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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: 62 ⚡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: 68 ⚡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: 89 ⚡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: 57 ⚡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: 28 ⚡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: 98 ⚡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: 93 ⚡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: 211 ⚡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: 76 ⚡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: 96 ⚡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: 124 ⚡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: 84 ⚡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: 75 ⚡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: 154 ⚡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: 124 ⚡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: 150 ⚡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: 166 ⚡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: 184 ⚡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: 150 ⚡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: 189 ⚡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: 169 ⚡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: 212 ⚡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: 173 ⚡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: 162 ⚡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: 222 ⚡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: 157 ⚡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: 149 ⚡AMP
by Paul Ochieng and Gerald Lwande
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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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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: 163 ⚡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: 163 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

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

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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: 157 ⚡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: 225 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

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

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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: 121 ⚡AMP
by Wycliff Kipsang & Tom Matoke
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Epic clash at London Marathon this year, but with lower prize money

Top athletes will earn less in this year's London Marathon as effects of Covid-19 continue to hit the sports world.

Organisers of the October 4 race say the prize money has been cut by nearly half of what was offered last year.

With only 17 days to the 40th edition of the London Marathon, the announcement comes as a shocker for marathoners who are just returning to the sport after months of heavy lockdowns.

Interestingly, for the first time there will be a separate prize pool for the best performing British athletes for the London clash that will present the scintillating clash between the world’s fastest marathoners - Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele.

The elite men’s race will see one of the most eagerly anticipated clashes in marathon history with Kipchoge going head-to-head with Bekele, the man who came within two seconds of his world record last year in Berlin.

 

(09/18/2020) Views: 169 ⚡AMP
by Stephen Rutto
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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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Victor Chumo will be the lead pacesetter at the London Marathon

Pacesetters are the unsung heroes in athletics.

Theses are the men and women who set up the main contenders in a race for first finishes and records, besides the titles.

Marathon races, run over two hours require meticulous planning, disciplined pacing and tactical awareness.

Enter pacesetters, who, as the name suggest, are used to pace the contenders through the required time lines on the way to a world record, meet record, course record attempt, as the case may be.

The dynamics at the London Marathon that will be held on October 4 will be no different.

The race has attracted easily two of the fastest marathon runners in the history of athletics, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele.

Kipchoge needs no introduction. He is the world record holder, reigning Olympic champion and reigning London Marathon champion.

Bekele is the reigning Berlin Marathon champion, his winning time of 2 hours 01 minutes 41 seconds last year just two seconds shy of Kipchoge’s world record of 2:01:39.

Of course Kipchoge has run faster, 1:59:40- during the Ineos 1:59 Challenge in Vienna, Austria last October.

Victor Chumo was one of the runners who paced Kipchoge to that historic feat. Chumo is indeed a high profile pacemaker.

Nation Sport caught up with Chumo, who is one of the pacesetters tasked with leading the athletes in the London Marathon next month through their splits in the 42 kilometres race with a fast finish the clear objective.

The other Kenyan pacesetters for the London race are Noah Kipkemboi, Eric Kiptanui, Alfred Barkach and Shadrack Kimining.

Kaptagat-based Chumo also paced Kipchoge in his earlier failed mission to run a sub two hours marathon in Monza, Italy in 2017.

“I’m privileged that I have been selected to pace for some of the best athletes in the world. It is a hard task given that the athletes will always depend on the pacemakers during the race but I’m ready for the task because it’s not my first time to help top athletes run fast times,” said Chumo.

In fact, pacing Eliud Kipchoge in his first attempt to break the 2-hour marathon barrier in a project dubbed “Breaking2”, and sponsored by Nike, was Chumo’s first major assignment as a rabbit.

He trained hard for the assignment and was as disappointed as Kipchoge when the mission failed.

Kipchoge missed the magical barrier by only 25 seconds, after running 2:00:25.

Chumo joined Global Sports Communication stable in May 2019 and here again he was chosen among 41 pacesetters in the Ineos 1:59 Challenge that saw Kipchoge become the first and only man to run a marathon in under two hours.

“Pacing Eliud in the Ineos 1:59 Challenge was one of my best experience in my athletics career and I will remember that day for the rest of my life, he says."

(09/15/2020) Views: 182 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

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

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Three-time London Marathon champion Mary Keitany Predicts Winner of the London Marathon

Three-time London Marathon champion Mary Keitany won't be at the starting line when this year's race blasts off near The Mall on October 4.

One of Kenya's greatest women marathon runners ever won't be in the elite-only field tackling the 19.6 laps of the 2.12-kilometre loop course crafted in a "biosecure bubble" orchestrated by the coronavirus pandemic.

As the athletes power down Horse Guards Road onto Birdcage Walk, Spur Road past the iconic Buckingham Palace and back to The Mall, Keitany won't be in the mix.

And she will be missed in the final, extra 1,345 metres to the finish line...

"Many are wondering why I'm not in the line-up this year, but I had been invited for the Boston Marathon race which I later cancelled due to an injury.

"The race has been postponed to next year and I have enough time to prepare because this will be my debut in the race," she told Nation Sport.

"One has to prepare well and you can't predict a race up to the last few kilometres because anything can happen with your body."

"A good example is the Boston and Chicago marathon where we saw athletes competing in a group up to the last 50 metres when Lawrence Cherono won both races in a sprint finish," she explained.

"When I broke the (women's only) world record in 2017, we just started the race in a high pace with my pacemaker, and by the time the other athletes reacted, I was very far and that's how I won the race.

"Even elite athletes have pressure during training and before the race starts, but for me that disappears when the race starts and I have to get focused to the finish line."

"Many athletes will hang on until the 35km mark where they will start dropping," she added.

Her prediction for the men's race on October 4 is that Eliud Kipchoge will carry the day, but that it will be a tight race.

 

(09/11/2020) Views: 191 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

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

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Be part of the 2:01:39 Challenge – BMW BERLIN-MARATHON on September 26-27, 2020

Are you ready for the 2:01:39 Challenge on September 26 and 27, 2020? How many kilometers can you cover in 2:01:39 hours, the world record time set by Eliud Kipchoge in the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON 2018? No matter where in the world you may find yourself, be a part of the #berlin42united community and run your personal record. #20139

But you can become part of the 2:01:39 Challenge from September 26 to 27, 2020. How many kilometers can you cover in 2:01:39 hours, the world record time set by Eliud Kipchoge in the 2018 BMW BERLIN-MARATHON 2018. No matter where in the world you may find yourself, be a part of the #berlin42united community, achieve your personal record and immortalize yourself in a ranking.

The only cost to participate is your sweat and muscle power. The 2:01:39 Challenge App provides the needed support. Starting in mid-September, the free app will be available for download for iOS and Android devices.

In addition, on September 27, 2020, a team of German top runners in the form of a relay is trying to break the time of 2:01:39 hours over the marathon distance around the Berlin Victory Column (Siegessäule). Due to the current situation, viewers can only follow this action, which takes place in compliance with the current hygiene regulations, on the screen.

The motto of September 27 is “Berlin bewegt sich” and will be broadcast live on rbb television from 9 am to 11.30 am.

In the next few weeks we will present more detailed information.Until then we wish you continued success in training for your 2:01:39 Challenge.

Stay tuned! #20139

(09/10/2020) Views: 180 ⚡AMP
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London Marathon Creates a Biosecure Bubble for the Upcoming Elite-Only Race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(09/06/2020) Views: 217 ⚡AMP
by Runner’s World
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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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World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge given the power to read

Ancient Greek philosopher Plato once said: “Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”

And with the elite-only October 4 London Marathon basically down to a battle of mental strength, Kenya’s defending champion Eliud Kipchoge has always stressed the importance of training the mind. There couldn’t be a better way to do this than read, read and read.

That’s why a consignment of books to Kipchoge’s Kaptagat training camp on Wednesday, courtesy of Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, couldn’t have come at a better time.

Last year, while on a visit to Kipchoge’s Global Sports Communications camp, CS Amina promised to help equip the camp’s library to keep athletes busy after training. The books eventually arrived and were handed over to Kipchoge by Kenneth Boit on behalf of the CS.

Resumption of sports

“My training is going on well, although this time it was different from what we are used to due to the Covid-19 pandemic whereby all camps were closed and I have been training alone," said Kipchoge.

The Olympic champion and world record holder is looking forward to the resumption of sports saying many athletes are suffering because almost all competitions were cancelled.

"We look forward to resumption of sports because this is what athletes depend on and it has been hard for many of them to put food on the table. Competition is slowly coming back and we hope things will normalise soon and the virus shall be contained,” said Kipchoge.

(09/03/2020) Views: 129 ⚡AMP
by Bernard Rotich
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Elite athletes will be protected in bio secure bubble for 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2020 Virgin Money London Marathon elite race route map

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

(09/03/2020) Views: 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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London Marathon releases race day schedule

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

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

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

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

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

ELITE RACE SCHEDULE

07:15 – Elite women’s race

10:15 – Elite men’s race

13:10 – Wheelchair races

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

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

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

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

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

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

(08/28/2020) Views: 179 ⚡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 Victor Chumo looking forward to London Marathon duties

As world marathon Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele, the biggest threat to the Kenyan's 2:01:39 mark, prepare for the October 4 London Marathon, ‘Rabbit’ Victor Chumo is preparing for an equally daunting task.

Chumo will be pacing for Kipchoge as he seeks to retain his title in the streets of London and has revealed his kind of routine as he battles to stay sharp for the task ahead.

The reigning Barcelona Half Marathon champion disclosed that he has been running at least 30km daily ahead of what is expected to be a highly-charged race.

Chumo will be guiding the elite-runners only event, occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, where he leads the first group while Chicago Marathon champion, Mo Farah, will be pacing for the second group.

He said he fully understands what is at stake now that it will be the third time pacing for the only man to have dipped under two hours over the distance.

“I first paced Kipchoge during the Nike Breaking 2 where he ran 2:00: 25. I then paced him during Ineos 1:59 Challenge, running 1:59:40. With this, he has trust in me and I have to once again deliver," said Chumo.

Kipchoge will be chasing his fifth title in London after winning the 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019 editions.

“There will be a strong field in London and that needs a strong pacesetter. You can imagine how speedy the race will be with some of the greatest marathon runners on show,” said the former Kenya Defence Forces man.

Kipchoge and Bekele (2:01:41) will also have to contend with some of the toughest challengers including nine who have dipped under 2:06.

They include Mosinet Geremew (2:02:55), Mule Wasihun (2:03:16), Sisay Lemma (2:03:36), Tamirat Tola (2:04:06), Marius Kipserem (2:04:11), Shura Kitata (2:04:49), Vincent Kipchumba (2:05:09), Sondre Nordstad Moen (2:05:48) and Gideon Kipketer (2:05:51).

Other pace-setters include Noah Kipkemoi, who also paced at Ineos Challenge, Erick Kiptanui, Alfred Barkach, Shadrack Kimining, Matt Clowes (Great Britain), and Jake Smith (Great Britain).

(08/26/2020) 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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World champion Ruth Chepng’etich promises thrilling battle at London Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(08/22/2020) Views: 208 ⚡AMP
by Ayumba Ayodi
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(08/21/2020) Views: 302 ⚡AMP
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The full elite wheelchair fields will be released next week.

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

(08/21/2020) Views: 184 ⚡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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Aaron Scott and Josh Lunn from England are among 50 local elite athletes invited to take part in the elite only London Marathon

There was disappointment on the local running scene after the organisers were left with no choice but to pull the plug on this autumn’s rearranged mass participation 2020 race because of the coronavirus crisis.

 

However a version of the prestigious event will go ahead on October 4 for elite runners only and excitingly local hot shot Scott will be on the start line alongside his Helpston Harriers second claim teammate Lunn.

The race will now take place on a 20- lap spectator- free course around St James Park in the heart of the capital.

“It’s amazing to be part of such a unique event” said Scott. “I think there is going to be 40 to 50 maximum on the startline for both the men’s and the ladies races.

“That will only include a dozen domestic athletes, so to feature with Josh is incredible. Training over lockdown has been on track. I worked on my 5km speed and managed five or six efforts of between 14:30 and 14:45 which was plenty fast enough for where I wanted to be.

“I have done plenty of laps of the Stamford Town Cricket Club outfield. I reckon I’ve racked up over 1000 miles around the boundary. People might think that’s a little odd, but all of us runners are a bit bonkers. The pitch is fast, traffic free and I can switch off and just use my lap times to compare week on week, month on month or even year on year improvement.

“London is going to be 20 loops of just over 2km around The Mall, Horse Guards Parade and Birdcage Walk, so it’s also good mental preparation for that. The aim is a big personal best, but the focus of my current training has been to forget about any goal times and run to effort.

“Around three to four weeks out I can start to see what pace my training suggests. I’d like to think that will be 2:14 to 2:15, but I also want to give myself the possibility of going even faster.

“It’s going to be an odd experience running around a closed loop, and I can imagine it’s going to be a tougher mental battle than ever. Usually at London you can rely on the crowd support in the last 10k, but there will be none of that.

“With Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele set to do battle there could be a world record chance, so I’m very excited to have a front row seat for that.

“It’s helped having a target now as I lost a lot of motivation in lockdown,” Lunn said. “I’m very excited as it’ll be a niche event and probably never happen again.”

(08/18/2020) Views: 223 ⚡AMP
by Alan Swann
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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 was named ambassador for Run as One

Reigning Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge was named the ambassador of the fund-raising initiative “Sunfeast India Run As One”.

Kipchoge became the first man on the planet to cover the marathon distance in less than two hours. The 35-year-old clocked 1:59:40 to create an athletic spectacle in Vienna, thus elevating his credentials as the world’s greatest marathoner.

“India is very close to my heart and I have had the opportunity to witness the warmth and hospitality of this beautiful nation,” Kipchoge was quoted as saying in a media release.

“The idea of helping people through running or walking or jogging, is a thoughtful way of engaging people for a good cause. And this is the reason I have joined Sunfeast India Run as One as its Ambassador.”

The “virtual event” will support people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic with the citizen-led movement bringing together people of 28 states and eight union territories. The 30-day movement will kick-start on Saturday while registrations will continue till September 11.

(08/17/2020) Views: 154 ⚡AMP
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Jim Walmsley says he can take a 2:05 marathoner in a trail scenario

Walmsley on the road versus trail argument

Jim Walmsley ran a 1:04:00 in the Houston Half-Marathon on Sunday. Since his performance, many people have been critical of his race and returned to comparing the trail and road running scenes in a futile attempt to try and identify which discipline is more difficult.

Walmsley is an ultra and trail runner who’s the Western States 100 course record holder, and was formerly a high school and collegiate track runner (8:41.05 3,000m steeplechaser). Walmsley was ranked 23rd male on Sports Illustrated’s Fittest 50 athletes in 2018 (marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge ranked 21st) and is very well known for his accomplishments on the trails.

His 1:04:00 at Houston qualified him exactly for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon trials where he will run his marathon debut. As Walsmley straddles the boundary between ultra-trail runner and road runner, he’s become a focal point for the trail versus road argument.

Walmsley was a guest on the Citius Mag podcast the week following his half-marathon and was asked to address some of the comments. Here’s what he had to say regarding a 2:05 marathoner being thrown into the Western States Endurance Run. “The way that I attack the downhills, I will break your quads and you won’t be able to jog the flats after. Like, give me a 2:05 guy, you don’t need Western States, call me up, give me a 2:05 guy, give me a couple hours in the canyon and I’ll be the first one out.” This is a clip starting at minute 58 in the podcast.

Walmsley adds that of course a marathoner could learn to be good at ultra running, but it takes practice. He’s not denying that road runners wouldn’t be capable of becoming strong trail runners, what he’s saying is that like anything in sport, it takes practice.

(08/17/2020) Views: 166 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Eliud Kipchoge will use the Nike Vaporfly, the shoes he used during the Ineos 1:59 Challenge, to defend his London Marathon title

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(08/11/2020) Views: 205 ⚡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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World Marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge wants Usain Bolt to visit Kenya

World Marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge has invited the fastest man on earth, Jamaican Usain Bolt to visit Kenya and witness the wildebeest migration, one of the wonders of the world.

“It’s good to invite my good friend Bolt to come and visit to see what is currently happening in Kenya now," Kipchoge said on Sunday during his tour of the Masai Mara Game Reserve.

“He is an all round guy, charming, a great sports ambassador to the world.”

Kipchoge said Bolt, who visited Kenya 11 years ago, is welcomed to come and find out how the baby cheetah he adopted in 2009 is doing. 

“We have the big five- Lions, Leopards, Rhinos, elephants and buffaloes, which are some of the fastest animals in the world then we have the cheetah that is the fastest animal,” said Kipchoge.

“Bolt is the fastest and I will be glad to host him in Nairobi to witness over 2.5 million wildebeest migrating.”

While Bolt holds the 100m and 200m world records of  9.58 and 19.19 seconds, Kipchoge holds the world marathon record of 2:01.39.

Kipchoge, who has been named Kenya tourism ambassador, on Sunday ran with Kenya's game rangers and Masai Morans at the Masai Mara Game Reserve, Narok County.

Kipchoge, who raced over 10km in the wild said he used the race to pay tribute to the game rangers for their efforts in safeguarding the wildlife besides their conservation efforts.

The world Marathon record holder also commended the Morans and their Masai community for being on the forefront not only to preserve their culture that has been a major world attraction, but also the wildlife and environment.

Kipchoge, who has a passion for environment conservation and wildlife said,  “I should have been in Japan to defend my Olympic title and I was ready for it, but Covid-19 happened.”

 “It was a good run that I also wanted to use to bring hope to 47 million Kenyans. I want to tell them that we can’t go down completely and that we can still rise and go up together as a country through running,” said Kipchoge, who will be defending his London Marathon.

(08/10/2020) Views: 188 ⚡AMP
by Ayumba Ayodi
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Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele are set for London Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(08/07/2020) Views: 258 ⚡AMP
by Jessica Whittington
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Virgin London Marathon

Virgin London Marathon

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

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