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Articles tagged #Eliud Kipchoge
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World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge travels to Netherlands for NN Marathon

World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge will compete in the NN Mission Marathon in Dutch city of Enschede on Sunday.

“NN Mission Marathon will go ahead as planned on April 18 and will be moved from Hamburg to Enschede, The Netherlands, on the specially designed course on Twente Airport which will be closed for general audience,”  race organisers said yesterday in a statement.

The race which was initially planned for April 11, was pushed forward by a week due to Covid-19 restrictions in Hamburg.

And on Tuesday, Kenyan competitors started their journey to Nairobi from Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County via road due to Covid-19 restrictions which have forced suspension of local flights. In Nairobi, the athletes boarded the KLM Airlines flight and were expected in Enschede at 7.00am.

Another group of pacemakers will leave Kenya on Thursday for Enschede.

Kipchoge will be joined by up to 70 elite athletes who are seeking to qualify for the 2020 Olympics Games. The notable athletes include 2012 Olympics Games marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich from Uganda, his training mates Laban Korir and Jonathan Korir, Uganda’s Filex Chemonges,  and Ethiopia’s Tadese Abraham.

Kiprotich, who used to train with Kipchoge at the Global Sports Communication camp in Kaptagat but has since changed his training to Kapchorua in Uganda, said his focus is to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

“The virus has really demoralised many athletes because even if they train, where are they going to compete? I have trained well and my focus now is to qualify for the Olympics Games and join my compatriot Fred Musoba who has already qualified,” revealed Kiprotich.

(04/14/2021) Views: 19 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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NN Mission Marathon

NN Mission Marathon

Eliud Kipchoge will bid to resume winning ways in his last race before the Tokyo games with around 70 runners looking to make the Olympic qualification standard on April 18th in Twente.After suffering a rare marathon defeat in London last October, reigning Olympic champion Eliud Kipchogemakes his return at the NN Mission Marathon in 2021. It is set to be...

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Can pacemaker and three-time Toronto Marathon champion Philemon Rono help Kipchoge hit another milestone?

Pacemaker Philemon Rono is all fired up for the ardours task of pacing a strong field, led by world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, at Sunday's NN Mission Marathon in Enschede.

Rono, who clinched the 2016, 2017 and 2019 Toronto Marathon titles will link up with another Toronto Marathon champion Laban Korir, former Olympic and world marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich, Augustine Choge and Jonathan Korir.

The race — initially set for April 11 in Hamburg, Germany — is set for Enschede in the Netherlands and an upbeat Rono is confident he has what it takes to cap off Kipchoge's glittering career with another feather.

“As a pacesetter, you have a lot of mathematics to do in a race, unlike the athlete. You need to be tactical, timely and stay focused on the laid down rules,” said Rono.

He proved his mettle during his stint at the Global Sports Communication training camp, where he set up Wilson Kipsang for a 2:03:38 world marathon record at the 2013 Berlin Marathon.

Rono's exploits also saw him fire up three-time world half marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor to a decent fourth finish at the Rotterdam Marathon.

“With such experience in pace-setting, I will do my best to achieve the results as demanded by the race organisers,” added Rono, nicknamed 'junior police' because of his short stature.

(04/13/2021) Views: 36 ⚡AMP
by Emmanuel Sabuni
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NN Mission Marathon

NN Mission Marathon

Eliud Kipchoge will bid to resume winning ways in his last race before the Tokyo games with around 70 runners looking to make the Olympic qualification standard on April 18th in Twente.After suffering a rare marathon defeat in London last October, reigning Olympic champion Eliud Kipchogemakes his return at the NN Mission Marathon in 2021. It is set to be...

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Briton Hutchings calls for records reset for high-tech shoes era

World Athletics should introduce a new set of records for times set by athletes wearing high-tech footwear, said British Olympian Tim Hutchings, as debate continues over whether the shoes give runners an unfair advantage.

Footwear developed by Nike played a role in two of the biggest distance-running achievements of 2019, with Eliud Kipchoge’s sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna and Brigid Kosgei’s record-breaking run at the Chicago Marathon bringing the Vaporfly shoes into the spotlight.

While World Athletics banned the shoes from professional sport last year, Nike has launched a new version of its Alphafly footwear that complies with new rules introduced by the governing body.

"People from many quarters are saying stop fussing about the shoes. Just move on and enjoy the racing. To which I'd respond, I've always enjoyed the racing and will continue to," Hutchings told The Times here.

“But I want to enjoy and respect times as well, not just cast aside that element. A reset would enable this. The shoes are here to stay, sadly the genie is out of the bottle.”

Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich shaved 29 seconds off the world half marathon record on Sunday and British triathlete Beth Potter is awaiting ratification of a world record time from a low-key 5km road race a day earlier.

Both athletes wore high-tech footwear made by different manufacturers.

“Let folk race and record new era personal bests,” said Hutchings, who finished fourth in the 5,000m at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

“A date needs to be identified retrospectively, then everyone would respect times in the right context. Athletes deserve that.”

(04/10/2021) Views: 25 ⚡AMP
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NN Running has announced its elite field for Mission Marathon

Set to run in the Netherlands on April 18, Eliud Kipchoge will headline the race of about 60 athletes.

The fields for the NN Mission Marathon have been released, and the world finally knows who will toe the start line with Eliud Kipchoge. The races are set to be run in Enschede, the Netherlands, on April 18, and fields of 23 women and 35 men will line up to compete. Kipchoge is the clear favourite for the win, but second place in the men’s race and first place in the women’s are both anybody’s to claim, which will make for a couple of exciting and dramatic competitions.

The men’s race

In the men’s race, the pre-race seed times aren’t even close, and there’s really no debate as to who is most likely to win. Kipchoge owns the world record in the marathon with his PB of 2:01:39, and he has also run an unofficial record of 1:59:40. While many of the other runners racing the NN Mission Marathon are looking to qualify for the Tokyo Games or prove that they deserve to be chosen for their national Olympic teams, Kipchoge has a simpler and less stressful reason to run: he needs to bounce back from his poor race at the London Marathon last fall.

He’s still a heavy favourite heading into the Tokyo Games, but his poor 2:06:49 showing in October proved that he is human, and for the first time in years, his competitors might seriously believe they have a chance to beat him. A great race in the Netherlands can boost Kipchoge’s confidence while also knocking down that of his rivals ahead of the Olympics.

The next fastest PB in the men’s field belongs to Felix Chemonges, who owns the Ugandan national marathon record of 2:05:12 (which he ran at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2019). Chemonges hasn’t raced since March 2020, though, and his last result was a sub-par 2:10:08 run at the Lake Biwa Marathon in Japan.

Only one other man in the field, Kenya’s Laban Korir, has run a sub-2:06 marathon in his career, and his 2:05:54 PB puts him at third-best in the men’s race. Out of the 35 men set to race the NN Mission Marathon, 17 have run faster than the Olympic standard of 2:11:30, and 11 runners from that group have broken 2:10.

It’d be safe to bet on Kipchoge for the overall win in the Netherlands, but with so many other runners hovering around the same seed times, the battle for second and third place — plus the mad dash to cross the finish before the clock hits 2:11:30 — will produce must-watch coverage.

The women’s race has the potential to be much more competitive than the men’s when it comes to the overall win. Mexican marathon record holder Madai Perez has the fastest PB of any of the women in the field. The only thing is that she ran her national record of 2:22:59 all the way back in 2006, and the last time she broke 2:30 came in Chicago in 2017, when she ran 2:24:44. She certainly could take the win in the Netherlands, but her seed time is a bit misleading considering how long ago she ran it.

Next up are Jessica Augusto and Sara Moreira, a couple of Portuguese runners. Augusto owns a PB of 2:24:25, just ahead of Moreira’s career best of 2:24:49. Both of these women have posted tremendous times in the past, but neither has completed a marathon in recent years. Augusto’s last finish came in 2017, and she has one DNF since then.

Moreira has had an even worse few years, and her last finish came in 2015. Since then, she has DNFed three times, including in the marathon at the Rio Olympics. In 2015, though, she placed second at the Prague Marathon and fourth at the New York City Marathon. The next athlete on the start list is Kenya’s Gladys Chesir, who has a PB of 2:24:51, but like her Portuguese competitors, she hasn’t completed a marathon in years, and her last official finish was in 2017.

In total, nine of the 23 women in the field have beaten the Olympic standard of 2:29:30, with several others knocking at the door of sub-2:30 results. Like the men’s race, the women’s run should be an exciting affair, and it’s an event no running fan will want to miss.

(04/09/2021) Views: 46 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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NN Mission Marathon

NN Mission Marathon

Eliud Kipchoge will bid to resume winning ways in his last race before the Tokyo games with around 70 runners looking to make the Olympic qualification standard on April 18th in Twente.After suffering a rare marathon defeat in London last October, reigning Olympic champion Eliud Kipchogemakes his return at the NN Mission Marathon in 2021. It is set to be...

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NN Mission Marathon has confirmed Netherlands as new location

The NN Running Team announced on Tuesday that the NN Mission Marathon has been relocated to Enschede, the Netherlands. The race, which organizers postponed on March 31, will take place on April 18, one week later than it was originally set to be run.

The event will feature about 70 athletes, including marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge, who will be looking to use the race as a chance to test his fitness ahead of this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

The original plan for the NN Mission Marathon was announced in February, and organizers hoped to hold it in Hamburg. That plan fell apart in late March, when COVID-19 restrictions changed in Germany, ultimately making it impossible to hold any race in Hamburg in the coming weeks. 

The NN Running Team announced the postponement and relocation of the Mission Marathon just over a week before the race date of April 11. The event was only pushed one week, which didn’t give event organizers much time to find a new host city for the race.

It turns out that they needed less than a week to do so, though, as the NN Running Team announced the official change of venue on Tuesday. The race will now take place at Twente Airport, which is about 12K outside of Enschede. 

The NN Running Team’s postponement announcement likely created a lot of stress for many of the runners set to race the Mission Marathon. The event, after all, was organized specifically for athletes looking to hit Olympic standard in the marathon ahead of the Tokyo Games. With so few racing opportunities on the calendar, this could be the last chance for a lot of athletes to qualify for Tokyo, and when the race was rescheduled, these runners probably began to scramble as they searched for a backup event in case the postponement turned into an outright cancellation. 

Kipchoge is already a lock for the Kenyan Olympic team, and he will be one of the favorites to win gold in the marathon this summer. Even so, he, too, probably breathed a sigh of relief when it was announced that the race can officially go ahead in the Netherlands, as there is still a lot riding on this race for him.

He doesn’t need to perform well to guarantee his ticket to Tokyo, but a good run at the Mission Marathon can silence any doubters who think he is past his prime. 

Luckily for Kipchoge and the many Olympic hopefuls slated to run the Mission Marathon, the race is good to go in its new home in the Netherlands. It will be can’t-miss action on April 18, and seeing as there is so much on the line for these athletes, dramatic runs can certainly be expected. 

(04/07/2021) Views: 72 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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NN Mission Marathon

NN Mission Marathon

Eliud Kipchoge will bid to resume winning ways in his last race before the Tokyo games with around 70 runners looking to make the Olympic qualification standard on April 18th in Twente.After suffering a rare marathon defeat in London last October, reigning Olympic champion Eliud Kipchogemakes his return at the NN Mission Marathon in 2021. It is set to be...

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British Olympian Tim Hutchings calls for records reset in hi-tech shoes era

World Athletics should introduce a new set of records for times set by athletes wearing high-tech footwear, said British Olympian Tim Hutchings, as debate continues over whether the shoes give runners an unfair advantage. 

Footwear developed by Nike played a role in two of the biggest distance-running achievements of 2019, with Eliud Kipchoge's sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna and Brigid Kosgei's record-breaking run at the Chicago Marathon bringing the Vaporfly shoes into the spotlight. 

While World Athletics banned the shoes from professional sport last year, Nike has launched a new version of its Alphafly footwear that complies with new rules introduced by the governing body. 

"People from many quarters are saying stop fussing about the shoes. Just move on and enjoy the racing. To which I'd respond, I've always enjoyed the racing and will continue to," Hutchings told The Times. 

"But I want to enjoy and respect times as well, not just cast aside that element. A reset would enable this. The shoes are here to stay, sadly the genie is out of the bottle." 

Kenya's Ruth Chepngetich shaved 29 seconds off the world half marathon record on Sunday and British triathlete Beth Potter is awaiting ratification of a world record time from a low-key 5km road race a day earlier. 

Both athletes wore high-tech footwear made by different manufacturers. 

"Let folk race and record new era personal bests," said Hutchings, who finished fourth in the 5,000m at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. 

"A date needs to be identified retrospectively, then everyone would respect times in the right context. Athletes deserve that." 

(04/07/2021) Views: 39 ⚡AMP
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Eliud Kipchoge's redemption run has been pushed one week due to COVID-19 restrictions in Germany

With less than two weeks to go until the NN Mission Marathon in Hamburg, event organizers have postponed the race until April 18 due to local COVID-19 restrictions. Those same restrictions in Hamburg are forcing officials to find a new location for the race with less than a month of notice. The event is set to feature Eliud Kipchoge, who is looking to bounce back from his sub-par performance at the London Marathon last October, but he will now have to wait a little longer before getting back in action. 

“Over the past months, we have learned that we need to be flexible and stay positive,” Kipchoge tweeted after the news of the Mission Marathon postponement broke. It’s true that members of the global running community got used to race cancellations throughout 2020, but by the end of the year and moving into 2021, it seemed like event organizers had figured out the right formula to hold a run during the pandemic (for elite-only races, at least). 

Unfortunately, COVID-19 proved once again that there is no way to guarantee an event’s safety during this pandemic. Granted, the Mission Marathon has only been postponed, but seeing as it has been rescheduled to run just one week after originally planned, it could be tough for organizers to find another city in the coming weeks. 

In a press release announcing the postponement, Hamburg Marathon managing director Frank Thaleiser expressed his team’s regret. “Of course we were quite disappointed at first, but we can understand the decision given the current situation,” he said. “We are now putting all our efforts into the realization of the event at a different location and are optimistic that we will find a solution.”

Thaleiser said he and the other organizers owe this race to the more than 70 athletes who were set to run in Hamburg. For Kipchoge, the race represented a chance to prove he’s still the man to beat going into the Tokyo Olympics, but for other runners, this was perhaps their last opportunity to qualify for the Summer Games. If the race cannot go ahead, many runners will have to scramble to find another competition before the summer.

 

(04/02/2021) Views: 38 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Eliud Kipchoge must wait to return as Hamburg race postponed

Initially, the NN Running Team in conjunction with Global Sports Communication had scheduled the race for April 11, but had to postpone it by a week due to the deadly coronavirus.

“The NN Mission Marathon race in Hamburg will be postponed to April 18. Due to the current local Covid-19 situation, the organisation is also forced to find an alternative location for the race," read the statement.

World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge was set to take part in the race alongside former Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich from Uganda. Others who will run include Jonathan Korir, Laban Korir, Augustine Choge, Gladys Chesir and Ethiopia's Haven Hailu.

“The NN Mission Marathon in Hamburg will be postponed to April 18. Over the past months we have learned that we need to be flexible and stay positive. With this in mind, I thank everybody involved, keep working hard with positive minds to find a good alternative," posted Kipchoge on Twitter Wednesday.

Kipchoge is using the race as part of preparations ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games where he is set to defend his Marathon title.

In an earlier interview, he stated that his training has been going on well and is looking forward to run a race that is going to inspire the world at this hard time.

“I want to run a beautiful race to inspire the world which is in huge transition into the bright future after a long break due to the pandemic. It feels good to be back where I started my marathon career, it’s the greatest memory in my life,” he said.

Last week, the team released names of the pacemakers for the race led by Victor Chumo and Philemon Rono.

Other pacers include Philemon Kacheran, Gideon Kipketer, Noah Kipkemboi, Paul Pollock, Victor Kiplangat, Alex Kibarus, Jackson Kiprop, Moses Koech, Sylvester Kiptoo and Bernard Cheptoch.

The traditional annual Hamburg marathon, which was postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic, is scheduled to take place on September 12.

(03/31/2021) Views: 39 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Eliud Kipchoge ready for Hamburg Marathon redemption

Kenyan Olympic champion and marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge, is hoping to return to the top of the podium at the NN Hamburg Marathon on April 11 to redeem his stature following his shock London defeat last year.

The distance running star will be featured at the elite-only marathon for those looking to secure an Olympic qualifying time after few chances to compete in 2020 because of the pandemic.

Kipchoge saw his 10-marathon winning streak ended at the 2020 London Marathon on Oct. 4 but has had the time to recover and build back up at his training camp in Kaptagat, Kenya.

He will be running in Germany to gauge his shape ahead of a planned Olympic title defense in the summer.

"My number one goal is to run a beautiful race in Hamburg. A beautiful race will give people hope. It is another step that we are on the right track to normality," Kipchoge who ran the standing 2:01:39 world record at the 2018 Berlin Marathon tweeted on Thursday.

According to his management, NN Running, the Rio 2016 gold winner is hoping to reignite his marathon supremacy at the city where he made a victorious debut over the distance in April 2013.

"Hamburg has a lot of memories for me, it was my first exposure to the marathon and I remember thinking I didn't know what would happen at 25km, 30km, 35km and 40km. That memory of 'will I hit the wall' is still there. It was the beginning of my life in the marathon," Kipchoge told the NN Running website on Wednesday.

The impressive 2:05:30 win at the 2013 Hamburg Marathon sparked off a career switch from track running that yielded 11 wins in 13 marathons started for the Kenyan.

Prior to London 2020 where he clocked 2:06:49 for eighth, Kipchoge's only other loss at the distance came at the 2013 Berlin race where he was beaten to second by compatriot Wilson Kipsang who ran a then world record of 2:02:32.

Kipsang has since been banned for four years for Whereabouts Rules violations.

"Winning there gave me confidence that I could run the marathon and it played a big role in my career. Now I am running Hamburg again in a very different situation. We have very few races globally and it is a good opportunity to test myself, run well and offer hope to the world," Kipchoge remarked.

On Oct. 12, 2019, he became the first man to cover the classic 42.192km marathon distance in under two hours at the specially arranged INEOS 1:59 Challenge in Vienna, Austria where he stopped the timer at 1:59:40.

However, like every other sportsperson around the world, Kipchoge was affected by the pandemic, admitting to NN Running that life has been "very hard."

Forced for several months to stay within his compound because of restrictions on movement implemented by the Kenyan government to control the virus, it was not an easy period for the first man in history to run a sub-two-hour marathon.

He spent the lockdown months by organizing a food distribution drive in partnership with several local companies and individuals to feed other affected runners who have not been as fortunate as him.

"It was really hard to go training and not mix with people to fight the virus. I am happy to have since resumed training with the team, but we continue to make sure we do so safely within the protocols because the virus is still with us.

"Life has been hard but that is the way of the world - we need to get through it but I think we are on the right track to a brighter future," the three-time London marathon winner underscored.

After suffering an untimely ear blockage, Kipchoge suffered his first marathon defeat in seven years in London but insists he is in "great mental and physical shape" and is looking forward to competing on the streets of Hamburg.

(03/19/2021) Views: 78 ⚡AMP
by Xinhua News
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Kengo Suzuki still in state of shock after setting Japan marathon record

A day after his blistering run at the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, Kengo Suzuki was still coming to grips with his status as a new Japanese national record holder on Monday.

Suzuki surprised even himself by setting the national men’s marathon record of 2 hours, 4 minutes, 56 seconds in Sunday’s race along the shores of Japan’s largest freshwater lake in Shiga Prefecture.

“It’s slowly sinking into my head that I actually set a new national record,” Suzuki said in an online press conference.

“(The race) has done more damage to my legs than I had imagined, so I’m going to take some time to rest before I move on to my next goal,” he said.

Suzuki’s win made him the first Japanese runner to complete a sub-2:05 marathon. He was among the more than 300 men lined up to run the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, one of the country’s most prominent races.

The unheralded Suzuki finished 12th in the same race last year, but this year he chopped more than five minutes off his previous personal best of 2:10:21, set in 2018.

Now the 25-year-old has set his sights on the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“(I still lack) the physical toughness to endure high-intensity training and the mental toughness to fend off (other runners’) attempts to unsettle me,” he said. “It’s important that I work out consistently every day.”

The previous national record of 2:05:29 was set last March at the Tokyo Marathon by Suguru Osako, who secured qualification for the Tokyo Olympics.

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge holds the official marathon world record of 2:01:39, which he set at the Berlin Marathon in 2018, as well as the unofficial world record of 1:59:40 from an event in Vienna, Austria, in 2019 held under several artificial conditions.

Suzuki believes himself capable of running a sub-2:04 marathon in the near future, provided he can steer clear of injury.

“I’m getting more comfortable with my marathon training program,” he said. “If I’m able to stay injury-free and I raise my fitness levels, then that time might just be reachable.”

Spectators at Sunday’s race were asked to refrain from cheering on the sidelines as a coronavirus countermeasure.

The event, first run in 1946 in Osaka, moved to Shiga in 1962. But top runners have recently been opting to run the Tokyo Marathon, held around the same time of the year and said to produce better records.

Toshihiko Seko, who booked his berth for the 1988 Seoul Olympics by winning that year’s Lake Biwa Marathon, said, “It was a fitting finale and wonderful. It was a history-changing race.”

(03/02/2021) Views: 109 ⚡AMP
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LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

LAKE BIWA MAINICHI MARATHON

The Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon held in Otsu, Shiga, is one of the prominent Japanese marathon races of the year. It is a male-only competition and has IAAF Gold Label status. It was first held in 1946 and, having taken place every year since then, it is Japan's oldest annual marathon race. The early editions of the race were held...

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3 Key Reasons Why Records Keep Getting Broken in 2021

It’s not just the shoes. But they certainly help.

The times have been spectacular across the globe.

In Europe, four men broke the previous world half marathon record in December in Valencia, Spain. Earlier this month, Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia set a world record for the indoor 1500 meters on February 9, running 3:53.09 at a meet in Liévin, France.

Closer to home, Americans Sara Hall, Keira D’Amato, Martin Hehir, and Noah Droddy reshuffled the list of top 10 Americans in the marathon. 

On the track, Donavan Brazier, Bryce Hoppel, Elle Purrier, and Grant Holloway have set American or world records. 

High school and college athletes are in on the action, too. Hobbs Kessler set the high school indoor mile record with his 3:57.66, and Cooper Teare of the University of Oregon took almost 2 seconds off the collegiate mile record when he ran 3:50.39. Athing Mu at Texas A&M, who was thought to be an 800-meter runner, has been turning in world-class 400-meter splits and anchored her teammates to a collegiate record in the 4x400 meters. 

What’s going on with all these fast times? Yes, there is new shoe technology, but it goes well beyond that for these record-shattering runners.

Shoe technology that changed road racing is now changing track racing

Back in 2017, when Eliud Kipchoge attempted for the first time to break two hours in the marathon on a racetrack in Monza, Italy, he wore a new type of shoe from Nike, the Zoom Vaporfly Elite. The shoes promised a 4 percent efficiency benefit, through a combination of a new type of foam, which was lighter and more responsive than previous foams, and a stiff carbon fiber plate to stabilize the foam and move the foot as it pushes off the ground.

Nike’s innovative design has evolved since 2017 and has been emulated, with varying degrees of success, by other shoe brands, like Saucony and Adidas. Now the same technology—better foam with a stiff plate inside—has moved into track spikes, said Geoff Burns, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Michigan who is researching biomechanics and sport performance.

“The absolute effect may be a little bit smaller,” he said. “But because of the controlled environment and frequency of racing on a track, it’s much more apparent.”

Burns said that although Nike’s competitors are closing the gap, he hesitates to say that they’ve caught up. He praises Adidas and Saucony road shoes, and Adidas and New Balance for track spikes. “But if I were getting on a starting line, for a marathon or a track race, I would be in the Nike shoes,” he said. 

Races are set up in near-perfect conditions

With the pandemic, the traditional lineup of road races and track meets has gone out the window, as race organizers have grappled with how to stage events safely. 

In their place, pro runners, needing to race, have turned to time trials. And many of these are set up according to exact specifications. 

Take The Ten, a track meet on February 20 in San Juan Capistrano, California. In two 10,000-meter track races, athletes—almost exclusively from the Bowerman Track Club in Portland, Oregon—were paced to try to get the Olympic standard in the event, which is 27:28 for men and 31:25 for women. 

In the women’s race, Vanessa Fraser and Courtney Frerichs (the American record holder in the steeplechase), set a perfect pace, running 74- or 75-second laps. Fraser led for the first two miles, Frerichs took over and set the pace through four miles, 16 of the 25 laps. Her teammates could turn off their brains and follow behind. In the end, Elise Cranny won in 30:47 and five women hit the standard, four from Bowerman plus Eilish McColgan of Great Britain. The results of the men’s race were similar: Evan Jager and Sean McGorty paced, Marc Scott won in 27:10, and five runners achieved the Olympic standard. 

“We are fortunate to have [teammates] who can pace a race for three or four miles,” said Marielle Hall, a Bowerman runner who finished fifth in 31:21. “That doesn’t happen that often. We’re pretty lucky.” 

The Marathon Project, on December 20 in Chandler, Arizona, was similar in some ways. Organizers picked a perfectly flat U-shaped loop. Runners went up one side of a 2.1-mile stretch of road and back down the other. Pacers for the top men and women kept a steady pace through 18 miles. In the end, Martin Hehir ran 2:08:59, and Sara Hall ran 2:20:32. Hehir is now eighth on the list of fastest U.S. marathoners; Hall is second among women.

Athletes have benefited from long training blocks—and now they’re itching to race

In a typical season, many college runners race too frequently. They compete in three seasons—cross country, indoor and outdoor track. They might travel the country every other week, chasing top-level competition and in track, qualifying marks for nationals. 

But that’s not the case this year. Last March, just as the pandemic was spreading across the country, the NCAA canceled indoor nationals. (Many athletes were already at the meet.) The outdoor season was quickly called off, and the cross-country season, which was supposed to happen in the fall of 2020, was pushed to winter. 

The result? College runners have had long blocks of uninterrupted training time with little or no racing outside of team time trials. They’re eager to race again, and they’re reaping the benefits of the extended period of training. 

Pros, too, may have benefitted from less racing than usual. And many have the feeling that finally, now that racing is back in some form, it’s time to run fast, especially in the buildup to the Olympic Trials. “The pent-up demand to have races — that definitely has something to do with it,” said Mark Coogan, coach of Team New Balance Boston, who coached Elle Purrier to a 9:10.28 American record in the two mile on February 13.

In a sense, track athletes have been forced to train as marathoners do, with long blocks of dedicated training toward one event, Burns said. “I think there could be enormous gains to track and field performances by taking the same approach: Hunker down and focus.” 

Marielle Hall said that training and limited racing through the pandemic has been “all been just one giant experiment.” Bowerman workouts, designed by head coach Jerry Schumacher, are getting harder. Splits they aim for during interval workouts are faster. They do more reps. “Those kinds of things are constantly evolving, changing to fit people’s new fitness level,” she said. “It looks a lot more effortless than it is.” 

 

(02/28/2021) Views: 65 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Kenya's Olympics Marathon team has been named

The 2020 Valencia Marathon winners Peres Jepchirchir and Vincent Kipchumba have been included in Kenya’s marathon team for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Making the announcement Tuesday, Athletics Kenya senior vice president, Paul Mutwii, disclosed that Kenya will be represented by four athletes each in the men and women’s categories.

Jepchirchir, the World Half Marathon champion and Half Marathon World record holder, now joins World Marathon champion, Ruth Chepngétich, Marathon World record holder, Brigid Kosgei and multiple World champion and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic 5,000m gold medalist and 10,000m silver medalist, Vivian Cheruiyot.

Kipchumba will team up with Olympic Marathon champion, Eliud Kipchoge, World Marathon bronze medallist, Amos Kipruto and 2019 Boston Marathon winner Lawrence Cherono.

Four athletes, who were named as reserves in the original team that was named in January last year before the Tokyo Olympics were postponed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, have been dropped.

They are Valary Ayabei and Sally Chepyego in the women’s team and Titus Ekiru and Bedan Karoki in the men's side.

Asked why they have settled on four athletes in each team, Mutwii said: "It's a decision we have made and we are certain they will deliver outstanding victories."

The delayed Summer Olympics will be staged from July 23 to August 8, but while the track and field events will be held at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, the race walk and marathon events will be at Odori Park in Sapporo, 1,167.7km from the Japanese capital.

Kenya won both the men and women’s Olympics marathon titles with disgraced Jemimah Sumgong going for the women’s gold medal at the 2016 Olympics.Sumgong has since been banned for a doping offence.

Mutwii disclosed that they will liaise with the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) on how best to prepare the team.

“The athletes can continue training individually before we roll out soon,” said Mutwii, adding that NOC-K had instructed them to prepare sprinters for an early camp.

(02/24/2021) Views: 107 ⚡AMP
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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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From going solo on balconies to running underwater for 42.2K, people have run the wildest and amazing ever run marathons

Running a marathon is a goal held by many people. It’s a big accomplishment that requires a lot of time and effort to complete, making it a worthwhile and rewarding pursuit. While running a marathon is impressive enough as it is, some people decide to take the classic race to the next level and add twists to it. There are many races and runs out there that fall under this category, but here are five of the best out-of-the-box marathons ever completed. 

Underwater Marathon

In 2003, a British man called Lloyd Scott navigated the depths of Loch Ness in Scotland and worked through a 42.2K underwater marathon course. Prior to this run, Scott had completed several marathons on dry land wearing a 120 lbs deep-sea diving suit, and he finally decided to head underwater in 2003. Raising money to support children with leukaemia, Scott spent 12 days in Loch Ness, and he eventually made it to the marathon finish line. 

Car marathon 

In 2016, Ross Edgley (another British athlete) completed a marathon while pulling a car. In a challenge he dubbed the “World’s Strongest Marathon,” Edgley towed the 3,000 lbs Mini Countryman behind him along a Formula One race track in the U.K. The 42.2K slog took him more than 19 hours, but he made it to the finish line in one piece. 

The Everest Marathon

While Scott´s and Edgley´s marathons are possible to recreate, they would take a lot of time and planning to get organized. One wild race that anyone can run (assuming you can get to the start line) is the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon on the world’s tallest mountain. Running a marathon is tough enough at sea level, but this race takes runners to new heights, and it starts at Mount Everest Base Camp (which has an elevation of more than 5,000m). There are also half-marathon and 60K options offered. 

Balcony marathons

Before COVID-19, running a marathon on a balcony would have sounded ridiculous, but when the pandemic hit, many runners worldwide did just that. Lockdowns and quarantines forced people to stay indoors, but runners refused to let that stop them from getting in their daily mileage. One man ran 50K around his apartment in China, another runner covered 42.2K on his balcony in France and so many other people ran marathons in their backyards.

Kipchoge´s sub-two-hour marathon

Yes, Eliud Kipchoge‘s run at the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in 2019 was a regular marathon, but it was incredible, and it deserves a spot on this list. With his run, Kipchoge became the first person to break the two-hour barrier in the marathon, and he smashed it with a 1:59:40 showing. 

 

 

(02/22/2021) Views: 84 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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The North Face Just Dropped the First Carbon-Plated Trail Running Shoe

Controversial speed is coming to a mountain near you

I’ve tested out carbon-plated shoes from a variety of running brands over the last 12 months. A movement that began with Nike’s NEXT% line — which propelled Kenyan legend Eliud Kipchoge to a mind-boggling sub-two hour marathon back in late 2019 — has now firmly taken over the sport.

For the skeptics out there, these shoes are legit. There’s a reason the success of Nike’s shoe led to allegations of “gear doping,” new rules from the World Athletics body, and a call to arms for competitors like Adidas, ASICS and Saucony. The shoes generally combine tall, lightweight foam (which running journalist Amby Burfoot once compared to having extra leg muscles), with a carbon insert, meant to facilitate maximum energy retention — to “propel you froward” as the brand copywriters like to say.

After all that initial noise, they’re not only here to stay; they’re poised to take over other sub-sections of the sport. Yesterday, The North Face dropped a first look at its VECTIV series, the world of trail running’s first official carbon-plated running shoes.

I have zero complaints about my carbon-plated shoes. (Lately, I’ve been running in the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT%s and the Saucony Endorphin Pros.) In a year without races, they’ve helped me to log some benchmark times I’m proud of. That said, those shoes are noticeably reliant on dry, clean surfaces. They like asphalt, they prefer track. Whenever either is slick from rain or snow, or — god forbid — roots or leaves get involved, they have a ton of trouble gripping the ground.

The North Face, a brand as synonymous with all-elements gear as any on the planet, has designed a carbon-plated shoe that can actually handle unforgiving trails. Most running brands have their athletes come in and test out prototypes on a treadmill; TNF trail runners logged up to 600 miles in a single pair, and much of them on punishing terrain. One runner ran 93 miles around Mt. Rainier in them this past summer.

The premier release in TNF’s line, the FLIGHT VECTIV, aims for stability and strength, like any other reliable trail running shoe. It has a high-grip outsole, while its mesh fibers are literally reinforced with Kevlar. But it’s built for speed. The shoes contain a 3D plate directly underneath the foot, alongside a rocker midsole. Ultrarunner Pau Capell described the shoes as a “downhill weapon.” Trail runners often have to slow down due to practical concerns, not for lack of spirit. These shoes are designed to let them fly.

And, crucially, to avoid injury while doing so. The maximalist foam included in carbon-plated shoes blunts the impact of runners logging so many miles. Ultrarunners are on another level entirely; they’re incessantly susceptible to stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, sprained ankles, cramps, and broken toes. But the VECTIV line — which also includes the INFINITE and the ENDURIS, two shoes less concerned with speed — promises 10% less “impact shock.” It could bring more newcomers to the sport, and keep around those who already love it.

(02/20/2021) Views: 84 ⚡AMP
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Eliud Kipchoge will make his final marathon appearance prior to his Olympic title defence at the NN Mission Marathon in Hamburg

The one-off marathon, organised jointly by his management firm Global Sports Communication, the NN Running Team and the Hamburg Marathon, carries the tagline ‘The fastest way to Tokyo’ and is an effort to provide another much-needed competitive opportunity for athletes to not only run a fast race in the lead-in to the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, but in many cases to help them achieve the qualification standard.

The race, which will take place around a looped 10.5-kilometer city center course, is expected to attract about 100 invited elite athletes.

Kipchoge, the world record-holder, will of course attract the bulk of the attention. His appearance will come after a disappointing eighth place finish at the London Marathon last October where he clocked 2:06:49.

The Kenyan kicked off his marathon career in 2013 with victory in the Hamburg Marathon, and said he's delighted to return to compete in the northern German.

"In Hamburg, I am going back to the genesis of my marathon career," he said. "I hope to inspire many people around the world by running a beautiful race in the streets of this beautiful city."

Kipchoge, 36, has gone on to win 11 of his 13 races over the classic distance and has produced two of the three fastest performances of all-time, topped by his 2:01:39 world record at the 2018 Berlin Marathon.

One year later, Kipchoge became the first athlete to break the two-hour barrier in the event, when he clocked 1:59:40 at an exhibition event in Vienna.

In Tokyo, Kipchoge will aim to become just the third man to win back-to-back Olympic marathon titles.

(02/18/2021) Views: 126 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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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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ELIUD KIPCHOGE: NEW EK CLOTHING LINE BY NIKE.

Eliud Kipchoge, the great Marathon runner, first person running a marathon below 2 hours joins Michael Jordan and Cristiano Ronaldo launching his own NIKE clothing line. Kipchoge launched the NIKE EK-line earlier this morning. The EK-line includes shoes such as the Alpha-Fly and the Pegasus as well as other running apparel. The line is inspired by Eliud’s achievements in athletics but also embodies a close connection to his Kenyan roots and mantra: ‘No Human Is Limited’.

he EK-line is available as of now in NIKE stores around the world as well as their online store. This unique collection is a NIKE initiative to honor the greatest marathon athlete in history. The campaign slogan ‘Run unlimited’ aims to spread Eliud’s legacy on a global scale. Eliud’s mission? Inspire the entire world to run!

Eliud Kipchoge: “It is a long time now since I started running, and while my runs have changed, I’ve always experienced the same joy. I’m incredibly proud to represent Kenya around the clock and with this collection from Nike Running and myself, people can now wear the flag all around the world. That’s how people can become one.”

(02/13/2021) Views: 78 ⚡AMP
by Podium Runner
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Billy Yang’s Latest Film Takes Us Through the Amazing Career of Zach Miller

We caught up with the popular trail-running filmmaker to learn all about his latest project.

Zach Miller has been a household name in trail and ultrarunning since his out-of-nowhere victory at the 2013 JFK 50 Miler. Since then, the 34-year-old has raced and won some of the biggest races on the ultra calendar.

Billy Yang: I started off a fan like everyone else. He’s an unassuming guy, as his friends from Colorado Springs, Colorado, say in the film. I was totally guilty of that. When I first met him, here’s this guy that shocked the ultrarunning community out of nowhere. There were a lot of oddballs at that point in time, but Rob Krar was crushing the competition and dominating the scene. I figured that I’d see what this guy was about.

I was doing a film at Lake Sonoma 50 miler in 2014, which ended up gaining a lot of traction. I followed four runners and this guy Zach Miller kind of spoils my film by winning the whole thing. Over that weekend, we hung out and got dinner with the Nike team. He really was this aw shucks, blue-collar guy who has this flip phone. So I wanted to know, who is this guy?

What did you discover?

Yang: Well, he’s clearly a rabbit—a pacesetter in a race. In that JFK race, everyone thought he’d go 30 or 40 miles with Rob and drop back. But Rob’s wheels came off, and he ended up winning and later signing with the Nike Trail Running team. Fast forward to 2017, here is this guy who has this Steve Prefontaine-esque mindset of racing as hard as you can and giving his best. He even has the mustache.

So, I wanted to tell a three-dimensional story around him with a focus on UTMB as his white whale.

The UTMB crown has alluded every male American that has toed the line in Chamonix, France. It seems like one of the last, to use a climbing analogy, first ascents in running. Zach has been to UTMB three times, once with you there. Were you hoping or waiting to see if Zach could get it?

Yang: I’d be wrong to say the story wasn’t centered around this big, awesome white whale that is UTMB. When I zoom out, I do think that the end we have is kind of perfect. The way the outcome is so imperfect. The finish isn’t a given. For two years, we racked this story. I don’t tell the story about the 2019 race when he dropped out. What we see is his racing style and the only thing that’s a given is how hard you decide to push. That was kind of the spirit of the film.
Miller is now the subject of filmmaker and trail runner Billy Yang’s latest film, Zach. Yang spent years following Miller and capturing every detail of his life for this project that is now available on YouTube.

We caught up with Yang to hear more about what went into the making of his latest project and what he learned from spending so much time with Miller.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

You mention the climbing analogy. My inspiration was actually a film called Free Solo. You can take as many stabs at it and the things you want to do is right in front of you. For Alex Honnold, that was El Capitan. He kept coming back. For Zach, that’s UTMB. Sometimes, it’s just challenging and that mark of a good story is learning how to pivot and complete the story without that Disney outcome.

I finally decided after years of working on this that we needed to wrap this up. We can’t keep chasing this victory that I saw in my head.

Zach is a well-known runner. What do you hope viewers see that they may not have before about him?

Yang: In a way, I’m hoping to introduce him to a new crowd. Zach is a runner, he what makes Zach who is is way more. He grew up in Kenya, and is parents were missionaries. Faith plays a big role in his life. Mentorship and giving back is so important to him. The mindset of ‘do the best you can’ shows in all aspects of his life and at the center of that, I wanted Zach to be a model for people. He’s probably not genetically built like Kilian Jornet or Jim Walmsley or Eliud Kipchoge. But what you see is all the hard work, the miles, and the little things he puts in. He’s so easy to root for.

At the end, we don’t totally see it, but you slightly detail where Zach is at after foot surgery. What’s he up to now?

Yang: He’s not running at the moment. He’s working on building out a short bus that’s turning into a home on wheels. He plans to travel the world in it. That’s the epilogue.

Do you think we see an American man winning UTMB in the coming years?

Yang: I think between Zach, Tim and Jim, and maybe some others no currently at the forefront, someone will do it. Zach said it’s a puzzle you have to put together and for whatever reason, that hasn’t been put together yet. I think it will happen in the next five years and I would bet money it will be one of those three.

(01/30/2021) Views: 109 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Kibiwott Kandie has promised fireworks at next month's Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon when he comes up against former world record holder Geoffrey Kamworor and world champion Jacob Kiplimo

Kandie, who won the event last year in 58:58, said he is unperturbed by the threat posed by the two elite rivals. 

"I am not tense because I know I have been training hard despite the minor hiccups that I have experienced. Kamworor and Kiplimo will be tough nuts to crack but I am only focused on retaining this title because it will provide the right platform for me to push on for the rest of the year," Kandie said. 

In particular, Kandie is wary of the threat posed by Ugandan Kiplimo who he trounced at the Valencia Marathon in December on his way to setting a new world record of 57:32. 

Before that, Kiplimo had beaten Kandie to the finish line at the World Half Marathon Championship in Gdynia, Poland in October to claim the crown. 

"Of course I know  the thought of revenge has crossed his mind. I know he badly wants to win against me but I will try my best to stop that from happening. Kamworor's entry has further muddied the waters but all is well; it is such competitions that build you into a strong athlete," he said. 

Before docking in the United Arab Emirates for RAK Half Marathon, however, Kandie will first have to battle with fellow military athletes for top honours in this Friday's Kenya Defence Forces Cross Country Championships at the Moi Air Base in Eastleigh, Nairobi. 

"The championships will be a test of my preparedness for the major international competitions because there is not much difference between the KDF Cross Country event and the international ones. The competition this Friday will be as tough as that of international events," he said. 

Kandie has also revealed he will resume intense training for the 10,000m race in which he plans to compete at the Tokyo Olympics. After the Olympics, he will be targeting one of the major marathons sometime in November. 

For Kamworor, the RAK Half Marathon represents a comeback opportunity having spent last year on the sidelines after a motorbike accident in June.  In 2019, he set a half marathon world record of 58:01 at the Copenhagen Half Marathon. 

The A-list for the men's race also includes Ethiopian Shura Kitata, who upstaged the odds to trounce world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge to the London Marathon title. 

It will be similarly battle royale in the women's division  as World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri faces off against world marathon record holder and compatriot Brigid Kosgei.  The RAK Half Marathon will be staged on February 19 after registration closes on January 31. 

(01/27/2021) Views: 144 ⚡AMP
by Omondi Onyatta
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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 to take at least 100 athletes to Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK) has said it is expecting to send a record 100 athletes to this year's Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The NOCK has said there are programmes in place already and enough training camps to help with preparations for the Games.

Residential training camps in Kenya are set to start in April.

Kurume on Kyushu island in Japan is due to be the base of the Kenyan team for at least 14 days before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics open on July 23.

NOCK officials are hoping the Tokyo 2020 Games - should the event take place - is free of the scandal which marred the country's team at Rio 2016.

"We expect to take at least 100 participants to the games with an expectation a higher medal haul than ever before," the NOCK said in a statement, Kenyan publication The Standard.

"We also seek to deliver the best-resourced Kenyan team in history.

"We are well set and all processes activated to ensure that we deliver an athlete-focused, well-managed, well-financed Olympic team as well as provide a memorable Olympic experience for all Kenya.

"Our resolve to deliver an exemplary Olympic experience is so strong, that our teams together with the Ministry of Sports, Art and Culture have been burning the midnight oil during the holidays to ensure that everything is set to go."

The NOCK, under the Presidency of former athlete Paul Tergat, has vowed to continue supporting qualified teams and those seeking qualification for the Games, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

"NOCK is conjunction with the International Olympic Committee and the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa is providing scholarships to at least 15 athletes to help them prepare for the Olympic Games," the statement added.

"Further, we are providing team preparation grants to the ladies' volleyball team and the ladies' rugby team.

"All the teams currently in the qualification pathways will be supported by the Government and NOCK to ensure that they qualify for the Games."

NOCK claim future programmes to help youth development are in place, looking to make use of sports science and high-performance centres for success at the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Olympics.

So far, Kenya has 56 confirmed athletes for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, including men's marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge and double world champion Hellen Obiri.

Kenya took a record 89 athletes in seven sports to the Rio 2016 Games, winning their best medal haul to date with six gold, six silver and one bronze medal.

Six Kenyan officials were implicated in a financial scandal at the event in the Brazilian city.

It is alleged the six officials had caused a loss of public funds with their mismanagement of the Kenyan team, with athletes' preparations hampered by their conduct.

Prosecutors also claim those in charge of the Kenyan team allowed unauthorised people to travel to Rio 2016, purchased air tickets which were not utilised and overpaid allowances.

A nation known for its pedigree of distance runners, Kenya has won 96 of its 103 Olympic medals in athletics.

The other seven, including one gold medal, have came in boxing.

(01/10/2021) Views: 140 ⚡AMP
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World half marathon record holder Peres Chepchirchir seeks inclusion in Kenya's Olympic marathon team

World women's half marathon record holder Peres Chepchirchir harbors an Olympic dream after her successful but COVID-19 pandemic upended year which saw her claim three successive marathon podiums.

The 27-year-old Kenyan broke her own world record in the women's half marathon by crossing the line in 1:05:16 at the 2020 World Half Marathon championships in Gdynia, Poland, before ending the year with victory at the Valencia Marathon timing 2:17:16, a time that saw her move up to positive five on the all-time world women list.

"I had a very successful year in 2020 despite all the challenges brought about by COVID-19 pandemic, I'm glad I was able to compete. My new year wish is to see if Athletics Kenya can consider my performance and make an amendment on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics marathon team by including me in the squad," Chepchirir told Xinhua on Wednesday.

"I will love to compete at the Olympics; it will really make me a complete runner," she added.

Earlier in 2020, Athletics Kenya (AK) named world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei, world marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich, Vivian Cheruiyot, a winner of the Olympic 5,000m title in 2016 to the Olympic team.

The 2019 Frankfurt Marathon champion Valary Aiyabei and 2014 world half marathon bronze medallist Sally Chepyego were named as reserves.

The 37-year-old, Cheruiyot aims to compete at her fifth Olympic Games, a record tally for a Kenyan athlete.

However, Paul Mutwii, Athletics Kenya senior vice president and director of competitions told Xinhua that the federation will make some adjustments to the marathon team in order to send a strong squad to the Games which is scheduled for July 23 to Aug. 8.

"Definitely, there will be some changes to the marathon squad depending on the athletes' current form. In fact, in the coming weeks, I will be chairing the technique committee that will determine who will be drafted into the team then make the announcement," Mutwii said on Wednesday.

The world men's marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge, Lawrence Cherono, a two-time Amsterdam Marathon champion who also won in Boston and Chicago in 2019, and world bronze medalist Amos Kipruto, who has a best of 2:05:43 were named in the men's team.

Two-time Honolulu Marathon winner Titus Ekiru and 2016 world half marathon silver medalist Bedan Karoki were drafted reserves.

(01/07/2021) Views: 152 ⚡AMP
by Xinhua News
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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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Ethiopian marathon ace Birhanu Legese sets sights on Olympic glory

While the staggering marathon feats of Eliud Kipchoge and to a lesser extent Kenenisa Bekele have quite righty earned the bulk of media attention in recent years, it would be a little churlish not to also acknowledge the feats of Ethiopian marathon ace Birhanu Legese.

Standing at 1.68m the diminutive Ethiopian, an NN Running Team team-mate of Kipchoge and Bekele, has claimed four successive marathon podiums which have included back-to-back successes in the Tokyo Marathon, a second place finish in the 2019 Berlin Marathon - to advance to third on the all-time marathon lists - and more recently a third place finish in the 2020 Valencia Marathon.

For sheer marathon consistency few can currently match the 26-year-old athlete, who according to his coach, Getaneh Tessema, has the potential to make history.

“There is no doubt Birhanu is a quality athlete,” explains Getaneh. “I see that every day in training. If everything goes perfectly, I know he can achieve the same results as Kenenisa and Kipchoge.”

Legese, the third eldest of seven siblings, enjoyed his breakthrough performance at the 2012 10km Great Ethiopian Run when placing second in 28:41 behind 2016 Olympic 5000m bronze medallist Hagos Gebrhiwet.

He continued to make steady progress for the next couple of seasons: in 2013 he clocked a slick 27:34 for 10km on the road in Taroudant and the following year posted a 5000m track PB of 13:08.88 in Shanghai.

Yet it was on the roads where Legese has most excelled and in 2015 he further hinted at his exciting potential by winning both the Berlin (59:45) and New Delhi (59:20) half marathons.

Notable marathon debut

The following couple of seasons he enjoyed intermittent success with victory in the 2016 RAK and 2017 New Delhi Half Marathons yet all too often he was hampered by ongoing shin splints issues, which prevented him from consistently producing his best.

In 2018 Legese made his eagerly awaited marathon debut in Dubai, running an outstanding time of 2:04:15 for sixth. Yet still he craved more.

“I was pleased with the time but not with the position,” he explains. 

Stomach issues hampered his efforts later that year at the Chicago Marathon when he wound up tenth in 2:08:41 – more than three-and-a-half minutes behind race winner Mo Farah.

“I was in a lot of pain but I kept on going because I thought the pain would go away,” he recalls. “I was disappointed with the performance but as soon as I returned to training my disappointment disappeared.”

Tokyo win ushers marathon breakthrough

Unlike many elite Ethiopian athletes, Legese has chosen not to live in Addis Ababa but just north of the capital city in the town of Sendafa, where he lives with his brother, Gezahegne, and training partner Tariku Kinfu.

Away from the pollution of the city and living closer to his regular training routes has cut down his commute time to and from training and aided his rest and recovery with the consequence that he enjoyed a smooth build up to the 2019 Tokyo Marathon. 

Competing in wet and windy conditions in the Japanese capital he made his winning move just before 35 kilometres, kicking clear of former world half marathon silver medallist Bedan Karoki.

Despite the inclement weather he crossed the line first in 2:04:48 to record the second fastest time in the history of the race and claim a victory, which was pivotal to his career development.

“Winning Tokyo gave me the chance to be invited to other big races and it was a big confidence boost,” he explains. “Financially, it was also a big change for me.”

Sub-2:03 in Berlin

Bolstered by his first Marathon Majors victory and enjoying a trouble-free build up for the 2019 Berlin Marathon, confidence was high he could produce a red hot performance on the course commonly regarded as the fastest in the world.

“I hoped to break the world record that day and that is why I broke clear of the field at 25-k,” explains Legese. “But a few kilometres later I had a problem with my hip, I was feeling pain and that caused me to slow.”

At 38 kilometres he was caught and passed by race winner Kenenisa Bekele, who went on to record victory in 2:01:41 – within two seconds of Eliud Kipchoge’s world record mark. Legese battled on bravely to the finish and was rewarded with a time of 2:02:48 to elevate himself to third on the all-time marathon lists.

Although, understandably, a little frustrated with the hip he was delighted with the time.

“The performance was wonderful,” said Tessema. “It was a good time and finishing position and a very good race from Birhanu. Maybe, he could have waited until 35-k to make his move. If he had then maybe the result might have been different, but that is all with the benefit of hindsight.”

Successful Tokyo defence

Further sheen was added to his growing reputation in the Covid-restricted elite-only 2020 Tokyo Marathon, where the Ethiopian became the first man in history to claim back-to-back wins in the race, recording 2:04:15 despite sustaining a hip injury after just one kilometre and being forced to manage the issue for the remaining 41. 

“Birhanu considered dropping out at 35-k but he has a strong mind and kept on running the race,” explains Tessema, his long-time coach.

Launching his winning move at 38.5km he went on to claim a memorable victory and a place in Tokyo Marathon history.

Shortly after his triumph, however, and with the world in the tightening grip of a global pandemic, restrictions in Legese’s homeland led to several weeks without training for the Ethiopian marathon star.

Optimistic of making the Ethiopian team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics he later learned of the Games’ postponement and rescheduling to 2021.

“It was hard that they had to reschedule the Olympic Games but on the other hand, there was no choice,” he explains. “Everybody’s health and safety was the most important thing.”

(01/05/2021) Views: 195 ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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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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Seb Coe relaxed over game-changing shoe technology in athletics

Seb Coe says he is not about to push for the banning of the controversial track spikes worn by Mo Farah’s biggest Olympic rival.

Joshua Cheptegei, who is due to go head-to-head with reigning champion Farah in the 10,000m in Tokyo, recently obliterated the world record both for that distance and the 5,000m.

He did so wearing the new Nike ZoomX Dragonfly shoes which contain a carbon plate and a unique foam and have been billed as the “fastest shoes ever”.

Coe, president of World Athletics, is aware that former British star Tim Hutchings believes the latest shoe technology merits a new classification of world records.

The Olympic legend insists world records “do matter”, need to be “cherished” and recognised the world over as a “benchmark of a suffusion of skill, talent, hard work and great coaching”.

But he says: “We shouldn't be in the business of trying to suffocate innovation. I don't think we've reached that point where world records are being handed out like confetti.”

Coe has seen shoe technology change the face of road running, with Eliud Kipchoge becoming the first human to clock a sub two-hour marathon, wearing Nike’s revolutionary Alphafly shoe.

But he plays down fears for the track record book being rewritten, claiming there are now more control mechanisms in place.

But Hutchings is unconvinced, telling insidethegames : "It's clear that performances in these shoes, both road and track, should be in a separate category, or at least asterisked.

"To compare performances in the shoes, with those not in the shoes, is grossly unfair to the athletes in the latter category.”

Seb Coe says he is not about to push for the banning of the controversial track spikes worn by Mo Farah’s b

(01/04/2021) Views: 104 ⚡AMP
by Alex Spink
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Think like a pro - Why all runners should practice these mind games

The pace at which the elites un is something that amazes me. The way they move effortlessly, as if they don’t fully comprehend how fast they are travelling, while the rest of us watch in awe. One of the beautiful parts of my job is interviewing some of these athletes, men and women whose abilities leave me wondering, how do you run that fast?

A few days after he ran the London Marathon, I spoke with Eliud Kipchoge, the first man to break two hours for the marathon, and the world record holder. Kipchoge’s race hadn’t gone to plan (he finished in eighth place) and I wanted to know how he dealt with that mentally, both during the race and after he had crossed the finish line.

Much of what he said was inspiring, but one thing stuck with me: he talked about the law of substitution, the idea that your mind can hold only a negative thought or a positive thought at onetime, but your mind can also choose to replace one thought with the other.

I realised it’s something I have been forced to do on several occasions. Things going wrong midrace or on training runs because of injury, poor fuelling, gastric distress, cramp, overtraining or not enough training; or just the simple fact that it wasn’t my day.

The question is, what can we do to prepare for or combat situations such as these, regardless of where we are on our running journey? Here are a few tricks that have helped me along the way. The beauty of these mental exercises is you can use them one at a time or all at once.

Visualise

Create a mood board of what your win looks like – create this in your head or make it physically. Visualise your goal completed. This method has got me over the finish line many times at the London Marathon. When the going gets tough, I think about the finish, the route, people cheering, crossing the line, holding the medal, celebrating.

Make your mantra

A mantra is a word or phrase repeated constantly to aid concentration, to help to keep you in the zone, motivated and moving. I have things that I scream at myself or whisper quietly, depending on how I feel at the time. My first has been with me since my first run; it is, ‘Get to the bottom of the road.’ My second has been with me since I hobbled over the line in tears at my first marathon and that is, ‘We’ve got this, we’ve been here before.’ Think of something meaningful to you that will help keep you going.

See your showreel

I like to have in my head a rolling showreel of beautiful memories that don’t have anything to do with running. A favourite is of me sitting on a beach with the water rolling in on my feet, the waves rippling and the sun beating down on my face. I smile and push on.

Think body and breath

Simply thinking of nothing but your body and breathing can send you into a meditative space, bringing an air of calm to your running. You might find that by listening to your heartbeat or footsteps, your body starts to relax, alleviating some tension that might be holding you back.

(12/27/2020) Views: 67 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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Fresh from winning Valencia Marathon with a course record, Evans Chebet is looking towards the Olympic Games

Chebet, who edged out experience marathoners like Boston and Chicago Marathon champion Lawrence Cherono for the title, said his focus has now shifted to the Olympic Games.

“Running at the Olympic Games will be good achievement for me. It has been a long journey and making the marathon team will be a dream come true for me,” he added.

The Elgeyo Marakwet-based runner returned home after winning Valencia 42km race in a personal best time of of 2:03:00 ahead of compatriot Cherono (2:03:04) and Ethiopian Birhanu Legese (2:04:53), who completed the podium. 

“It will be good if the team is named early to ensure we start our preparations on time. If I can make the team, I assure Kenyans that I will  return with a medal,” added Chebet, who competed alongside world marathon bronze medalist Amos Kipruto.

“I look forward to competing for my country at the Olympics Games after a good break and my prayer is that Athletics Kenya names the team early," said a jubilant Chebet. He said his biggest worry in Valencia was Legese but he is happy he shook him off.

Amos Kipruto, who has dominated in many marathons across the world, was named alongside Eliud Kipchoge and Lawrence Cherono in the Olympic Games marathon team.

“I managed to run my personal best because that was my target and I still believe I will be joining Team Kenya to the Tokyo show. The team that ran in Valencia was the best and we hope the federation will take note,” said Kipruto.

In 2019, Kandie 42:39 edged Kiplimo (43:00) in the San Silvestre Road Race in Brazil. Other entrants in men's category include Alexander Mutiso Munyao, Ethiopian Mosinet Geremew, Japan-based Bedan Karoki and Stephen Kiprop, winner of the 2019 edition. 

Geremew won the Dubai Marathon in 2018 and came second in the London Marathon in 2019 with a time of 2.02.55, clocking the 4th fastest time ever in that distance.

Meanwhile, Mutiso recently placed 4th in Valencia in 57.59 and was runner-up in the men’s 2020 Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in 59:16.

In the women's category, World Half Marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir will battle against World marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei and 2019 World marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich.

Jepchirchir has fond memories of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon, where she set her personal best time of 1:05.06 in 2017 on her way to victory.  Chepngetich recently clocked a remarkable time of 1.05.06 at the New Delhi Half Marathon.

At the 20th Dubai Marathon in 2019, she won in a course record breaking time of 2.17.08, securing the world’s 4th best marathon time ever. Ethiopia's Ababel Yeshaneh will also be in contention.

(12/18/2020) Views: 165 ⚡AMP
by Emmanuel Sabuni
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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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World Athletics will allow development shoe, if they meet technical specifications

Athletes will be allowed to wear shoes still under development in international competitions and events where World Athletics rules apply, upon approval of the shoes' specifications, after a rule change by the sport's governing body.

The shoes will have to meet the same technical specifications as other approved shoes, World Athletics said.

The amendment - rubber-stamped by the World Athletics Council on Friday - applies to competitions sanctioned by World Athletics, area associations or member federations at which its rules apply.

But such "development shoes" will not be permitted in the World Athletics Series or at the Olympics.

A debate over runners' shoes has been raging since high-tech footwear developed by Nike played a starring role in two of the biggest distance-running achievements of 2019.

Eliud Kipchoge's sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna and Brigid Kosgei's record-breaking run at the Chicago Marathon brought Nike's Vaporfly shoes into the spotlight, sparking debate over whether the advanced footwear gave runners an unfair advantage.

World Athletics banned the shoes from professional sport earlier this year, following which Nike launched a new version of its Alphafly shoe that complies with new rules introduced by the governing body.

Manufacturers use development shoes to conduct tests with sponsored athletes before making them available in the market.

World Athletics CEO Jon Ridgeon welcomed the amendment, insisting it would not affect the competition's integrity.

"The use of competition to complete the final testing of development shoes by manufacturers has always been an important part of the shoe development process," Ridgeon said.

"With shoe manufacturers agreeing to our new process of submitting specifications and shoes, if required, for approval ahead of being worn in competition, we are confident that this amendment will not impact the integrity of competition."

Prototypes can be worn for a period of 12 months, after which they no longer qualify as development shoes and can no longer be used in competitions.

(12/07/2020) Views: 133 ⚡AMP
by Hugh Lawson
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Kibiwott Kandie smashes half marathon world record, a Kenyan double in Valencia marathon

All top four finishers in the half marathon managed to beat the previous mark of 58:01 set by Geoffrey Kamworor last year. Evans Chebet and Peres Jepchirchir win the men and women's marathon in course records.

Kibiwott Kandie led Jacob Kiplimo home in world record time to win the Valencia Half Marathon on Sunday in a reverse of the World Championship resultfrom October.

Kandie, Kiplimo, Rhonex Kipruto, and Alexander Mutiso all finished the race in under 58 minutes, bettering the existing record of 58:01 set by Geoffrey Kamworor in Copenhagen in September 2019.

Kenya's Kandie finished in 57:32, taking more than a minute off his previous personal record of 58:37. Ugandan Kiplimo and Kandie's compatriot Mutiso also lowered their own personal bests by similar margins, while it was Kipruto's debut over the distance.

The new record is subject to World Athletics' usual ratification processes.

It is the fourth time Kandie has run sub-59 minutes this year, having also done so at the Ras Al Khaimah, Prague, and Gdynia half marathons.

Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia won the women's race in a course record one hour, five minutes 18 seconds, missing the women's world record in a mixed race (1:04.31) currently held by Ababel Yeshaneh who set it in RAK earlier this year.

It was Dibaba's first race in 16 months, since last August, and her debut over the half marathon distance.

Kenyan double in the marathon

Kenya’s Evans Chebet sprinted past compatriot Lawrence Cherono in the home stretch to win the Valencia marathon in a course record of 2:03:00.

The men’s race was a close one with Chebet and Cherono going head to head in the final kilometre after dropping Ethiopia’s Birhanu Legese, the 2019 Tokyo marathon champion.

This was the first big marathon win for the 32-year-old Chebet that moves him to sixth in the men’s marathon all-time list.

Chebet’s victory also ensured that a Kenyan topped the podium again for the 18th time in the last 40 editions of the Valencia Marathon.

“I am happy because I have run my personal best here," said Chebet after the race.

"I know this course very well. I am happy because it’s my first major win and in a course record,” said the Kenyan who finished 28th at the Rio 2016 marathon, delighted and hopeful that his top finish could impress Athletics Kenya selectors for the Tokyo Olympics.

Evans Chebet of Kenya won the Men’s Marathon in Valencia with a course Record.

The reigning Boston and Chicago Marathon champion Cherono who had a slight stumble in the last bend clocked 2:03:04 for second, in his third big marathon in the last 18 months.

Legese finished third in 2:03:16, in the race that saw eight of the top 10 finishers record personal bests.

Cherono, 32, was named by Athletics Kenya in Kenya’s provisional Tokyo Olympics marathon team alongside the Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge and World Championships marathon bronze medalist Amos Kipruto.

Double Olympian Ayad Lamdassem set a Spanish men's marathon record of 2:06:35 that qualifies him for the Games in Tokyo.

Just seven weeks after winning the World Half Marathon title in a world record, Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya won the women’s race in 2:17:16, also a course record.

“It’s unbelievable,“ said Jepchirchir, a double world half marathon gold medallist.

It was the perfect ending of the season for Jepchirchir who holds the world record for the women-only of 1:05:16 from her winning run in Poland on 17 October.

In Gdynia she improved her own 21km world mark from the previous month set in Prague, and is now the fifth fastest women marathoner.

Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya wins the Women’s Marathon in Valencia with a Course Record.

It was another 1-2 finish for Kenya as Joyciline Jepkosgei clocked 2:18:40 for second ahead of third placed Namibian record holder Helalia Johannes, the 2019 World Championships bronze medallist. Johannes crossed the line in 2:19:52.  

(12/06/2020) Views: 325 ⚡AMP
by SK Goh and Evelyn Watta
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Valencia Half Marathon

Valencia Half Marathon

The Trinidad Alfonso Valencia Half Marathon has become one of the top running events in the world in its 26thyear. For the third year running, Valencia is the fastest half marathon in the world. The race, organized by SD Correcaminos Athletics Club, celebrated its silver anniversary in style with record participation, record crowd numbers, Silver label IAAF accreditation and an...

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We Now Have the Lab Data on Nike's Breaking2 Runners

To pick their two-hour marathon team, researchers tested some of the greatest runners on the planet. Now they're revealing what they found.

Here’s a quick and convenient way of finding out whether you’re ready to run a two-hour marathon. Head to the track and run six laps (roughly 1.5 miles) at two-hour pace (4:34.6 per mile), then run one more lap as fast as you can. Have a nearby exercise physiologist fit you with a portable oxygen-measuring mask, to measure your energy consumption at that pace. Then crunch the data to see whether your metabolism is settling into a sustainable pattern, or whether it’s spiraling out of control toward a fiery explosion.

That’s one of several tests that at least 16 elite runners underwent during the selection process for Nike’s 2017 Breaking2 race, which Eliud Kipchoge ended up winning in 2:00:25. Now the scientists responsible, including teams from Andrew Jones’s group at the University of Exeter in Britain and the Nike Sport Research Lab in Beaverton, have published some of the data in the Journal of Applied Physiology. It’s grouped and anonymized, so we don’t get to obsess about the individual details of Eliud Kipchoge’s physiology, but it’s a pretty rare window into the characteristics of best-of-the-best runners. Here are some of the highlights.

The runners were “predominantly of East African ethnicity,” with average bests of 1:00:04 for the half marathon and 2:08:40 for the marathon at the time of testing (they’ve since run, on average, 59:53 and 2:06:53). All were drawn from the global pool of Nike-sponsored runners, with a particular focus on those with half marathon times that suggested the ability to handle two-hour pace. The only runners we know for sure were among the subjects are Kipchoge and his fellow Breaking2 finalists, Zersenay Tadese and Lelisa Desisa. The inclusion of runners like Tadese, who at the time held the half marathon world record of 58:23 but had only run 2:10:41 for the marathon, helps explain the relatively modest average marathon time.

The testing, which was completed at either the Nike campus or the University of Exeter, included a bunch of body measurements like height, weight, body fat, lung function, and the length and girth of various parts of the leg and foot. This stuff is interesting, since some researchers believe that factors like the length of the Achilles tendon can influence running economy, but there were no unusual results. Biomechanical testing of ten of the runners who were examined in Exeter found that six were forefoot strikers and four were heel strikers, and the most efficient runners had the shortest ground contact time with each step. Again, this is more or less what you’d expect based on previous studies of elite runners.

They also did a VO2 max test on the treadmill, with the speed increased in stages until the runners gave up. Between each treadmill stage, the runners hopped off the treadmill briefly to have their fingers pricked for a lactate measurement to determine their lactate threshold. Here there were some more surprising results. The average VO2 max was just 71.0 ml/kg/min, which is unexpectedly low given that the range expected for elite endurance athletes is typically about 70 to 85. The lowest value among the Nike runners was 62, which is astonishingly low, and the highest was 84, which is high but far from unprecedented. You can think of VO2 max as the size of the aerobic engine; whatever gifts made these runners special, it apparently wasn’t having a huge engine.

You’d expect, then, that they must be extraordinarily efficient. Their running economy, which is a measure of how much energy you burn at a given pace, was indeed pretty good, averaging 189 ml/kg/km on the treadmill. That’s consistent with previous studies that found typical values of around 190 ml/kg/km in elite runners (and substantially better than the values of 210 or higher seen in recreational runners at slower paces), although there was a lot of individual variation between the most and least economical. As in previous studies, there was an inverse relationship between VO2 max and running economy: those with the highest VO2 max tended to have the worst economy, and vice versa. Whether that’s inevitable for some physiological reason, or simply a reflection of the fact that even elite runners are unlikely to hit the genetic lottery twice, remains a topic of spirited debate.

To measure running economy, you have to be running aerobically, since oxygen consumption is used as a proxy for energy consumption. If you’re having to burn a lot of anaerobic energy to maintain the pace, the energy estimate will be inaccurate. Interestingly, only seven of the 16 runners were able to fulfill this requirement while running at 2:00 marathon pace. The other nine were above their “critical speed” at that pace, which tells you pretty much right away that they had no hope whatsoever of running a two-hour marathon. (To be fair, the testing had to be slotted in between seasons for some of the runners, so they may not have been in peak condition.)

In the classic mathematical model of marathon performance, there are three variables: VO2 max, running economy, and a third variable that represents what fraction of VO2 max you’re able to sustain over the course of a marathon. That third variable is often approximated by the lactate threshold, which is the speed at which your lactate levels begin to gradually creep up as you start relying more on anaerobic energy.

But well-trained marathon runners are actually able to run the distance at a slightly higher speed than their lactate threshold. In this study, the runners hit their lactate threshold at 83 percent of VO2 max on average. Their critical speed, which is roughly when lactate levels start shooting up more steeply instead of just creeping up, occurred at 92 percent of VO2 max. Marathon pace tends to be somewhere between those two markers. In fact, a previous study by Jones and Anni Vanhatalo found that elite marathoners tend to run their marathons at 96 percent of critical speed, which in this case works out to 88 percent of VO2 max.

If you run the numbers, using lactate threshold as marathon pace predicts that the runners in the study should average 2:15:24 for the marathon. Using critical speed predicts 2:02:55. Using the Goldilocks value of 88 percent of VO2 max, in contrast, gives a prediction of 2:08:31—almost exactly corresponding to their average best time at the time of testing, which was 2:08:40. The takeaway: your critical speed (which you can calculate as described here) offers a pretty good estimate of marathon pace, assuming your training is adequately geared for the distance.

After all this testing, the team selected Kipchoge, Desisa, and Tadese. Kipchoge turned out to be a great choice. Desisa is a mixed bag: he was injured before Breaking2, and hasn’t run particularly fast since, but he did win last year’s World Championships and also won New York in 2018 and was second in Boston in 2019. You could do worse. Tadese, on the other hand, has never really managed to put it together in the marathon, despite stellar lab values (in earlier testing, he had the best running economy ever measured).

What was missing for Tadese? Jones and his colleagues suggest that the mathematical model needs a fourth variable, which they call “fatigue resistance,” representing “the extent of the deterioration of the three [other variables] over time.” A previous study from the Breaking2 researchers explored how critical speed changes over two hours of exercise. The gist: it gets worse, and some people have a greater decline than others. Maybe Kipchoge is unusually gifted in this regard; maybe Tadese got dealt a weak hand. It seems clear that fatigue resistance is an important ingredient for marathon success, but the problem for running scientists is that there’s no convenient way of measuring it—other than, well, running a marathon.

For more Sweat Science, join me on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for the email newsletter, and check out my book Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance.

(11/29/2020) Views: 173 ⚡AMP
by Outside
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Boston champ Lawrence Cherono can't wait for December 6 when he lines up against 16 other marathoners at the Valencia Marathon

Reigning Chicago and Boston marathon champion Lawrence Cherono can't wait for December 6 when he lines up against 16 other marathoners at the Valencia Marathon. 

Cherono says he has missed road races after this year's Boston and Chicago marathons were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Waiting for a whole year to compete is torture but we can’t blame anyone because this was due to the virus. I consider myself lucky because I will be able to compete in this marathon after a long time out of action. Many athletes could have wished to compete but that never came,” Cherono said. 

Despite inactivity, Cherono has been working hard in training to keep in shape despite the challenges experienced by the sports sector — athletics included. 

“I shifted to Iten from Kaptagat after the government closed all training camps and I have been training in anticipation for a chance to compete before the year ends,” the two-time Amsterdam Marathon winner said. 

He has been running a distance of 30-35km a day to ready himself for a podium push in Valencia. 

Cherono will also be part of the Olympics marathon team that includes Olympic marathon winner Eliud Kipchoge and Kipruto. 

Other Kenyans that will be battling for the marathon title in Valencia include world marathon bronze medallist Amos Kipruto (2:05:43), Abel Kirui (2:05:04), Reuben Kiprop (2:04:40) and Philemon Rono (2:05:00). 

(11/19/2020) Views: 160 ⚡AMP
by Emmanuel Sabuni
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VALENCIA TRINIDAD ALFONSO MARATHON

VALENCIA TRINIDAD ALFONSO MARATHON

Sammy Kiprop Kitwara set a Spanish all-comers’ record at the 2017 Maraton Valencia Trinidad Alfonso, the 31-year-old Kenyan produced a 2:05:15 effort to finish almost a full minute inside the previous record, moving to seventh on this year’s world list in the process. Ethiopia’s Aberu Mekuria Zennebe won the women’s race in 2:26:17 to improve on her fourth-place finish from...

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Elite runners need a specific combination of physiological abilities to have any chance of running a sub-two-hour marathon, new research shows

The study is based on detailed testing of athletes who took part in Nike's Breaking2 project -- an ambitious bid to break the two-hour barrier.

Professor Andrew Jones, of the University of Exeter, said the findings reveal that elite marathon runners must have a "perfect balance" of VO2 max (rate of oxygen uptake), efficiency of movement and a high "lactate turn point" (above which the body experiences more fatigue).

The VO2 measured among elite runners shows they can take in oxygen twice as fast at marathon pace as a "normal" person of the same age could while sprinting flat-out.

"Some of the results -- particularly the VO2 max -- were not actually as high as we expected," Professor Jones said.

"Instead, what we see in the physiology of these runners is a perfect balance of characteristics for marathon performance.

"The requirements of a two-hour marathon have been extensively debated, but the actual physiological demands have never been reported before."

The runners in the study included Eliud Kipchoge, who took part in Breaking2 -- falling just short of the two-hour target -- but later achieving the goal in 1:59:40.2 in the Ineos 1:59 challenge.

Based on outdoor running tests on 16 athletes in the selection stage of Breaking2, the study found that a 59kg runner would need to take in about four litres of oxygen per minute (or 67ml per kg of weight per minute) to maintain two-hour marathon pace (21.1 km/h).

"To run for two hours at this speed, athletes must maintain what we call 'steady-state' VO2," Professor Jones said.

"This means they meet their entire energy needs aerobically (from oxygen) -- rather than relying on anaerobic respiration, which depletes carbohydrate stores in the muscles and leads to more rapid fatigue."

In addition to VO2 max, the second key characteristic is running "economy," meaning the body must use oxygen efficiently -- both internally and through an effective running action.

The third trait, lactate turn point, is the percentage of VO2 max a runner can sustain before anaerobic respiration begins.

"If and when this happens, carbohydrates in the muscles are used at a high rate, depleting glycogen stores," Professor Jones explained.

"At this point -- which many marathon runners may know as 'the wall' -- the body has to switch to burning fat, which is less efficient and ultimately means the runner slows down.

"The runners we studied -- 15 of the 16 from East Africa -- seem to know intuitively how to run just below their 'critical speed', close to the 'lactate turn point' but never exceeding it.

"This is especially challenging because -- even for elite runners -- the turn point drops slightly over the course of a marathon.

"Having said that, we suspect that the very best runners in this group, especially Eliud Kipchoge, show remarkable fatigue resistance."

The testing, conducted in Exeter and at Nike's performance centre in Oregon, USA, provided a surprising experience for a group of amateur runners in the UK.

"We tested 11 of the 16 runners at Exeter Arena a few years ago," Professor Jones said.

"Some local runners were there at the time, and it was a real eye-opener for them when a group of the world's best athletes turned up.

"The elite runners were great -- they even joined in with the local runners and helped to pace their training."

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Exeter. 

(11/13/2020) Views: 235 ⚡AMP
by University of Exeter
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Eliud Kipchoge's 2021 Ambitions, Undecided About London Return

Olympic champion and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge says his main focus for 2021 will be defending his Tokyo Olympic title, but is uncertain whether he will try and reclaim his London Marathon title.

If all goes well, Kipchoge will look to retain his Olympic title in Tokyo in August while the London Marathon is scheduled for just over two months later, on October 3.

With the short turnaround between the two events, Kipchoge is uncertain whether he will go for the two, but is already assured that he will be at the start in Tokyo.

"I will be chasing the Olympic gold in 2021. I am praying that this pandemic will go away and we resume life as normal. I want to try and grab a marathon to test myself before then and see where my body is. As for London, I don't know yet but time will tell," Kipchoge told Capital Sport.

The world record holder suffered rare defeat at this year's London Marathon, finishing sixth for only his second loss over the distance in 14 races.

The cold weather coupled with a problem on one of his ears that troubled his equilibrium saw him suffer the shock loss that left everyone dumbfounded.

People should know that I am a human being just like them and anything can happen in a marathon. I don't want them to be disappointed but rather take positives and get inspired. They should take positive vibes of all the beautiful victories over the last seven years and not complain," Kipchoge noted.

The Marathon king says he has already moved on from the London loss and is plotting on his next assault; the Olympic crown.

"The words injury you can get is an injury to your mind. If the mind gets a puncture, you are done. The mind plays a big role in understanding what sport is. The defeat is now behind my back and I have learned lessons from it. Now the only thing is to look ahead," stated Kipchoge.

While he continues to focus on his next stream of athletics success, Kipchoge is busy rolling the wheels of his foundation as he looks to not only inspire the world with marathon running, but charitable works as well.

My heart felt gratitude and appreciation to those who have given my foundation a helping hand. Together we were able to feed vulnerable athletes and the wider community during these difficult times.

(11/05/2020) Views: 145 ⚡AMP
by Timothy Olobulu
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Britain’s Laura Muir and Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei among World Athletics awards nominees

Britain’s Laura Muir is among the nominees for the female world athlete of the year honor, while Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei is on a shortlist for the male prize at the World Athletics Awards.

This year the global governing body’s awards event will be held virtually on Saturday December 5.

Muir clocked 1500m times of 3:57.40, 3:57.86 and 3:58.24 to lead the world rankings and set a British 1000m record of 2:30.82 in 2020, while Cheptegei broke three world records throughout the year – running 12:51 for a road 5km, 12:35.36 for 5000m on the track and 26:11.00 for 10,000m on the track.

Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey, who set a world record of 14:06.62 over 5000m, and Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan, who recorded a world record distance of 18,930m in the one-hour run and broke the European 10,000m record with 29:36.67, are also among the female nominees.

The men’s shortlist also features Sweden’s world pole vault record-breaker Mondo Duplantis and Norway’s Karsten Warholm, who ran a world-leading 46.87 in the 400m hurdles and was unbeaten in that event.

Female world athlete of the year nominees: Femke Bol, Netherlands; Letesenbet Gidey, Ethiopia; Sifan Hassan, Netherlands; Peres Jepchirchir, Kenya; Faith Kipyegon, Kenya; Laura Muir, Great Britain and Northern Ireland; Hellen Obiri, Kenya; Yulimar Rojas, Venezuela; Elaine Thompson-Herah, Jamaica; Ababel Yeshaneh, Ethiopia

Male world athlete of the year nominees: Donavan Brazier, USA; Joshua Cheptegei, Uganda; Timothy Cheruiyot, Kenya; Ryan Crouser, USA; Mondo Duplantis, Sweden; Jacob Kiplimo, Uganda; Noah Lyles, USA; Daniel Stahl, Sweden; Johannes Vetter, Germany; Karsten Warholm, Norway

A three-way voting process will determine the finalists. The World Athletics Council and the World Athletics Family will cast their votes by email, while fans can vote online via the World Athletics’ social media platforms.

As well as male and female athlete of the year honors, the World Athletics Awards will include the president’s award, coaching achievement award and athletics photograph of the year, as well as a Covid inspiration award, athletes community award and member federations award.

Last year Eliud Kipchoge and Dalilah Muhammad were named world athletes of the year, while the 2018 winners were Kipchoge and Caterine Ibarguen.

(11/03/2020) Views: 126 ⚡AMP
by Athletics Weekly
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World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge says that he will be back in big way

Olympics marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge is still recovering from the London Marathon setback in which he finished eighth on October 4.

“I will take time to recover from the London Marathon loss. I’m healing, I want to move on and focus on the future,” he said on Thursday after touring the Isuzu D-Max Pick-up assembly line in Nairobi.

The world marathon record holder, who had won 10 consecutive marathons since 2014 before this year's London debacle on October 4 in which a blocked ear thwarted his bid for a fifth title, signed a new partnership agreement with Isuzu East Africa that will run until after 2020 Tokyo Olympics that were postponed to next year. 

Kipchoge has been the Isuzu D-Max Pick-up ambassador for the last three years.

On Thursday, Isuzu East Africa hosted the legendary athlete who affirmed his commitment to making a comeback in the races ahead.

“If you despair, you lose what you have built over many years and miss future opportunities to come back stronger and better. If you train harder and build strength, you go to the track and run another race and rely on the strength you have built to propel you to another victory,” Kipchoge, who turns 36 on November 5, said.

He enjoys the use of a fully serviced luxury automatic Isuzu D-Max Pick-up in addition to two other vehicles that he was awarded for winning the 2018 Berlin Marathon in a world record time of two hours, one minute and 39 seconds, and for running under two-hours at the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in Vienna, Austria last year.

Isuzu East Africa Managing Director Rita Kavashe said that Kipchoge has been a reliable and dependable Isuzu D-Max brand ambassador. 

“Through his record setting exploits, he has inspired a lot of people to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams,” she said.

Kipchoge thanked Isuzu for its demonstration of confidence in his capabilities and for supporting his dream.

Under the new deal, Isuzu East Africa will work with the Eliud Kipchoge Foundation to uplift the well-being of community through access to education, sports talent development and environmental conservation.

(10/27/2020) Views: 223 ⚡AMP
by Geoffrey Anene
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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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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: 193 ⚡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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Kenyan Benson Kipruto will take time out after he picked up a hamstring injury during the London Marathon

Former Toronto Marathon champion Bernard Kipruto will not participate in any races this year after he picked a hamstring injury during the London Marathon.

Kipruto was disappointed with his seventh place finish at the race despite finishing one place better than top favourite Eliud Kipchoge, who placed eighth.

“I had prepared well for the race to win but I had challenges. I was one of the best competitors but the injury slowed me down hence I got this result that I did not plan for,” Kipruto said.

Apart from the injury, Kipruto also blamed the blistery weather conditions in London for his under-whelming performance.

“I don’t know how Ethiopians train in such wet and windy conditions but when it is sunny, we always beat them hands down,” he said.

Nonetheless, his performance at London Marathon was much improved from the Boston Marathon in September 2020, where he finished 10th.

Kipruto said he has taken vital lessons from this year that will be useful as he trails his focus on next year.

“After the race, I took time to review my performance. It was tough. This time, I want to get a good rest before deciding with my coaches on the plan for next year. I will be looking to participate in most of the major races next year, especially marathon races,” he said.

(10/14/2020) Views: 222 ⚡AMP
by Emmanuel Sabuni
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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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2020 Vienna City Marathon will celebrate the anniversary of the INEOS 1:59 Challenge and Eliud Kipchoge’s historic marathon in Vienna on Monday

The Vienna City Marathon will celebrate the first anniversary of the INEOS 1:59 Challenge and Eliud Kipchoge's historic marathon in Vienna during this weekend and on Monday. The Kenyan became the first athlete to break the two hour marathon barrier a year ago in Vienna. He clocked 1:59:40.2 on the Prater Hauptallee on 12th October 2019. His race still inspires and excites people throughout the world today.

The Vienna City Marathon (VCM) will organize the "VCM Tribute to Eliud Race" on Monday, 12 October. The challenge is to cover as much distance as possible during a set time of 1:59:40.2. There will be two separate races during the afternoon and in early evening in the Prater Park, the venue of Kipchoge’s unique race. While these races are almost sold out runners all over the world have the opportunity to participate in a virtual event which runs from Saturday until Monday.

You can run or walk for 1:59:40.2 with family, friends or alone wherever you are. Whether it is a half marathon or an even longer distance, you can track your activity and upload your distance with a GPS sports watch or a running app. The challenge ends on Monday at 8.30 pm (Central European Time). At this time you will need to have entered the distance you have covered. Please follow your local Covid-19 rules when you choose the location of your race.

By taking part in the "VCM Tribute to Eliud Race" runners will support a VCM charity project. The organizers support the running and health initiative "The Daily Mile Austria", which is active in primary schools and kindergardens. Runners who enter the virtual race will receive an individual start number with their name and the signature of Eliud Kipchoge to download and print. They will also receive a certificate with a signature of Eliud Kipchoge to download and print. While they will be included in the results list of the "Tribute to Eliud - Global Race" they also become part of the "Tribute to Eliud" community.

Next year’s Vienna City Marathon, a World Athletics Gold Label Road Race, will take place on 12 September.

(10/09/2020) Views: 244 ⚡AMP
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Vienna City Marathon

Vienna City Marathon

More than 41,000 runners from over 110 nations take part in the Vienna City Marathon, cheered on by hundreds of thousands of spectators. From the start at UN City to the magnificent finish on the Heldenplatz, the excitement will never miss a beat. In recent years the Vienna City Marathon has succeeded in creating a unique position as a marathon...

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London Marathon Silver medalist Vincent Kipchumba could be the next road king?

Vincent Kipchumba, who finished second at the 40th London Marathon, on Sunday has come a long way.

While a young boy at Chepkatet village, near Eldoret International Airport, Kipchumba could see aircraft take off and land at the airport. He harboured a lofty dream: that one day he would board a plane and enjoy the feel of air travel. It came to pass.

On Sunday, the athletics world had placed their bets on world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge but Kipchumba surprised everyone as he settled for second spot at the London Marathon behind Ethiopia’s Chura Kitata.

Everyone was expecting Kipchoge to easily win the race, but after his loss, many Kenyans are of the idea that Kipchumba could be the next big thing.

Yesterday at Chepkatet village, Kipchumba was still revelling on his achievement.

At his home which is located about 700m off the Eldoret-Kapsabet road, his relatives and neighbours gathered to welcome him back and wish him well in future races in the hope that he can be the next Kipchoge.

Kipchumba revealed an arduous athletics journey that almost propelled him to a win in his debut at the World Marathon Majors. What he did in London was not shocking to those who know him well.

It is a journey that started in 2011, when he was 21.

“After several years of yearning to run a marathon, I decided to bite the bullet. It has never been easy. I ran my debut at the Family Bank Half Marathon in Eldoret in 2013 and finished 12th. I continued with my training despite the poor performance,” said Kipchumba.

Kipchumba, a father of two – a daughter and a son – ran his first international in Dresden (Germany) in 2015 where he was second in 2:15:22.

He later returned to the German town in 2016 and improved his time by four minutes, from 2:15:22 to 02:10:32.

As he started off his career, Kipchumba trained in Kaptagat where his mentor 2010 world half marathon champion Wilson Kiprop also trained.

He currently trains in Kapsabet under coach Claudio Berardelli.

(10/08/2020) Views: 260 ⚡AMP
by Stephen Rutto and Jonathan Komen
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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: 223 ⚡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: 264 ⚡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: 254 ⚡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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Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele out of London Marathon due to a calf injury

Kenenisa Bekele withdrew from Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a calf injury two days before he was to duel world-record holder Eliud Kipchoge.

“I was in good shape but then I picked up a niggle in my left calf after two fast training sessions close together in the last weeks of preparation,” was posted on Bekele’s social media. “I have been having treatment every day since then and I truly believed I would be ready, but today it is worse and I now know I cannot race on it.”

Bekele did not mention the injury in a Wednesday press conference, sitting socially distanced from Kipchoge at a table.

The marathon, with more than 40 elite men entered, was headlined as a duel between the two fastest marathoners in history. It was postponed from its traditional April date and moved to a looped course in St. James’s Park due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Kenyan Kipchoge lowered the world record to 2:01:39 at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. Last year in Berlin, the Ethiopian Bekele won in 2:01:41 without Kipchoge in the field.

Kipchoge has won 11 of his 12 career marathons. Bekele, a more accomplished track runner who won Olympic gold medals and lowered world records at 5000m and 10,000m, has never beaten Kipchoge in a marathon.

“This race was so important to me,” Bekele posted. “My time in Berlin last year gave me great confidence and motivation and I was looking forward to show that again, I have worked so hard for it. I realise many people around the world have been looking forward to this race and I am sorry to disappoint my fans, the organisers and my fellow competitors. I will take time to recover and become fit again and I hope to be back in London next year.”

(10/02/2020) Views: 283 ⚡AMP
by OlympicTalk
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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 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: 245 ⚡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: 233 ⚡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: 302 ⚡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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Kenya's Lawrence Cherono will headline the 2020 Valencia Marathon assault

Kenya's Boston and Chicago marathon champion Lawrence Cherono will lead the 2020 Valencia Marathon assault, organizers confirmed on Wednesday.

Cherono will take on Ethiopians Birhanu Legese, holder of the third-fastest time of 2:02:48 in marathon history and Kinde Atanaw, the race defending champion and current record holder for the Valencian course in a race slated for December 6.

"I feel great that I will finally compete this year after the coronavirus shattered by season, including my Olympic debut. Now I have a chance to race before starting again on my Olympic preparations," Cherono, who was named by Athletics Kenya in their Olympic men team alongside world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge and world marathon bronze medalist Amos Kipruto, told Xinhua.

In the women's elite race, former world half-marathon record holder and winner of the 2019 New York Marathon winner Joyciline Jepkosgei will spearhead the event.

Jepkosgei will return to the same course she shattered the world record in 2017 in half marathon and will face up against fellow countrywoman Joan Chelimo.

Kenyan Peres Chepchirchir, the current half marathon record holder and Fancy Chemutai will also be in the frontline.

"Elite edition of the Valencia marathon and half marathon will be held on Dec. 6, we can now confirm the names of the first male and female athletes who will seek to achieve the most ambitious sporting goal possible by trying to set new race records," the organizers said in a statement.

The women will also have a strong Ethiopian presentation including Azmera Abreha, Ruti Aga, Birhane Dibaba, Mare Dibaba, Tigist Girma and Zeinaba Yimer, all the women have run the 42km race under 2:20.

(09/30/2020) Views: 227 ⚡AMP
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VALENCIA TRINIDAD ALFONSO MARATHON

VALENCIA TRINIDAD ALFONSO MARATHON

Sammy Kiprop Kitwara set a Spanish all-comers’ record at the 2017 Maraton Valencia Trinidad Alfonso, the 31-year-old Kenyan produced a 2:05:15 effort to finish almost a full minute inside the previous record, moving to seventh on this year’s world list in the process. Ethiopia’s Aberu Mekuria Zennebe won the women’s race in 2:26:17 to improve on her fourth-place finish from...

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2020 London Marathon is set to be the race of the year

Top two long distance runners Kipchoge and Kenenisa come face to face on October 4

Bekele is the second fastest man in the 42.2 km race London Marathon is set to be the race of the year

Almost a year to the first anniversary of Eliud Kipchoge making history by being the first human to run the marathon below 2 hours in Vienna, he is set to run his first marathon after that triumphant race.

Come next Sunday morning, on the start line will be these two men among other elite runners, as they put their enviable times on the line.  

Eliud Kipchoge holds both the world record (2.01.39) set in 2018 and a sub-2-hour personal best marathon time of 1:59.40, while Kenenisa Bekele is the second fastest man in the 42.2 km race having come two seconds shy of beating the world record in 2019.

A sub-2 hour in this race is out of question, but could we have a world record?

Considering the very elite field that will be running and the expected fast pace due to a modified course, many pundits are rooting for a world record.

Why should we fancy a world record? One just needs to look at the assembled elite field and an equally elite squad of pacemakers and will see why a record could be a possibility.

Of the 45 elite men chosen to run this race; five have a personal best time of below two hours and four minutes (2:04), eight are sub-2:05 and 11 sub-2:06.  

Without considering the times of the remaining runners, this already promises to be a very fast race.

The frosting on the cake are the eight elite pacemakers led by Sir Mo Farah and Kenya’s Victor Chumo and you have an atmosphere close to that of INEOS 1:59 Challenge; where the 41 elite pacers kept Kipchoge’s pace at a high tempo throughout.

Unlike in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge though, should the world record be broken in the London marathon, it will stand.

This is because the pacemakers will not be rotated throughout the race as they did in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge - but will be the same through the first 30 kilometers after which, they will drop out.  

Secondly, the pacers will not form a deliberate human shield around the athletes to protect them from head winds.

Lastly, the corners of the course have not been specially modified to aid the athletes as they go round them.

There is a counter argument that a world record is not a possibility. The main thrust of this argument is that the race will have very many twists and turns during the 19 laps in the 2.15km route.

The race will also be run on concrete compared to asphalt which athletes argue is softer on the knee joint.

Furthermore, if history is anything to go by, in the last 17 years, the world record has been broken seven times and all of them, at the Berlin marathon.

(09/30/2020) Views: 217 ⚡AMP
by Paul Ochieng and Gerald Lwande
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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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One of the weekend's biggest virtual events saw competitors chasing marathon world record pace

The Berlin Marathon held a unique virtual running event on the weekend. Runners from around the world were charged with the task of beating Eliud Kipchoge‘s marathon world record of 2:01:39. The event was aptly named the 2:01:39 Challenge, and it gave participants that amount of time (and not a second more) to see how far they could get and how close they could come to Kipchoge’s best mark. Participants had the full weekend to complete their two-hour tasks (they could also sign up to race with hand-cycles, inline skates or wheelchairs), and more than 14,000 people worldwide showed up to compete.

No one broke Kipchoge’s record (no runners, at least), but there were still some impressive results in the final standings.

The 2:01:39 Challenge of course got its name from Kipchoge’s world record, which he ran in Berlin in 2018. While no one came close to his record, several runners covered decent distances in the allotted amount of time. Mexico‘s Ramos Herrera won the event with a final distance run of 34.2K, which works out to an average pace of 3:33 per kilometre. If he held this pace for a full 42.2K, Herrera would cross the finish line of a marathon in a little over 2:30.

This is a pretty quick time, and although it’s nothing to scoff at, it’s far off Herrera’s marathon PB of 2:23:57. Herrera ran the 2019 in-person Berlin Marathon, finishing in 2:24:55.

On the women’s side, a German runner named Ekaterina Logashina won the event, covering 29.31K in the 2:01:39. In a full marathon, this pace of 4:09 per kilometre would work out to 2:55 finishing time.

The third-place woman, who was only registered under the name Shirley R, is from Canada, according to the results page. She ran 28.95K, not far behind first place. 

Relay record:

The event was mostly virtual, but there were some in-person relays held in Berlin on Sunday. A team of four German elite women covered 36.58K in the two-hour event, about 6K shy of Kipchoge’s record. The team included 2016 Olympic marathoner Anja Scherl and elite marathoner Melat Kejeta, who boasts a PB of 2:23. There was also a men’s relay team, and the foursome was able to eke out a record-breaking time, crossing the line in 2:01:34. The group of four men included Philipp Pflieger and Richard Ringer, a pair of Olympians who represented Germany in Rio in 2016. 

(09/29/2020) Views: 237 ⚡AMP
by Ben Snider-McGrath
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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: 236 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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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 Kipkemboi is relishing to pace at London Marathon

In 2011, Kipkemboi joined Rock High School in Tororo, Uganda after his brother,Eliud Kibet Too, who is also an athlete secured a place for him. He sat his Form Four exams and when he was unable to continue to Form Five, Kipkemboi returned home.

That is when he started training after being inspired by what his brother was doing. Kipkemboi joined Complete Sports stable before shifting to Global Sports Communication.

When London Marathon was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kaptagat-based athlete Noah Kipkemboi engaged high gear in training instead of reverse considering the importance of the race.

His mind had been set on the initial April 26 race date, but organisers moved the event to October 4 owing to travel restrictions and Covid-19 health concerns. Now only elite races for men, women and wheelchair athletes will be held in an enclosed loop.

Coronavirus scuttled the global sports calendar that resulted in the cancellation of major events including the Olympic Games that were postponed to next year in Tokyo, Japan.

Kipkemboi is one of the pacemakers for some of the best athletes in the world. Defending champion and world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge (2hours:01 minute:39 seconds), Rotterdam Marathon champion Marius Kipserem, Amsterdam Marathon champion Vincent Kipchumba and 2016 Mumbai Marathon champion Gideon Kipketer will line up on the big day in London.

The spotlight will be on Kipchoge, the first man to run a sub-two hours (1:59:40) in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in Vienna, Austria, last October as he goes head-to-head with his great rival, Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele.

Nation Sport recently caught up with Kipkemboi training at Kipchoge Keino Stadium in Uasin Gishu County. 

Together with his colleagues from the Global Sports Communication stable, the athletes were tying up loose ends as they prepare for the race.

Kipchoge, who is also the Olympic marathon champion, Kipkemboi and Victor Chumo, who was also a pacemaker in Vienna, took turns to set the pace when we found them training at the Kipchoge Stadium.

In an interview with Nation Sport, Kipkemboi said that he is privileged to be among the pacemakers who will be leading some of the best athletes in the world. He is satisfied with his preparations.

"It will not be an easy task because some of the best athletes will be competing in the race. That means the pace will be fast, but I’m ready for the assignment,” said Kipkemboi.

He said that after competitions were cancelled because of the virus in April, he was disappointed. He had to train alone and he followed the Ministry of Health directives on social distancing.

“It was not easy training alone because athletes are used to training in a group. Nevertheless, I stayed focused. I am in good shape. My colleagues and I are putting some final touches. I believe I will perform well in the huge task ahead,” said the runner.

Kipkemboi said he was delighted when he was picked as one of the athletes who will set the pace in London.

“It will be my first time to pace in a major marathon. This has made me work extra hard in training because this race will need effective preparations. I don’t want to disappoint anyone,” he said.

Kipkemboi joined the Global Communications stable in 2017 and has been rising steadily. He was among the athletes who paced for Kipchoge during the sub-two project in Monza, Italy, where he missed the mark.

Kipkemboi was again selected last year among the 41 pacemakers for Kipchoge in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge in Vienna. Kipkemboi rates the Vienna race as one of the best he has ever participated in.“That was a good race because it brought together many athletes from different countries for a worthy course,” said Kipkemboi.

Last year, he finished in ninth position in the Lisbon Half Marathon in a personal best of 60:52, before emerging third in Sevenhills Road Race in Netherlands.

Kipkemboi was second during the Kass Half Marathon in 2018 and he was also second in the Kakamega Half Marathon last year.

Kipkemboi was born in 1993 in Legetet, Uasin Gishu County. He went to school at Legetet Primary School and then proceeded to Ndubeneti Secondary School. However, he dropped out of school for lack of fees.

In 2011, he joined Rock High School in Tororo, Uganda after his brother ,Eliud Kibet Too, who is also an athlete secured a place for him. He sat his Form Four exams and when he was unable to continue to Form Five, Kipkemboi returned home.

That is when he started training after being inspired by what his brother was doing. Kipkemboi joined Complete Sports stable before shifting to Global Sports Communication.

(09/27/2020) Views: 207 ⚡AMP
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Kenenisa Bekele and his thoughts about Eliud Kipchoge

The coronavirus lockdown has been a bitter-sweet experience to Kenenisa Bekele, the world’s most decorated distance runner of all time.

The 38-year-old superstar from Bekoji in the Ethiopian Rift Valley has experienced the ebb and flow of an elite career, a regular customer on and off the injury list, worst of which was a calf rupture in 2010.

That’s why he brushes aside the fact that the pandemic subjected athletes to training in isolation.

This is a situation that he’s accustomed to, having endured various injuries in his stellar career that forced him to retreat, knock himself into shape before rejoining the fray.

NN Running Team:

“This (training alone during the coronavirus lockdown) was not new to me. I had some bad injuries in my career and during those times I had to train alone to come back to good performance,” he told Nation Sport in an exclusive interview.

Bekele, who owns a resort and private, synthetic track in Sululta on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, along with various other real estate investments, is in the same management as his Kenyan rival Eliud Kipchoge.

Both run in the NN Running Team colours under the Global Sports Management camp, the branchild of former Dutch distance running record holder, Jos Hermens.

Managed out of Nijmegen in The Netherlands, the NN Running Team is also home of Kenya’s half marathon world record holder Geoffrey Kamworor and a galaxy of other wold beaters.

On October 4, Hermens will be in an awkward position when Bekele and Kipchoge clash at the London Marathon, at a time both are enjoying a stellar career on the roads, and are separated by just two seconds, in terms of personal best times over the 42-kilometer distance.

World record:

In 2018, Eliud Kipchoge shattered the world marathon record in winning the Berlin Marathon in Two hours, one minute and 39 seconds.

Just 12 months later, Bekele responded by completing the distance in 2:01:41, on the same Berlin streets, despite struggling with discomfort in the first half of the race.

Bekele’s brilliant second half (negative splits) convinced many that he could, perhaps, upstage Kipchoge.

Their eagerly-awaited duel was plotted for April 26, but the London Marathon was shelved as Covid-19 struck, prompting organizers to postpone the duel to October 4.

A great ambassador:

Now with the new big day just 14 days away, Bekele has nothing but respect for Kipchoge, appreciating the Kenyan’s contribution to athletics.

“I have great respect for Eliud,” he said during the interview from Addis Ababa.

“We have been competitors for a long time. He is a great ambassador for our sport and I respect him a lot.”

The October 4 London Marathon will be an elites-only race with no mass runners or spectators due to precautions over the coronavirus.

The 40th anniversary race will also see the elite races take part on a closed-loop circuit around St James’s Park, with the athletes staying in a hotel outside of London which has been chosen for its 40 acres of grounds where athletes will be able to train during race week.

Bekele says racing against Kipchoge and other top elites on October 4 gives him added motivation.

“It gives me great motivation, to run in one of the greatest marathons in the world against the greatest athletes. I give myself pressure, I want to run my best race.”

“Running world records is not easy and difficult to predict what is possible. But seeing Kipchoge’s sub-two performances, we know anything is possible,” he said.

“I had to adapt my training programme with some more alternative training, like on the bike and gym training to remain fit with my team supporting me as usual,” said Bekele who loves spending time with his family when free.

The shifting of the big race from April to October is the least of his worries.

“I was well prepared for the London Marathon in April but as an athlete you need to be ready and flexible, so I focused on October and went on with my training.

(09/21/2020) Views: 322 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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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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President Uhuru Kenyatta's gift, Kipchoge library project

With the London Marathon just over two weeks away, defending champion and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge maintained his tight programme on Wednesday, making time for the ground-breaking ceremony for a library project that he inspired.

He was joined at the ceremony at Kapsisiywa Secondary School in his home Nandi County by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha.

The project has been funded by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The marathon great narrated that at a meeting in Mombasa last year President Kenyatta asked him what gift he wanted after his exploits on the world stage, and he settled for a communal library.

“I'm here to witness one of my dreams come true. My vision to transform my community has come true courtesy of the President.

“I appreciate the President's gesture which confirms to me that, indeed, no human is limited," said an elated Kipchoge who was accompanied by his family.

Kipchoge said it came as a big surprise to him when the President made the offer.

“The answer is what we have here today,” Kipchoge said, noting that a library is crucial and that reading had expanded his thinking and outlook in life.

“Books have been my loyal friend. Books are the perfect mode to travel out of any locality through. Books have helped me navigate through many challenges in life. I'm happy the President will be with us in every step of the way in this project,” added Kipchoge, with his usual touch of philosophy.

President Kenyatta last year issued a directive for the construction of a multi-million library at Kipchoge’s home village of Kapsisiywa.

“Eliud Kipchoge who is alive and here with us has also inspired the world that no human effort is futile, that we can dream and make our dreams a possibility. He has demonstrated that through integrity, hard work and commitment to excellence nothing is out of reach,” said the President when he honoured the athlete last year after his successful exploits in Austria when he broke the two-hour barrier for the marathon.

President Kenyatta decorated Kipchoge with the Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart (E.G.H) award, lauding his work in inspiring future generations to achieve the seemingly impossible.

Magoha, accompanied by Ministry officials, on November 22 last year delivered the offer letter from the President to the famous athlete as well as the Kapsisiywa Secondary School principal.

Kipchoge made history last year after becoming the first man to run a marathon in under two hours – clocking one hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds at the “Ineos 1:59 Challenge” staged in Vienna, Austria.

(09/19/2020) Views: 171 ⚡AMP
by Wycliff Kipsang & Tom Matoke
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