Lanni Marchant and Krista DuChene. A car accident following her record in 1985 left Ruegger to deal with injuries for the rest of her career, and she never returned to her previous record-setting form. Ruegger passed away in August 2019 at the age of 58 after a battle with cancer, but she remains one of the greatest athletes in Canadian history.

(08/06/2020) Views: 139 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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Kenyans Brigid Kosgei and Lawrence Cherono, disappointed after Chicago Marathon cancelled

The cancellation of this year’s Chicago Marathon has left a number of Kenyan athletes disappointed.

This is the fourth Abbot Major Marathon race to be cancelled after Boston, Berlin and New York Marathon races were moved to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The race was primed for October 11 with an estimated field of around 45,000 runners and wheelchair athletes.

Chicago Marathon has good memories for the Kenyan athletes with Brigid Kosgei shattering the world record by clocking 2:14:04 lowering Paula Radcliffe’s time of 2:15:25 in last year’s women’s edition of the race.

Kosgei broke the world record a day after Eliud Kipchoge made history by becoming the first man to run under two-hours in a race dubbed INEOS 1:59 Challenge in Vienna, Austria leaving no doubt that Kenya is an athletics powerhouse.

The Kapsait-based athlete zoomed to victory after beating Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh (2:20:51) by six minutes, while her compatriot Gelete Burka was third in 2:20:55.

Kosgei is hopeful that she will able to defend her London Marathon in October 4.

“I had two options, but with the Chicago Marathon race cancelled, I’m left to train for the London Marathon race, which we are still crossing fingers will be able to proceed,” said Kosgei.

Lawrence Cherono, who won the men’s race last year in a sprint finish against Ethiopians, has also been left disappointed by the cancellation.

Cherono clocked 2:05:45 beating Dejene Debela, who timed 2:05:46 ahead of fellow countryman Asefa Mengistu who came in third in 2:05:48.

“It’s really demoralising because all the races I was to compete in this year have since been cancelled and that has left me to just do my work as we focus on next year and hope the virus will be contained,” said Cherono.

Cherono was to race in the Boston Marathon as well as the now postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics Games.

“I have been working on my farm because there is no race I can participate in this year, but at the same time I’m waiting for the management to communicate if there will be any other small race that I can do as we wait for next year,” said a disappointed Cherono.

So far Tokyo Marathon remains the only successful major marathon that was held back in March. Toronto Marathon, which was scheduled for October 18,  has also been cancelled.

(07/18/2020) Views: 198 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the pinnacle of achievement for elite athletes and everyday runners alike. On race day, runners from all 50 states and more than 100 countries will set out to accomplish a personal dream by reaching the finish line in Grant Park. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is known for its flat and...

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The 2020 Chicago Marathon has been canceled

For the second time in its history, the Chicago Marathon has been canceled before runners cross the starting line.  Organizers on Monday announced the 43rd running of the race, scheduled for Oct. 11, will not proceed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon typically draws about 45,000 runners and wheelchair athletes to the city, with a record 45,786 finishers in 2019 from 50 states and more than 100 countries. Organizers estimate about 1.7 million spectators annually line the 26.2-mile course that starts and ends near Grant Park and travels as far north as Wrigleyville and as far south as Bridgeport.

Registered participants can receive a refund for their race entry or defer their place and entry fee to the 2021, 2022 or 2023 race. Registered runners for the International Chicago 5K will have the same options.

“The Chicago Marathon is our city’s beloved annual celebration of more than 45,000 runners, as well as tens of thousands of volunteers, spectators and city residents, all of whom come together race weekend as one community here in our city,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. “Like all Chicagoans, I’m personally disappointed that this year’s event won’t take place as originally planned; however, we look forward to welcoming all runners and their cheering squads once again when the Chicago Marathon returns to our city in full force for another very exciting race.”

Organizers are developing plans for a virtual race experience.

“Our highest priority has always been the safety of our participants and our volunteers,” race director Carey Pinkowski said in a statement. “We understand the disappointment, but when we return to the streets of Chicago, it will be a celebratory moment and an uncompromising statement about the collective spirit of who we are as a running community: We are powerful, we are persistent, and we will reach the finish line again.”

The Chicago Marathon is one of six Abbott World Major Marathons, along with Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, and New York. Only elite marathoners and wheelchair athletes were allowed to compete in the March 1 Tokyo Marathon.

Boston, originally scheduled for April 20 and rescheduled for Sept. 14, was canceled for the first time in its 124-year history on May 28. Organizers instead will make it a virtual race, giving finisher’s medals to participants who prove they ran 26.2 miles.

London was postponed from April 26 to Oct. 4. Berlin, slated to run Sept. 27, was canceled in April. New York, originally scheduled for Nov. 11, was canceled on June 24.

The Chicago race is a major fall tourist event. Organizers estimated in 2019 that the race has a $338 million economic impact annually on the city.

The only other time the Chicago Marathon didn’t start was in 1987, when sponsor Beatrice Foods withdrew its support. Organizers held a low-budget half-marathon with about 3,000 runners instead.

The first Chicago Marathon took place Sept. 25, 1977, as the Mayor Daley Marathon and had more than 4,200 runners.

In the 42nd running in 2019, Lawrence Cherono and Brigid Kosgei, both of Kenya, won the men’s and women’s races. Cherono finished in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 45 seconds. Kosgei broke the women’s world record by finishing in 2:14:04.

(07/13/2020) Views: 215 ⚡AMP
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Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the pinnacle of achievement for elite athletes and everyday runners alike. On race day, runners from all 50 states and more than 100 countries will set out to accomplish a personal dream by reaching the finish line in Grant Park. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is known for its flat and...

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Athletics Kenya say Olympic marathon team not cast in stone

Athletics Kenya could make changes to its marathon teams to the Tokyo Olympic Games basing on form.

The federation’s senior deputy president in charge of competitions, Paul Mutwii, disclosed that a lot could happen between now and the Olympic Games in 2021 after the action was deferred by one year owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mutwii was speaking on Thursday in reaction to the new Olympic qualification guidelines issued by World Athletics for July 23 to August 8, 2021.

The Games were postponed from July 24 to August 9 this year to the same period next year owing to concerns over the coronavirus spread.

The qualifying period for track and field events for the Olympic will now end on June 29, 2021, just 23 days before the start of the world’s biggest sporting bonanza.

In its four-year strategic plan and Olympic qualifying process, World Athletics says the marathon and race walk entry period will elapse on May 31, 2021.

World marathon record holders Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei were on January 31 this year picked lead “Team Kenya” over the 42-kilometre race at the Tokyo Olympics.

The men's team also has World Championships marathon bronze medallist Amos Kipruto and Boston and Chicago Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono.

Bedan Karoki and Titus Ekiru are reserves.

Besides Kosgei, the women’s team has 2018 London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot, world champion Ruth Chepng'etich with Valary Aiyabei and Sally Chepyego the reserves.

(06/06/2020) Views: 166 ⚡AMP
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Winny Kosgey targets to run the Ottawa Marathon’s 10k virtual run on June 2

On Sunday, a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule docked with the International Space Station, the first time a crewed US spacecraft has performed the feat in nearly a decade.

The "Soft capture," the moment when the spacecraft makes first contact and starts latching with the target vehicle, occurred at 10:16 am Eastern Time (5.16pm Kenyan time).

Carrying two NASA astronauts, Bob Behnkhen and Doug Hurley, the mission marked a huge milestone in space travel.

Back on earth, and right here in the North Rift, man will celebrate another major milestone, this time in sport, not space travel.

Under normal circumstances, Winny Kosgey, an upcoming distance runner, would have been in Ottawa, Canada, for a 10-kilometre run.

But with the coronavirus having disrupted global sports programmes and airline travel, Kosgey was among scores of sportspeople who couldn’t travel to their destinations of competition.

However, she will still run the Ottawa 10km race, and has the possibility of bagging prize money.

Thanks to technology, organisers of the race have elected to have it run, virtually.

With virtual competitions slowly becoming the enforced vogue, Kosgey will most certainly break new ground for Kenyan sport when she competes on Tuesday.

Virtual running seems to be the way forward now for athletes as they wait for the virus to be contained.

Last weekend’s cancellation of the Boston Marathon, the first time it its 124-year history, drove further affinity to virtual running.

Her quick thinking directed her to the internet where she managed to register for the reorganised race, and she has been preparing for the last few weeks.

The virtual race requires an athlete to compete alone at his or her own pace, adhering to social distancing regulations provided by the government and Ministry of Health.

She said she has been promoting social distancing in sport, and, at the same time, competing to raise money for charity for a children’s hospital in Canada.

She will be running alone, with her husband a freelancer journalist Justin Lagat, and her daughter, Berylynn Jerotich, monitoring her progress from a trailing car.

“The race is to promote social distancing and it’s only my family who will be able to see me running.

“I don’t expect anybody to cheer me while running,” said Kosgey, who names world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei as her mentor.

(06/01/2020) Views: 238 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Ottawa 10K

Ottawa 10K

Ottawa's course is fast, scenic and few elevation changes. Considered to be an excellent course for first timers and should provide an environment conducive to setting a PR. The Ottawa 10K is the only IAAF Gold Label 10K event in Canada and one of only four IAAF Gold Label 10Ks in the world. The Ottawa 10K attracts one of the...

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Dilemma for Women's world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei to defend Chicago or London titles

World marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei is in dilemma on which race to participate in come October.

The London Marathon was postponed from April to October 4 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile the Chicago Marathon is scheduled for October 11.

Kosgei would love to run both Majors but she is certainly not a superwoman and must choose one.

According to the Kapsait-based athlete, she was in good shape in March and looking forward to the season before Covid-19 outbreak struck leading to the suspension of the athletics calendar.

“My preparations for the London Marathon race where I was going to defend my title were in top gear because I had less than two months to finalise my programme before coronavirus disrupted it,” said Kosgei at her home.

She was also named in the Kenya marathon team to the Olympic Games which were postponed to next year due to the virus.

She said that her programme had been all geared towards defending her title in London race then preparing for an assault on Tokyo Olympics gold.

“But now I have to wait for to next year. I believe I will still be in good shape to run and win the race,” said Kosgei, who is under Rosa Associati management.

With five months to go before the London and Chicago marathons are held Kosgei has all the time to decide as she picks up on her training.

She is currently training individually in Eldoret, following the government directives of social distancing. “When the camps were closed, the only thing possible was to training a lone. So I am doing that here in Eldoret, but how I miss competitive running. I cannot wait for things to return to normal,” she said.

She has also been tending to her five-acre potato farm in Kapsait, with the help of her husband Mathew Kosgei whom she says has been very supportive of her career.

Kosgei won last year’s prestigious London Marathon with a time of 2:18:20 ahead of compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot who clocked 2:20:14 while Ethiopia’s Rosa Dereje was third in 2:20:51.

She broke the women’s marathon record in Chicago last year clocking 2 hours, 14 minutes and 04 seconds.

She is optimistic of lowering her personal best in the near future.

(05/08/2020) Views: 273 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the pinnacle of achievement for elite athletes and everyday runners alike. On race day, runners from all 50 states and more than 100 countries will set out to accomplish a personal dream by reaching the finish line in Grant Park. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is known for its flat and...

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Kenyan Mary Keitany is ready to shed off added weight after hip injury lay-off

If you are familiar with former London Marathon champion Mary Keitany, the first thing you will notice when you meet her is the extra bit of weight she is obviously carrying.

Understandably, Keitany has been nursing a hip injury picked last year that has prevented her from engaging in any serious training.

Many may not be aware that she sustained the injury when she competed in last year’s London Marathon finishing fifth in 2:20:58 as compatriot Brigid Kosgei romped to victory in 2:18:20.

Keitany told Nation Sport that she has been treating the hip injury since then.

She lined up for the New York Marathon against the advise of her doctor and is paying the price for that.

Running as the defending champion, she finished second in 2:23:32 as New York got a surprise winner in the name of newcomer Joyciline Jepkosgei, who romped to a marathon debut win of 2:22:38 while Ethiopia’s Ruti Aga sealed the podium in 2:25:51.

In the new season, Keitany was to debut in Boston Marathon in April but she pulled out because the hip injury, that had been aggravated in New York and just could not heal, seriously affected her preparations.

“I was supposed to compete this year in the Boston Marathon but I had to cancel in February because I could not prepare adequately. I saw it wise to take a break this season,” said Keitany, who is also the world record holder in a women’s only marathon.

She did just that before starting easy training recently.In the new season, Keitany was to debut in Boston Marathon in April but she pulled out because the hip injury, that had been aggravated in New York and just could not heal, seriously affected her preparations.

“I was supposed to compete this year in the Boston Marathon but I had to cancel in February because I could not prepare adequately. I saw it wise to take a break this season,” said Keitany, who is also the world record holder in a women’s only marathon.

She did just that before starting easy training recently.

or a major marathon which is always competitive, I need four months of good training so that I can gun for a win. We hope by then the virus will have been contained and business back to normal especially in USA which has been seriously hit,” said Keitany at her home in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County.

Keitany said that the coronavirus pandemic may have stopped races but the athletes will come out stronger. “I really feel for the athletes who had their races cancelled or rescheduled. They didn’t get the money and I’m crying for that athlete who was going for his/her first race but it was cancelled due to the virus,” she said.

(05/07/2020) Views: 335 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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The race director of London Marathon admits that the event may include only elite runners

The race director of the London Marathon has refused to rule out staging the event as an elite-only race in the autumn if social distancing rules make it impossible to run as normal.

Hugh Brasher told the Guardian that while organisers still hoped to hold the event with 45,000 mass participants on 4 October, they were now scenario-planning around 10 other options because of the global pandemic.

“The flame is still burning,” said Brasher. “And is there hope? Absolutely. But you have to do what’s right for society. You usually have 750,000 people out in central London watching 45,000 runners. Then there’s the medics, the 6,000 volunteers and the transport system. There’s masses to take into account when making any decision.”

When asked directly whether the London Marathon – which was due to take place this Sunday before being pushed back – might have to be only for elite athletes if social restrictions had not eased completely, Brasher replied: “Honestly, I don’t know. But in today’s society, you can never say never. We are trying to stay really agile and to keep scenario planning. And at the moment, I don’t want to discount anything until it becomes really impossible.”

Last month’s Tokyo marathon was staged as an elite-only race, with the field reduced to just 300 runners and the streets largely deserted. Most major spring marathons subsequently decided to postpone their races to the autumn – but those events also look in doubt with no vaccine in sight and, ominously, the Berlin marathon has already cancelled its race in September.

“Our decision will be made by the back end of August at the latest,” explained Brasher. “It will be based on the government guidelines, and what we and society think is right and what feels right.”

Brasher would not confirm whether Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele, who were due to meet on Sunday in a clash for the ages, had signed up for October’s revised race. However he told the Guardian: “We always want to get the most competitive race. This was going to be the 40th London marathon, and its greatest race. It was going to be spectacular. But we want to make October 4 spectacular too. So that’s what our focus is.”

Last year the London Marathon raised £66.4m for charities, again making it the biggest single-day fundraising event in Britain. And while Sunday’s race will not take place, organisers are still hoping that thousands of people will spend the day raising and donating money for charities as part of a nationwide 2.6 Challenge – in which people tackle something related to the numbers two and six.

More than £1.5m has already been raised for the campaign, and Brasher said he hoped it would prove a lifeline for many charities which usually rely heavily on the race to fund their work.

“The London Marathon is normally about so many scripts and so many stories,” said Brasher. “It’s the greatest athletes in the world with the everyday athlete – who are doing this incredible challenge with the gods of the sport such as Kipchoge, Bekele and Brigid Kosgei, on the same day, on the same course, with the same crowd. In fact, the everyday person gets more people watching them. That’s the incredible thing. And, of course, they are raising so much money for charity too.”

 

(04/24/2020) Views: 261 ⚡AMP
by Sean Ingle
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Kipchoge and Bekele showdown to wait until October 4 in London

Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele (left) and Kenya's marathon world-record holder Eliud Kipchoge will have to wait until October 4 to face off.

The London Marathon scheduled to take place on April 26 has been postponed to October 4 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The organisers made the announcement on Friday, with event director Hugh Brasher citing health as a priority as the world continues to battle with containing the virus.

“The world is in an unprecedented situation grappling with a global pandemic of COVID-19 and public health is everyone’s priority,” Brasher said.

World record-holder Eliud Kipchoge was among the first top athletes to react to the news of the cancellation of the marathon on social media, expressing his disappointment while still sharing a message of positivity.

"It is unfortunate news that the London Marathon has been postponed but I fully respect the decision made by the organization as safeguarding the health of the world always takes our top priority. To the thousands of runners who with me, have devoted the last months of our lives towards this goal I would like to say: Be proud of the work you have put into this journey, keep smiling and seek your next goal on the horizon to continue running in a smooth and positive way. I hope to share the starting line with you again soon," said Kipchoge. 

Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei pose for a picture with Prince Harry while holding their awards in last year's marathon.

Kipchoge and Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele were set to go head to head in a contest for the ages, as was Kenya’s women's record-holder Brigid Kosgei.

Kipchoge broke the two-hour marathon barrier in Vienna last October in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge.

The marathon was intended to be an Olympic qualifying event for Team Great Britain. British Athletics said it would hold a separate marathon trial for the Tokyo Games “in a closed location, with limited numbers” potentially around April 25 to 27.

The Boston Marathon, another one of the six World Marathon Majors, has also been postponed to mid-September.

These developments come days after the Kenyan Ministry of Sports banned athletes from travelling to any international sports events for the next month following the global outbreak of Covid-19.

The decision to push this year’s London Marathon to October 4, means the race will now take place on the same day as the Cardiff Half Marathon.

Brasher, thanked every institution that came to support them during this time and expressed optimism of finding the best dates for future races.

“We are extremely grateful for all the support we have received from City Hall, the London boroughs of Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, the City of Westminster and the City of London, Transport for London, the emergency services, the Royal Parks, BBC TV and many others as we worked to find an alternative date. The 40th race is scheduled to go ahead on Sunday, October 4, 2020.”

Here are the new major marathon schedules:

Boston Marathon – September 14

Berlin Marathon – September 27

London Marathon – October 4

Chicago Marathon – October 10

(03/15/2020) Views: 301 ⚡AMP
by Robert Abong’o
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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World record-holder Eliud Kipchoge disappointed by coronavirus outbreak after cancellation of London Marathon

World record-holder Eliud Kipchoge on Thursday took to social media to express his disappointment over the cancellation of the 2020 London Marathon amid coronavirus outbreak.

According to the event organizers, the 40th edition of the race, which was due to take place on April 26, will now be held on October 4.

Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele were among the men's elite names due to take part, as was women's record-holder Brigid Kosgei.

Following the postponement, the fastest marathon runner immediately expressed his disappointment, sharing a photo of himself crossing the line of the 2019 London Marathon, with a caption:

"It is unfortunate news that the @londonmarathon has been postponed but I fully respect the decision made by the organization as safeguarding the health of the world always takes our top priority.”

He also shared a message of positivity to all the runners disappointed by the news.

"To the thousands of runners who with me, have devoted the last months of our lives towards this goal I would like to say: Be proud of the work you have put into this journey, keep smiling and seek your next goal on the horizon to continue running in a smooth and positive way. I hope to share the starting line with you again soon," he added.

The decision comes three days after the Ministry of Sports banned Kenyan athletes from travelling to any international Sports events for the next 30 days following the global outbreak of Covid-19 (coronavirus).

Already a number of other high-profile sporting events, including marathons in Paris and Boston, have been called off due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

(03/14/2020) Views: 232 ⚡AMP
by Odero Charles
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Brigid Kosgei's 2:14:04 world marathon record has been ratified

Brigid Kosgei, who celebrated her 26th birthday on 20 February, shattered the previous mark at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on 13 October, slicing a massive 81 seconds from the 2:15:25 record Paul Radcliffe set in 2003 - when Kosgei was just nine years old.

The Kenyan's world record ambitions were clear from the outset. Opening with a blistering 15:28 first 5km, she settled into an unprecedented rhythm that quickly turned her run into a race against Radcliffe's long-standing record. Reaching 10km in 31:28, she churned out subsequent five-kilometer segments of 15:58 and 16:01 to reach the midway point in 1:06:59, itself a world-class time for the half marathon which put her on schedule for an astonishing 2:14:00 performance.

She forged on with 16:06, 15:45 and 15:56 five-kilometer splits, putting her on pace to finish more than a minute inside of Radcliffe's record after 35km. Looking remarkably comfortable, she powered on alone after her male pacers drifted away near the 40km mark, and, realizing the enormity of what she was about to achieve, ran with a smile on her face over the race's waning stages. 

“When I crossed the line it was really amazing. I was not expecting to break the world record," said Kosgei, who successfully defended her Chicago title.

“I was well prepared for the race, and at the starting point I knew it maybe would be a record - or not, so long as I would be near to a record. But I was not expecting it.

“But when I got to 15 kilometers I realized I was at the record pace. And then for me it was a matter of perseverance, and then I could become the world record holder.”

(02/26/2020) Views: 302 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the pinnacle of achievement for elite athletes and everyday runners alike. On race day, runners from all 50 states and more than 100 countries will set out to accomplish a personal dream by reaching the finish line in Grant Park. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is known for its flat and...

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Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh smashed the half marathon world record in Ras Al Khaimah

Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh smashed the world record to win the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon on Friday (21), clocking 1:04:31 at the World Athletics Gold Label road race.

Marathon world record-holder Brigid Kosgei was a distant second in 1:04:49, but her time was also inside the previous world record of 1:04:51, set by Joyciline Jepkosgei in Valencia in 2017.

Kosgei led for the first half, following pacemaker Geoffrey Pyego as he brought the field through five kilometers in 15:07 – 1:03:47 pace – with nine women in tow. By the time Kosgei reached 10 kilometers in 30:18, only Yeshaneh was able to stick with the Kenyan as Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yelahun led the chase pack some 11 seconds behind.

Roughly one mile after passing 15 kilometers in 45:38, Yeshaneh overtook Kosgei and continued to pull away. Although Yeshaneh’s pace slowed, she was still able to maintain her speed – and world record pace – better than Kosgei and covered the second 10km segment in 30:54.

Yeshaneh crossed the line in 1:04:31 to take 20 seconds off the world record while Kosgei followed in a Kenyan record of 1:04:49. It was revenge of sorts for the Ethiopian, who had finished second at last year’s Chicago Marathon when Kosgei won in a world record of 2:14:04.

Rosemary Wanjiru came through to take third place in 1:05:34, the fastest ever debut half marathon, and the next five women over the line finished inside 67 minutes.

“I didn’t imagine this result,” said Yeshaneh, whose previous best of 1:05:46 had stood as the Ethiopian record for a five-month period between 2018 and 2019. “I am a world record holder!”

Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie took the men’s race in 58:58, also winning by an 18-second margin as compatriot Alexander Mutiso Munyao finished second in 59:16.

Unlike the women’s race which was well inside world record pace throughout, the men’s race never quite hit the target times for each segment. The pacemaker covered the first five kilometers in 14:03, about 59:17 pace, and even then the rest of the field were five seconds adrift.

Having covered 10 kilometers in 28:07, the real racing began about 12 minutes later when Munyao moved into the lead and opened up a gap on Kandie. He still led at 15km, reached in 42:01, but Kandie had not given up.

Kandie, who won the Kenyan cross-country title just six days ago, caught Munyao with about three kilometers to go, eventually pulling away to win in 58:58, a personal best by 21 seconds. Munyao finished second in 59:16, just seven seconds shy of the PB he clocked in Santa Pola last month.

Mule Wasihun, who finished third at the London Marathon last year in 2:03:16, took third place in 59:47, closely followed by Alfred Barkach (59:49) and Vincent Kibor Raimoi (59:51).

(02/21/2020) Views: 336 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

The Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon is the 'world's fastest half marathon' because if you take the top 10 fastest times recorded in RAK for men (and the same for women) and find the average (for each) and then do the same with the top ten fastest recorded times across all races (you can reference the IAAF for this), the...

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Ababel Yeshaneh from Ethiopian runs the fastest time ever for the half marathon at Ras Al Khaimah beating Brigid Kosgei

Marathon world record holder Brigid Kosgei was beaten by Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh on Friday morning (Thursday night in the U.S.) at the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon by clocking 64:31 a world record.

Kosgei, running just her second race since obliterating the marathon world record by running 2:14:04 last October in Chicago, was the heavy favorite to win at RAK and lower the 64:51 record held by Joyciline Jepkosgei since 2017. The 26-year-old achieved the second part of that goal by running 64:49 on Friday, but it was only good enough for second place as Yeshaneh dropped Kosgei between 15 and 20km.

Here are the Ethiopian’s record-breaking splits: 15:07 5k, 30:18 10k (15:11), 45:41 15k (15:23), 61:11 20k (15:30), 64:31 FINISH (3:20)

Kosgei had a three-second advantage over Yeshaneh at 15k, but the Kenyan faded minutes later as she split 15:49 between 15k and 20k, her slowest kilometer by 27 seconds.

Ironically, Yeshaneh finished runner-up behind Kosgei at the 2019 Chicago Marathon in 2:20:51, a whopping six minutes and 47 seconds behind Kosgei’s transcendent run that day. Kosgei is still the unquestioned queen of the marathon right now, but Yeshaneh’s performance at RAK suggests that the 28-year-old Ethiopian could soon become a serious challenger.

Ababel Yeshaneh Birhane is an Ethiopian long-distance runner who competes in track, road and cross country events. She represented her country in the 10,000 metres at the 2013 World Championships in Athletics, coming ninth, and ranked fifth in the world on time that year.

In the men's race Kibiwott Kandie of Kenya clocked 58:58 with Alexander Mutiso Munyao 18 seconds behind for second place.  Mule Wasihun Lakew from Ethiopia was third clocking 59:49.  

(02/20/2020) Views: 358 ⚡AMP
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

The Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon is the 'world's fastest half marathon' because if you take the top 10 fastest times recorded in RAK for men (and the same for women) and find the average (for each) and then do the same with the top ten fastest recorded times across all races (you can reference the IAAF for this), the...

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World marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei set for first race of the season

World marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei is among elite athletes who will compete in Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in the United Arabs Emirates slated for Friday.

The Kapsait-based athlete will line up in the race alongside her compatriots, former World Half Marathon Championships title holder Peres Jepchirchir, Joan Chelimo, Rosemary Wanjiru and third fastest woman over the distance, Fancy Chemutai. World Half Marathon champion, Netsanet Gudeta, from Ethiopia will also compete in the race.

Kosgei, who is one of the most sought-after athletes at the moment, has predicted a competitive race in the Gulf.

“Friday’s race has attracted a competitive field and promises to be tough. My target is to run well, and to possibly register my personal best in the race,” she told Nation Sport Monday.

The reigning world marathon record holder who resumed training in December after a long break will have Geoffrey Kipsang for a pacemaker. Kipsang helped Kosgei break the world marathon record last year in Chicago Marathon.

“I have trained for the last few months and I will stick to my game plan in the race,” she said.

(02/18/2020) Views: 293 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

The Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon is the 'world's fastest half marathon' because if you take the top 10 fastest times recorded in RAK for men (and the same for women) and find the average (for each) and then do the same with the top ten fastest recorded times across all races (you can reference the IAAF for this), the...

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Kenya's Fancy Chemutai targets fast time at Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon

Two years ago, Kenya's Fancy Chemutai narrowly missed out on breaking the world record at the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Half Marathon.

However, as she returns to the United Arab Emirates city for the Al Khaimah Half Marathon on February 21, only one thing rings in her mind, win the race and prepare for her transition to the full marathon later this year.

"I had problems with my leg last year and it was the reason I did not post good results. But I have overcome it and I am looking forward to doing well in at the Al Khaimah Half Marathon next week," said Chemutai on Thursday.

Chemutai came just one second shy of the world record in February 2018 when she won in Ras Al Khaimah in a stunning 64 minutes 52 seconds.

Last year in January, Chemutai ran off an ankle injury to finish second at the Houston Half Marathon in a time of 66:48.

Now she believes she will be strong enough to challenge the course record in UAE, currently held by compatriot Joyciline Jepkosgei in 64:52.

Chemutai will, however, be up against a strong challenge from compatriots Brigid Kosgei, who was seventh at 66:49 in 2018, Joan Chelimo (65:04), Peres Jepchirchir (65:06) and debutante Rosemary Wanjiru as well as Ethiopia's reigning world half marathon champion Netsanet Gudeta.

"I have plans to run the full marathon, but the injury slowed me down," she said. "Now that I am back in action, I will discuss with the coaches and see how fast I can move to the marathon." 

(02/14/2020) Views: 323 ⚡AMP
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

The Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon is the 'world's fastest half marathon' because if you take the top 10 fastest times recorded in RAK for men (and the same for women) and find the average (for each) and then do the same with the top ten fastest recorded times across all races (you can reference the IAAF for this), the...

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Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir will be back for another shot at the Ras Al Khaimah half marathon title on February 21

Peres Jepchirchir will be up against women’s marathon world record-holder Brigid Kosgei while the men’s race will see Benard Kimeli, battle with Mosinet Geremew – one of only five men to complete a marathon in under two hours and three minutes.

European half marathon record-holder Julien Wanders of Switzerland is also in the line up.

A prize purse of Sh32.9 million (AED 1,219,000) will be distributed among leading elite runners as well as the UAE national and age group categories. Registration will close on Saturday.

The annual premier road race hosts a variety of race categories including elite runners, club and recreational runners, people of determination and juniors.

This year, it will also introduce a new relay race category for the first time, while a 1km fun race designed for children will allow families to enjoy themselves as well.

Jepchirchir, who set the then world record of 65.06 at the course, is keen to bounce back to victory this year.

“I have prepared well. I just want to run a good time on the course,” she said.

Jepchirchir, the Lisbon Marathon winner, broke Florence Kiplagat’s mark before Joyceline Jepkosgei slapped a new record.

She is still fresh from winning winning Saitama Marathon in Japan, the Lisbon Half marathon champion is optimistic that despite the classy line-up, she is not worried to take on the world-beaters in a race set for February 21 in the United Arab Emirates.

Kosgei, the world marathon record holder at 2:14:0 set at 2019 Chicago Marathon, will carry his 64:28 personal best, to the quality field.

Women’s defending champion Fancy Chemutai (64.52), Joan Chelimo (65.04), a former world half marathon silver medallist Mary Wanjiru as well as world half marathon champion Netsanet Gudeta of Ethiopia, are also hungry for glory.

But the stars must be at their best to stop the 25-year-old Kosgei, who will compete in her first race this season -and still enjoying a 10-race winning span since 2018 Chicago Marathon.

(02/13/2020) Views: 345 ⚡AMP
by Jonathan Komen
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

The Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon is the 'world's fastest half marathon' because if you take the top 10 fastest times recorded in RAK for men (and the same for women) and find the average (for each) and then do the same with the top ten fastest recorded times across all races (you can reference the IAAF for this), the...

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On Sunday April 26, 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon will celebrate 40 years

Virgin Money London Marathon, the world’s greatest marathon celebrates another landmark moment in its extraordinary history – The 40th Race.

From the legendary hand-in-hand finish of joint winners Dick Beardsley and Inge Simonsen in the very first London Marathon to countless world records; from one million finishers to £1 billion raised for charity; from crazy costumes to the incredible and inspiring examples of spirit and courage, The 40th Race – the name of this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon campaign – will celebrate them all.

The 40th Race campaign was launched at a star-studded reception on Tower Bridge, the iconic halfway point of the race, tonight (Tuesday 4 February) as a special film celebrating The 40th Race was released.

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the Virgin Money London Marathon, said: “This year will be The 40th Race and we are so proud of how far the event has come since that wet day back on 29 March 1981. The London Marathon has proved to be a unique force for good and continues to have an extraordinary impact on society. It is an event that has inspired profound social change.

“Every year on Marathon Day, London is transformed. On one amazing day, the runners take on the challenge of 26.2 miles as families and friends come out to support them. Charities, which spend months championing causes and runners, line the route. Many thousands of volunteers come together and more than 750,000 spectators line the streets, cheering on every runner – it is London, and the UK, at its best.

“We look forward to celebrating the rich history of the London Marathon and, as always, we are also looking to the future of the event and how we can continue to develop and grow the world’s greatest marathon.”

In the men’s elite race, the two fastest marathon runners of all time, world record holder Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) and Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) go head-to-head while women’s world record holder and defending champion Brigid Kosgei (KEN) leads the greatest female marathon field ever assembled, as she takes on 2018 champion Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN) and world champion Ruth Chepngetich (KEN).

(02/05/2020) Views: 305 ⚡AMP
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

The London Marathon was first run on March 29, 1981 and has been held in the spring of every year since 2010. It is sponsored by Virgin Money and was founded by the former Olympic champion and journalist Chris Brasher and Welsh athlete John Disley. It is organized by Hugh Brasher (son of Chris) as Race Director and Nick Bitel...

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Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD) has been announced as a primary sponsor for the 14th edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon

This sponsorship with the world’s fastest half marathon is another major endorsement for the race, which recently announced an impressive lineup of world-class elite runners.

One of the leading banks in the UAE, CBD’s sponsorship of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon forms an integral part of its social responsibility strategy to promote a healthy lifestyle, a strategy that has seen the bank previously partner with other prominent runs in the United Arab Emirates.

Dr. Bernd van Linder, Chief Executive Officer of Commercial Bank of Dubai, said: “We are excited to be playing a significant part in such a high-profile international event, as one of the race’s Primary Sponsors. As the world’s fastest half marathon, this event elevates the UAE’s reputation as a top destination for elite sport and we are proud to be associated with the race.

“This initiative also aligns well with our overall social responsibility strategy to promote a healthy lifestyle amongst UAE residents. The RAK Half Marathon has engaged the local running community for many years and this year is poised to attract even more participants due to the increase in the category options on offer.

“At CBD, we are all looking forward to the 21st February and seeing thousands of happy, active people crossing the finish line.”

Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, commented: “The world-renowned Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon goes from strength to strength with each passing year, so we are delighted to welcome on-board such an equally prominent partner as Commercial Bank of Dubai for the 2020 race.

“With just under a month to go, the anticipation is really building, so we’d really like to encourage as many runners as possible to sign up and come and enjoy this remarkable experience in the beautiful emirate of Ras Al Khaimah for themselves.”

Set against the picturesque backdrop of the Arabian Gulf, the popular Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon (www.therakhalfmarathon.com) will welcome thousands of professional and amateur runners from around the world. The annual premier road race will host a variety of race categories, including elite runners, club and recreational runners, people of determination and juniors.

In 2020, it will also introduce a new relay race category for the first time, while a 1 KM Fun Run designed for children will allow families to enjoy themselves as well. Registration is open until the 15th February.

A prize purse of Dh1,219,000 will be distributed among the leading elite runners as well as the UAE National and age group categories.

Among the favorites will be women’s marathon world record-holder, Brigid Kosgei from Kenya, while the men’s race will see Kenyan Benard Kimeli, who clinched back-to-back half marathon titles in Prague in 2018 and 2019, battle it out with the likes of Mosinet Geremew – one of only five men to complete a marathon in under two hours and three minutes – and European half marathon record-holder, Julien Wanders of Switzerland.

(02/04/2020) Views: 397 ⚡AMP
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

The Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon is the 'world's fastest half marathon' because if you take the top 10 fastest times recorded in RAK for men (and the same for women) and find the average (for each) and then do the same with the top ten fastest recorded times across all races (you can reference the IAAF for this), the...

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World record-holders Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei headline the star-studded Kenyan marathon team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Eliud Kipchoge, who is the first man to run the marathon in under two hours, will be seeking to defend the title he won in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil four years ago where he clocked 2:08:44.

Kipchoge, whose record stands at 2:01:39, will lead the Kenyan men’s team which also has debutant Chicago Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono, world silver medalist Amos Kipruto, former world half marathon silver medalist Bedan Karoki, and African Games half marathon winner Titus Ekiru. The duo of Karoki and Ekiru are on stand by.

Cherono, 32, made it to the team courtesy of his heroics in Chicago last year, where he timed 2:05:45 to win the race— just six months after claiming the Boston Marathon. He has a personal best of 2:04:06 recorded in Amsterdam in 2018. Cherono’s half marathon personal best stands at 1:00:46 posted in San Diego, USA last year.

Kipruto called on the sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed to accord the team support like she did during the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar. He termed the selection process as tough for AK owing to the number of top marathoners in the country pursuing to make the team.

“It was tough for AK to pick the team from the pool of marathoners we have. We are happy to have made the cut and we hope we will enjoy maximum support. The CS was in Doha with us during the World championships and her presence motivated the team. We will maintain our mentality and discipline in camp,” he said.

Similarly, Brigid Kosgei will lead the women’s team which will also feature world champion Ruth Chepngetich and former London Marathon champion Vivian Cheruiyot. Sally Kaptich and Vallary Aiyabei are on standby

Kosgei broke Paula Radcliffe's 16-year-old record held by a massive 81 seconds in October last year during the Chicago Marathon after crossing the line in 2:14:04. She is also the London Marathon champion and has half marathon personal best of 1:04:28. 

Chepngetich defied sweltering conditions in Doha to be crowned the world champion last year, where she clocked 2:32:43. The 26-year-old has a marathon personal best at 2:17:08 which she ran in Dubai last year. Her half marathon best time is 1:05:30. 

For Vivian, she returns to the Olympics as a marathoner after reigning supreme in the 5,000 and 10,000m races in the previous four editions. The decorated athlete won the 5,000m race in Rio and took silver in 10,000m. She will be hoping to add yet another Olympic gold medal to her rich collection. Her full marathon personal best is 2:18:31 which was recorded in London in 2018. Her half marathon best time is 1:06:34.

“It is the best team ever assembled for the Olympics. We are going to work hard in training and make our country proud,” said Cheruiyot

Training is set to begin on May 1 in Kaptagat according to AK President Jackson Tuwei.

(01/31/2020) Views: 381 ⚡AMP
by Meshack Kisenge
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, originally scheduled from July 24 to August 9, 2020, the games were postponed due to coronavirus outbreak, the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8 in 2021, according to the International Olympic Committee decision....

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Kenyan world record-holder Brigid Kosgei goal is to win the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon

World record-holder Brigid Kosgei has promised to go all out and win next month’s Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon.

Termed ‘the world’s fastest half marathon’, the 14th edition of the annual race will be held of February 21 with Kosgei expected to set the field alight alongside a line-up of world-class elite runners.

“I am really excited to come back to the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon after two years. My only experience in that race was in 2018 when I came in seventh (with a time of 66:49),” Kosgei said.

“I know that this year the line-up is one of the best ever for a half marathon and I really hope to run fast.”

Having smashed Paula Radcliffe’s long-standing marathon world record by 81 seconds last year in Chicago with a time of 2:14:04, the Kenyan star enjoyed an incredible 2019 where she won every single race she competed in, including the London Marathon and Great North Run where she set impressive times of 2:18:20 and 64:28 respectively. The Kenyan, who will celebrate her 26th birthday the previous day of the race, is expected to kick-start her preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Kosgei can expect stiff competition from a host of top runners, including recent winner of the Comrades Marathon, Gerda Steyn of South Africa when the 21.1km race is run on Ras Al Khaimah’s Marjan Island. Steyn kicked off her running journey in the UAE with the Desert Road Runners Club and distinguished herself by becoming the first woman to complete the Comrades ultra-marathon in under six hours.

Her personal best of 2:27:48 for the full marathon in New York last year earned her a qualifying spot at the Tokyo Olympics.

(01/30/2020) Views: 336 ⚡AMP
by Alaric Gomes
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

The Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon is the 'world's fastest half marathon' because if you take the top 10 fastest times recorded in RAK for men (and the same for women) and find the average (for each) and then do the same with the top ten fastest recorded times across all races (you can reference the IAAF for this), the...

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Controversial Nike Vaporflys will be allowed by World Athletics but running shoe rules will tighten

World Athletics will not be imposing a blanket ban on the controversial hi-tech Nike Vaporflys that have transformed athletics when it announces its long-awaited decision on shoe technology on Friday, the Guardian understands.

Instead the sport’s governing body is expected to announce a temporary suspension of any new shoe technology until after the Tokyo Olympics this summer, alongside the launch of a comprehensive research project to examine just how advantageous the shoes, and others like it from rival brands, are at elite level.

World Athletics is also likely to introduce a tighter set of regulations for new shoes in the future, including the need for companies to present any prototypes to it for approval before they can be used in competition.

Such has been the Vaporflys’ dominance in recent years that athletes wearing them claimed 31 of the 36 podium positions in the six world marathon majors in 2019.

The Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge also wore a pair when he set an official men’s world record in Berlin in 2018 with a time of 2hr 01min 39sec – while his compatriot Brigid Kosgei smashed Paula Radcliffe’s women’s record in the Next% version of the shoe last October in 2:14:04.

However the shoes, which were introduced in 2016, have deeply divided the athletics community, with some supporting the technological arms race as part of an inevitable evolution of the sport – and others warning that it is deeply unfair to athletes who are not sponsored by Nike.

Kipchoge has denied that, saying: “They are fair. I trained hard. Technology is growing and we can’t deny it – we must go with technology.” But the small number of studies conducted on the Vaporflys suggest that, depending on the model and athlete, they can typically improve a person’s running economy by 4-5% – which translates to at least a minute- to 90-second advantage for an elite male runner over 26.2 miles and even more in an average club athlete.

Vaporfly shoes will help me reach my marathon dream. Should I use them?

Where that leaves the Nike AlphaFly, the next generation prototype shoes worn by Eliud Kipchoge when he ran the first sub-two hour marathon in October in an unofficial event is unclear. It is understood that these shoes – which are said to contain three carbon plates and improve running economy by 8% – have not yet been submitted to World Athletics experts for inspection.

Even if the AlphaFlys are banned at elite level there will be no restrictions on ordinary athletes buying and wearing them in races when they are released in the shops by Nike.

(01/29/2020) Views: 349 ⚡AMP
by Sean Ingle
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Kapsait Athletics Training Camp in Elgeyo-Marakwet County, moulds future stars

Kapsait Athletics Training Camp in Elgeyo-Marakwet County has been on the news of late, thanks to Brigid Kosgei’s awe-inspiring performances in athletics that saw her break the world marathon record on October 13.

Kosgei, who trains and resides in Kapsait, timed 2 hours, 14 minutes and four seconds in Chicago Marathon last year to break Briton Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old record by a minute and 24 seconds.

World Under-20 5,000 meters champion Edward Zakayo is also a Form Four student at the Kapsait Athletics Secondary School housed in the same compound.

Lately, the camp has been receiving prominent visitors. On Monday, Koji Jitsukawa who is the executive director and head of Africa Region at Yamanashi Gakuin University in Japan presented training kits to the school.

Koji said the university was keen on partnering with upcoming athletes as one way of improving young talent. The Japan-based private university has been supporting Kenyan athletes since 1988.

“As a university, we are proud of our role in nurturing young talent. We want to support them and to promote their education and sports at the same time. We already have two Kenyan students at the university and they have been doing well,” Koji said.

(01/28/2020) Views: 318 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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I never expected to hold to world marathon record for so long said Paula Radcliffe in Dubai this weekend

British marathon legend Paula Radcliffe revealed that she hadn't expected her world record to stand the test of time for so many years and said that it was only a matter of time before a new mark came about.

Radcliffe's women's world record of 2:15:25 seconds mark set at the London Marathon in 2003 had stood for 16 years until Kenyan Brigid Kosgei etched a new mark of 2:14:04 seconds at the Chicago Marathon last October.

And Radcliffe, who won the London Marathon in 2002, 2003 and 2005 apart from clinching gold at the World Championship in Helsinki in 2005, had felt an inkling of what was to transpire after watching Kosgei at the Great North Run just a month prior to the new world record being set. "I think when I saw Brigid Kosgei running in the Great North Run prior to Chicago, I knew that she was in shape to be able to beat the time," Radcliffe told the Khaleej Times on Friday.

As always, Radcliffe was in Dubai to attend the 21st edition of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon.

"You never expect to hold a world record even as long as I did but certainly not forever. So, it is always a matter of time until it is beaten," she added.

The 46-year-old Radcliffe also did the commentary for the race and felt that it was a great day of racing. Ethiopian Olika Adugna Bikila won the men's title while countrywoman Worknesh Degefa Debele won the women's title.

"Again, we saw excellent racing," felt Radcliffe. "Every year, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon produces usually very fast times and very good racing.

"Today (Friday), because of the conditions maybe, the times were not so fast. But still, it was very impressive racing and it was exciting to watch. Getting to see so many men coming into the final 300-400 metres together, produced a very, very exciting finish. And good wins and first and second for debutants in Dubai.

"Dubai is always known for bringing through the debutants with a good race. On the women's side, I think Worknesh went out very bravely and very strongly.

"She paid the price (recurrence of a back problem) a little bit in the second half but still managed to have a very dominant victory," added Radcliffe.

Radcliffe also paid a glowing tribute to Dubai after the city put on another good show. "I think it is the support, the course and the organisation. It is second to none," Radcliffe said about what makes the Dubai Marathon so special.

"It is a very fast course and conditions are usually good. The organisation is really strong so it helps the athletes to not have to worry about anything else other than their performance.

"And now, we are in the 21st year. Year upon year, it builds reputation and standing. So, now, it is the place to come in January if you are running well," she added.

(01/26/2020) Views: 406 ⚡AMP
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Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon

Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon

In its relatively brief history (the race was first held in 2000), the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has become one of the fastest, most respected and the most lucrative marathon in the world in terms of prize money. Each year thousands of runners take to the roads in this beautiful city in the United Arab Emirates for this extraordinary race...

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World marathon record-holder Brigid Kosgei is the standout name in the women’s field for the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon

Brigid Kosgei who broke the world marathon record (pending ratification) with her stunning 2:14:04 run in Chicago last year, will return to the UAE after finishing seventh at the 2018 edition of the race. Her official half marathon PB is 1:05:28, but she also won last year’s Great North Run – a slightly downhill point-to-point course – in 1:04:28, the fastest time in history for 13.1 miles.

“I am really excited to come back to the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon after two years,” said Kosgei. “I know that this year the line-up is one of the best ever for a half marathon and I really hope to run fast.”

The 25-year-old Kenyan is one of several women in the field with a PB inside 66 minutes. She will line up against Fancy Chemutai, whose best of 1:04:52 is just one second shy of the world half marathon record, 2016 world half marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir, who briefly held the world record following her 1:05:06 victory in Ras Al Khaimah in 2017, Ethiopia’s Netsanet Gudeta, who set a women-only world record to win the 2018 world half marathon title, and Joan Melly Chelimo, the fourth-fastest woman in history.

Rosemary Wanjiru, who recently went to third on the world all-time 10km list with 29:50, will be making her half marathon debut.

In the men’s race, world marathon silver medalist Mosinet Geremew will take on Two-time Prague Half Marathon winner Benard Kimeli and European record-holder Julien Wanders.

Ethiopian trio Andamlak Belihu, Solomon Berihu and Amdemwork Walelegn are also in the field along with Kenyan duo Alexander Mutiso and Kibiwott Kandie.

(01/22/2020) Views: 441 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

The Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon is the 'world's fastest half marathon' because if you take the top 10 fastest times recorded in RAK for men (and the same for women) and find the average (for each) and then do the same with the top ten fastest recorded times across all races (you can reference the IAAF for this), the...

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