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Articles tagged #Meskerem Assefa
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Breaking away from her final challenger after 30km, Mizuki Matsuda went on to win the Osaka Women’s Marathon in 2:21:47 on Sunday

It was the third-fastest time in the history of the Osaka Women’s Marathon and puts Matsuda sixth on the Japanese all-time list, but more importantly, she ran under the time (2:22:22) required to be considered for the third spot on the Japanese Olympic marathon team.

If no one runs faster than 2:21:47 at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon in March, Matsuda will clinch the team spot.

“I don't think anybody in Japan can run such a time,” said Matsuda, who finished fourth at last year's Marathon Grand Championship, Japan's main trial race for the Olympic Games.

“It was not the time I was hoping for, but I had achieved the minimum requirement,” added Matsuda, who also won in Osaka in 2018. “In order to be competitive at the Olympics, I need a national-record-level personal best. I also need to work on the final part of the race because I slowed down too much at the end today.”

The race was fast from the start with Matsuda clocking 16:36 at 5km, 33:07 at 10km, 49:44 at 15km and 1:06:17 at 20km. “In the early part of the race I was bit worried that we were going too fast,” said Matsuda, who reached the half-way mark in 1:09:54. “It was faster than my half marathon personal best (1:10:25).”

By 25km, the lead pack consisted of Matsuda, Bahrain’s Mimi Belete and two pace-makers. “The race went well until 30km,” said Matsuda, “but then it started to get tough. Each kilometre felt very long.

“I knew four runners had faster personal bests, so I expected them to be running in front of me. When I started to run alone in front (after 30km), I looked around and asked myself, ‘where are they?’ I was running with the goal of breaking the national record (2:19:12). I had to think that way to get under 2:22.”

Immediately after the 30km check point, Matsuda checked her watch and appeared to pick up the pace for the next two kilometres. She was unable to get back on schedule for a finishing time inside 2:20, but she started to open up a gap on Belete before going on to win in 2:21:47.

Belete, who suffered from stomach problems, particularly in the latter stages, held on for second place in 2:22:40, just 78 seconds shy of the PB she set in Amsterdam three months ago.

“In my country the Olympic team spots are given to those with the fastest times,” explained Belete. “Although someone may run a faster time, I think I can be selected with the today’s time.”

Ethiopia’s Sintayehu Lewetegn finished third with 2:23:03, the second-fastest time of her career and just 18 seconds short of her personal best. Meskerem Assefa, one of the favourites, was fourth while Australian veteran Lisa Weightman was fifth in 2:26:02, the second-fastest time of her career.

Matsuda and compatriot Haruka Yamaguchi, who clocked 2:26:35 as the second Japanese finisher, were the only athletes among the top 10 to set a PB.

Last year’s runner-up Rei Ohara was suffering from a cold and achilles problems. She lost contact with the leaders after 17km and eventually finished 13th in 2:28:12.

Kayoko Fukushi, the 2013 world bronze medallist, lost contact with the leaders after 20km and dropped out after 25km. “I will start my training with running the Nagoya Women’s Marathon in mind,” said Fukushi, who is still pursuing what would be a fifth consecutive Olympic team.

(01/28/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Osaka International Womens Marathon

Osaka International Womens Marathon

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

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Ethiopian Haftamnesh Tesfay leads a quartet of sub-2:22 runners at the 39th edition of the Osaka Women’s Marathon

Four runners from abroad have faster personal bests than the Japanese: Ethiopians Tesfay and Meskerem Assefa, Mimi Belete of Bahrain and Kenyan Bornes Jepkirui. Tesfay ran 2:20:13 in her debut at the 2018 Dubai Marathon, at the time the fourth fastest marathon debut in history. She followed up with a 2:20:47 run in Frankfurt later that year. Assefa won the Nagoya Women’s Marathon in 2018 and later in the year finished 11 seconds ahead of Tesfay in Frankfurt with a 2:20:36 PB. Although they did not have a good 2019 season, both have sub-2:20 potential and said they are running to win on Sunday.

With a 2:21:22 performance to her credit, Mimi Belete is the third fastest in the field; more importantly, she set that at last October’s Amsterdam Marathon, clipping more than a minute from her previous best. Belete was a solid performer on the track, with 1500m and 5000m medals Asian Games medals in her collection.

Defending champion Fatuma Sado and Jepkirui, who was third last year, are back. Jepkirui improved her personal best to 2:21:26 in the 2019 Ljubljana Marathon. The last runner to win back-to-back titles was Lidia Simon who won in 1999 and 2000. Before the Romanian, Katrin Dorre also collected back-to-back victories. The German won in Osaka a record four times. Her daughter, Katharina Steinruck, a 2:27:26 marathoner, will be running this year.

For Japanese women, it is the second to last opportunity to secure the third spot on the Olympic marathon squad. The first two finishers at September's Marathon Grand Championships (MGC) were automatically selected for the team. But third place finisher Rei Ohara, who finished four seconds behind the automatic-qualifying spot for the team, is not confirmed. Four years ago at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon, Ohara finished one second behind Tomomi Tanaka who clinched the final spot on the team bound for Rio. Thus Ohara is a sentimental favourite here, but if somebody runs faster than 2:22:22 in Osaka, or later in Nagoya, Ohara will be out.

Ohara could have chosen to sit and wait, but she decided run in Osaka.

“The memory of missing the team by one second four years ago still haunts me,” Ohara said, speaking at today’s pre-race press conference. “I could have sat and waited, but I want to be a challenger. On Sunday I want to go after the team berth which eluded me at the MGC.”

That sets up the clash between Ohara, who was third in the MGC, Mizuki Matsuda, fourth in the MGC and Kayoko Fukushi, seventh in the MGC, as a potential highlight of the race. Fukushi is the fastest with a 2:22:17 personal best from the 2016 Osaka race. Matsuda is six seconds slower with 2:22:23, recorded in the 2018 Berlin Marathon.

“I have done the best training possible,” said Matsuda, who also attended today’s press conference. “I will run on Sunday as if it is the last race of my life.”

Finally, newly minted Japanese half marathon record holder Hitomi Niiya, who blitzed to a 1:06:38 victory in Houston last weekend, will run as a pacemaker. 

(01/24/2020) ⚡AMP
by World Athletics
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Osaka International Womens Marathon

Osaka International Womens Marathon

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

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Frankfurt Marathon champion Valary Aiyabei is targeting the women's only world record held by Mary Keitany of 2:17:01 during the 2020 season

Aiyabei, who is a former Beijing Marathon champion, has thrown her hat in the ring and is seeking to conquer any of the six World Marathon Majors (WMM) course in 2020 alongside making it to the Kenya team for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The 28-year-old ran the fifth-fastest women's marathon time in Frankfurt last Sunday after recording 2:19:10 to break the previous course record of 2:20:36 set by Ethiopia's Meskerem Assefa in 2018.

"I know I can run faster. I now target the women's record of Keitany, which was set two years ago in London. Then maybe I can start dreaming of challenging Brigid Kosgei's women's marathon record," Aiyabei said on Thursday in Nairobi after arriving from Frankfurt.

It has taken over a decade for Kosgei to break the women's all-time world record of 2:15:25 set by Paula Radcliffe in London back in 2003. Kosgei clocked 2:14:01 to break the 16-year-old mark.

"My plan is to break the record in any of the World Marathon Majors. I will plan with my coaches to see which race is convenient for me and my mission," Aiyabei added.

New York, Berlin, Tokyo, Chicago, Boston, and London races form the WRR series with the Olympics and World Championships being part of the circuit.

But Aiyabei hopes her performance in Frankfurt will open doors for her to secure a call to run in either Tokyo, Boston or London in April.

"That record can be broken. But it's rather safe to start with the women's only record and then push for Kosgei's mark later. It all depends on one's mental strength, psyche and how you train. I have a dream to lower Kosgei's record and I believe with God's blessings, it will come to pass," added Aiyabei.

Already Kosgei has called out on sponsors to fund her training to try and make history, similar way Olympic Champion Eliud Kipchoge did in Vienna with the INEOS 1:59 Challenge.

"I believe women can run below two hours and ten minutes," said Kosgei. "I can run faster than the time I set in Chicago."

That spirit has also given Aiyabei the belief she can control her own destiny and push herself to break the world record.

"Kosgei's feat was very inspiring and I have decided to emulate her and make another step in my career," she said.

(10/31/2019) ⚡AMP
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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Fifty-six years after having organized the Olympic Games, the Japanese capital will be hosting a Summer edition for the second time, from July 24 to August 9, 2020. The Games in 1964 radically transformed the country. According to the organizers of the event in 2020, the Games of the XXXII Olympiad of the modern era will be “the most innovative...

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Valary Jemeli Aiyabei smashed the 2:20 barrier at the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon on Sunday clocking 2:19:10

In a thrilling men’s race, Ethiopia’s Fikre Tefera broke clear from his compatriot Dawit Wolde to win by just two seconds in 2:07:08.

Just one week after Brigid Kosgei clocked a world record of 2:14:04 at the Chicago Marathon, spectators in Frankfurt wondered if another record was about to happen in the German city after Aiyabei went through 10km in 31:44, on schedule for a 2:13:54 finish.

The 28-year-old Kenyan was paced by her husband Kenneth Tarus until he had to drop out at 15km because of stomach problems, but Aiyabei continued in imposing style, going through halfway in 1:07:42.

Aiyabei’s pace slowed in the second half, but she continued to operate inside the required schedule to finish inside the course record of 2:20:36 set 12 months ago by one of her distant pursuers, Meskerem Assefa. Aiyabei eventually crossed the line in 2:19:10, improving the course record by 86 seconds.

“My aim was to break my personal best,” said Aiyabei, whose previous PB was 2:20:53. Despite her tremendously fast early pace, she hadn’t planned an attack on the world record. “Running alone isn’t easy. I had to struggle and grind it out.”

The chasing group, some way behind, comprised high class talent who were themselves on course for sub-2:20 much of the time. Ethiopia’s Megertu Kebede emerged to take second place in a PB of 2:21:10. Defending champion Meskerem Assefa finished third in 2:22:14 ahead of European 10,000m champion Lonah Salpeter of Israel, who came home in 2:23:11.

The leading group in the men’s field set off slower than intended and the prospect of a finishing time inside of 2:05 soon drifted out of reach. The 14-strong leading group went through halfway in 1:03:29 and were without pacemakers from 25km onwards. The fastest man in the field, Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Mekonnen, dropped out before 30km.

It was only at about 35km that the group started to break up. Mark Kiptoo, the Kenyan who set a world M40 best of 2:07:50 on this course last year, dropped off the pace and eventually finished sixth in 2:08:09. Four men pulled away: Kenya’s Martin Kosgey, Ethiopia’s Fikre Tefera and Dawit Wolde and Bahrain’s Aweke Yimer, the latter making his marathon debut.

The outcome was decided with fewer than 300 metres to run before they reached the red carpet in Frankfurt’s Festhalle. At that point the 21-year-old Fikre Tefera went clear and won in 2:07:08.

“I had hoped for a faster time but the pacemaker wasn’t fast enough, although the conditions were good,” said Fikre, who has a PB of 2:06:27. Wolde finished two seconds behind Fikre and two seconds ahead of Yimer in what was the closest finish ever in Frankfurt.

(10/28/2019) ⚡AMP
by IAAF
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Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Frankfurt is an unexpectedly traditional and charming city, with half-timbered buildings huddled in its quaint medieval Altstadt (old city), cosy apple wine taverns serving hearty regional food, village-like neighbourhoods filled with outdoor cafes, boutiques and street art, and beautiful parks, gardens and riverside paths. The city's cache of museums is second in Germany only to Berlin’s, and its nightlife...

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Israeli Lonah Salpeter is the latest addition to the elite field at the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

The addition of Lonah Salpeter completes the elite field for the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon which takes place next Sunday. The Kenyan-born runner who competes for Israel has a personal best of 2:19:46 which makes her the fastest woman ever to be on the start list of the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon.

Given the extraordinary strength in depth of the women’s race, the course record could well fall after just one year in existence – and the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon might record the first sub-2:20 women’s time in its history.

Four women who have run under 2:22 will be on the start line: alongside Salpeter (2:19:46) will be the title holder Meskerem Assefa of Ethiopia, who set the course record of 2:20:36 last year, the Kenyan Valary Aiyabei with a best of 2:20:53 and the Ethiopian Bedatu Hirpa (2:21:32).

The latter finished third in Frankfurt last year. Another expected to produce a strong performance is the Ethiopian Megertu Kebede whose best is 2:22:52.

The men’s race on Sunday features a rare, perhaps unique contest over the marathon distance: junior against veteran or masters world record holder – Tsegaye Mekonnen against Mark Kiptoo.

Mekonnen of Ethiopia has a best of 2:04:32 which means he is the fastest man in the field, while the Kenyan Kiptoo’s personal best is 2:06:00.

Many athletes competing in Frankfurt will have their eyes on the qualifying times for the Olympic Games in Tokyo next year. The target for the men is 2:11:30 and 2:29:30 for the women.

Eight men with best times under 2:08 will be on the start line which suggests yet another high quality and exciting race for top honors in Frankfurt with finishing times to match. Tsegaye Mekonnen is looking to re-establish himself with a fast time after injury problems on a Mainova Frankfurt Marathon course renowned for speedy performances.

The world masters record holder Mark Kiptoo, who set an age group record here last year, should also have a say in the outcome this time. If he can match his younger rivals, his own masters world record will be under pressure.

Two Europeans seeking both big improvements on their personal bests and the Olympic qualifying times will be Britain’s Stephanie Twell (2:30:14) and the local runner Katharina Steinruck (2:28:34).

(10/22/2019) ⚡AMP
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Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Frankfurt is an unexpectedly traditional and charming city, with half-timbered buildings huddled in its quaint medieval Altstadt (old city), cosy apple wine taverns serving hearty regional food, village-like neighbourhoods filled with outdoor cafes, boutiques and street art, and beautiful parks, gardens and riverside paths. The city's cache of museums is second in Germany only to Berlin’s, and its nightlife...

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Ethiopian Junior World Record Holder Tsegaye Mekonnen joins the Frankfurt marathon

“The addition of Meskerem Assefa and Tsegaye Mekonnen means two more top stars have joined our race. It says a lot for the quality of the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon that these two athletes want to run their autumn marathon here. If weather conditions are right, we have a good chance for very fast races,” said the race director Jo Schindler.

A year ago Meskerem Assefa set a course record of 2:20:36 despite windy conditions which was also her personal best. The 34-year-old has the potential to target a sub-2:20 time for her latest appearance in Frankfurt. She may well have company in this challenge since the Kenyan Valary Aiyabei has a best of 2:20:53, only 17 seconds slower than Meskerem’s course record in Frankfurt.

Sylvia Kibet can also be expected to produce a considerable improvement on her fastest time.

The 35-year-old won in Rabat in Morocco in April, setting a personal best of 2:25:52. Her pedigree for the marathon includes impressive speed over shorter distances on the track which helped her win two silver medals over 5,000m in the 2009 and 2011 World Championships and an Olympic bronze for the same distance in 2008.

Another newcomer to the women’s race in the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon is Fabienne Königstein, better known as Fabienne Amrhein.

The 26-year-old made her breakthrough last year, improving to 2:32:34 to win the women’s title in Düsseldorf, followed by becoming the top German finisher in 11th place in the European Championship Marathon in Berlin. Injuries have prevented her from racing in the early part of 2019 but she is likely to be aiming for the Olympic qualifying time of 2:29:30 in Frankfurt.

Tsegaye Mekonnen is a runner with enormous potential. In 2014 the Ethiopian was the shooting start of the international marathon scene, running, as an 18-year-old, an unofficial junior world record in Dubai on his debut at the distance of 2:04:32 (the IAAF does not record official marathon world records for juniors).

Since then Tsegaye Mekonnen’s progress has been restricted by a succession of injuries. He also suffered misfortune when making his Frankfurt debut in 2014, recovering from a fall during the race but subsequently dropping out.

In 2017 Tsegaye Mekonnen won his second marathon with 2:07:26 in Hamburg. He has not raced internationally this year but the flat and fast course in Frankfurt should give him the opportunity to show what he can do.

(10/18/2019) ⚡AMP
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Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Frankfurt is an unexpectedly traditional and charming city, with half-timbered buildings huddled in its quaint medieval Altstadt (old city), cosy apple wine taverns serving hearty regional food, village-like neighbourhoods filled with outdoor cafes, boutiques and street art, and beautiful parks, gardens and riverside paths. The city's cache of museums is second in Germany only to Berlin’s, and its nightlife...

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Course Record Holder Meskerem Assefa returns to defend women’s title at Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Last year’s women’s champion and course record holder Meskerem Assefa will return to run the Mainova Frankurt Marathon while another world-class Ethiopian distance runner will also be on the start line on October 27.

Tsegaye Mekonnen, the junior men’s world record holder in the marathon is set to race in the men’s division.  In addition to these new recruits to the elite line-up, two more athletes will be joining them in the race for top prizes: Kenya’s Olympic bronze medallist in the 5,000m in 2008, Sylvia Kibet and last year’s German champion Fabienne Königstein.

About 14,000 runners are expected to complete the field in the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon which is an IAAF Gold Label race, the highest category in road racing.

“If weather conditions are right, we have a good chance for very fast races," said the race director Jo Schindler.

A year ago Meskerem Assefa set a course record of 2:20:36 despite windy conditions which was also her personal best. The 34-year-old has the potential to target a sub-2:20 time for her latest appearance in Frankfurt. She may well have company in this challenge since the Kenyan Valary Aiyabei has a best of 2:20:53, only 17 seconds slower than Meskerem’s course record in Frankfurt.

Sylvia Kibet can also be expected to produce a considerable improvement on her fastest time. The 35-year-old won in Rabat in Morocco in April, setting a personal best of 2:25:52. Her pedigree for the marathon includes impressive speed over shorter distances on the track which helped her win two silver medals over 5,000m in the 2009 and 2011 World Championships and an Olympic bronze for the same distance in 2008.

Another newcomer to the women’s race in the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon is Fabienne Königstein, better known as Fabienne Amrhein. The 26-year-old made her breakthrough last year, improving to 2:32:34 to win the women’s title in Düsseldorf, followed by becoming the top German finisher in 11th place in the European Championship Marathon in Berlin. 

Tsegaye Mekonnen is a runner with enormous potential. In 2014 the Ethiopian was the shooting start of the international marathon scene, running, as an 18-year-old, an unofficial junior world record in Dubai on his debut at the distance of 2:04:32 (the IAAF does not record official marathon world records for juniors).

Since then Tsegaye Mekonnen’s progress has been restricted by a succession of injuries. He also suffered misfortune when making his Frankfurt debut in 2014, recovering from a fall during the race but subsequently dropping out. 

(10/09/2019) ⚡AMP
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Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Frankfurt is an unexpectedly traditional and charming city, with half-timbered buildings huddled in its quaint medieval Altstadt (old city), cosy apple wine taverns serving hearty regional food, village-like neighbourhoods filled with outdoor cafes, boutiques and street art, and beautiful parks, gardens and riverside paths. The city's cache of museums is second in Germany only to Berlin’s, and its nightlife...

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Alemu Kebede of Ethiopia will aim for 2:20 course record at the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Could spectators witness a new women’s course record at the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon on 27 October? Two women who could be about to produce a world class time of around 2:20 are among the favorites.

Valary Jemeli of Kenya has a best of 2:20:53 while her Ethiopian rival Alemu Kebede has achieved 2:22:52. Alemu also showed last weekend that she is in formidable form in preparation for the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon, running her fastest ever half marathon in Copenhagen.

Two European runners who could also feature are Ana Dulce Felix of Portugal and Britain’s Stephanie Twell as well as the home contender Katharina Steinruck.

“We have put together a strong women’s elite field once again and expect a high-class and possibly thrilling race. Our goal is to one day have a sub 2:20 course record. It would of course be great if we could achieve it this year,” said race director Jo Schindler. With 14,000 runners expected to take part, the organizers say places remain available for this IAAF Gold Label race, the top category awarded for road races worldwide.

Last year the Ethiopian Meskerem Assefa improved Frankfurt’s course record to an impressive 2:20:36. It is highly possible that with good weather conditions this time could be under threat on October 27 and the city beside the River Main will stage its first ever sub-2:20 time by a woman.

Valary Jemeli has certainly gone close to that barrier on several occasions. The Kenyan has broken 2:22 three times with her best achieved in Berlin two years ago when she finished third in 2:20:53. A strong sign of her potential for sub-2:20 is a personal best of 66:14 for the half marathon, set this year.

A strong performance at half marathon is also a reason for making Alemu Kebede one of the favorites. The Ethiopian finished fourth in a highly competitive women’s field for the half marathon in Copenhagen last Sunday, improving her personal best to 66:43. In spring this year she set another personal best to win the Rome Marathon in 2:22:52.

Ana Dulce Felix has been one of the best European marathon runners for some time now. The 36-year-old Portuguese will be making her debut at the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon. She has a personal best of 2:25:15 and took 16th place in the 2016 Olympic Games marathon in Rio.

A runner who might well use Frankfurt as a springboard to establishing herself among the European Marathon elite is Stephanie Twell. The 30-year-old Briton was once regarded as a potential successor to Paula Radcliffe after some outstanding performances at junior level but subsequently suffered injuries which hindered her development. She made her marathon debut in Valencia last December, finishing seventh in 2:30:14. This could be a good omen for a marathon breakthrough.

Katharina Steinruck will be running the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon for the third year in succession. The 29-year-old competes for the home club Eintracht Frankfurt and is making her first appearance at the distance since heel surgery.

Her target will be the qualifying time for the Tokyo Olympics next year which is 2:29:30. Steinruck, better known under her maiden name of Katharina Heinig, has a personal best of 2:28:34.

(09/24/2019) ⚡AMP
by AIMS
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Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Frankfurt is an unexpectedly traditional and charming city, with half-timbered buildings huddled in its quaint medieval Altstadt (old city), cosy apple wine taverns serving hearty regional food, village-like neighbourhoods filled with outdoor cafes, boutiques and street art, and beautiful parks, gardens and riverside paths. The city's cache of museums is second in Germany only to Berlin’s, and its nightlife...

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Nagoya marathon bronze medalist Valary Jemeli will be the athlete to beat at the Frankfurt marathon

Jemeli will face Ethiopia's Alemu Kebede in the German city as they seek to push for a better ranking ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.

"I hope to run a good race and boost my ranking among Kenyan runners. It is hard to get selected as a marathoner to represent Kenya, but with a win in Frankfurt, I will be a step closer to Tokyo Olympic Games team," said Jemeli on Friday.

Jemeli has the best time of 2:20:53, while Kebede's fastest time is 2:22:52.

"We have put together a strong women's elite field once again and expect a high-class and possibly thrilling race. Our goal is to one day have a sub 2:20 course record. It would, of course, be great if we could achieve it this year," said race director Jo Schindler in a statement.

The line-up also features Portugal's Ana Dulce Felix (2:25:15), Britain's Steph Twell (2:30:14) while the home contingent is led by Katharina Steinruck (formerly Heinig) who has a 2:28:34 PB.

Last year the Ethiopian Meskerem Assefa improved Frankfurt's course record to an impressive 2:20:36. It is highly possible that with good weather conditions this time could be under threat on October 27 and the city beside the River Main will stage its first-ever sub-2:20 time by a woman.

Jemeli has gone close to that barrier on several occasions. The Kenyan has broken 2:22 three times with her best achieved in Berlin two years ago when she finished third in 2:20:53. A strong sign of her potential for sub-2:20 is a personal best of 66:14 for the half marathon, set this year.

A strong performance at the half marathon is also a reason for making Alemu Kebede one of the favorites. The Ethiopian finished fourth in a highly competitive women's field for the half marathon in Copenhagen last Sunday, improving her personal best to 66:43. In spring this year she set another personal best to win the Rome Marathon in 2:22:52.

Ana Dulce Felix has been one of the best European marathon runners for some time now. The 36-year-old Portuguese will be making her debut at the Frankfurt marathon. She has a personal best of 2:25:15 and took 16th place in the 2016 Olympic Games marathon in Rio.

(09/20/2019) ⚡AMP
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Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Frankfurt is an unexpectedly traditional and charming city, with half-timbered buildings huddled in its quaint medieval Altstadt (old city), cosy apple wine taverns serving hearty regional food, village-like neighbourhoods filled with outdoor cafes, boutiques and street art, and beautiful parks, gardens and riverside paths. The city's cache of museums is second in Germany only to Berlin’s, and its nightlife...

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Ethiopia’s Meskerem Assefa breaks course record at Frankfurt Marathon

Having finished on the lower steps of the podium at last year’s Mainova Frankfurt Marathon, Ethiopia’s Meskerem Assefa and Kelkile Gezahegn topped the podium at this year’s edition of the Frankfurt Marathon on Sunday. In a high-quality women’s race in which the first seven athletes finished inside 2:23, 33-year-old Assefa triumphed in 2:20:36 to take 25 seconds off the course record set by compatriot Meselech Melkamu in 2012. Ethiopian athletes swept the women’s podium as Haftamnesh Tesfay finished second in 2:20:47, also inside the previous course record, and Bedatu Hirpa placed third in 2:21:32. After a thrilling duel, Gezahegn won the men’s race by just four seconds from Kenya’s Martin Kosgey, clocking 2:06:37. Marathon debutant Alex Kibet was third in 2:07:09, while Mark Kiptoo took 48 seconds off the world M40 masters best with 2:07:50 for sixth place. Assefa wins battle of the Ethiopians, leading a group of 12 women reached the half-way point in 1:09:55, it was obvious that something special was possible. The group was on course for a sub-2:20 finish and although weather conditions were far from ideal, the leading women maintained the swift pace until late in the race. Their 30-kilometer split of 1:39:30 suggested a sub-2:20 time was still possible, but the group later faced a stiff headwind for several kilometers and their pace suffered slightly. At 35 kilometers there were still five women in the lead group: Ethiopians Assefa, Tesfay, Hirpa and Dera Dida as well as Kenya’s Betsy Saina, the Paris Marathon champion. Saina struggled in the closing stages and eventually finished eighth. Hirpa and Dida also dropped back, leaving Tesfay and Assefa to battle for victory. It was only in the final kilometer when Assefa, who finished third in Frankfurt last year, moved ahead and build a decisive lead before going on to win by 11 seconds in 2:20:36. “I did not really feel the wind,” said Assefa, a former 1500m specialist. “I prepared for Frankfurt for five months because I wanted to run 2:22 and win the race. Now I had to run a little bit quicker for first place.” (10/29/2018) ⚡AMP
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Haftamnesh Tesfay is expected to attack the 2:20 mark at Frankfurt Marathon

The 24-year-old Haftamnesh Tesfay made an impressive debut to her marathon career in Dubai this January with fifth place in 2:20:13, the fourth fastest time ever by a female marathon debutant.

That performance should whet the appetite for what she can do in Frankfurt. Two places behind Haftamnesh Tesfay in Dubai came another Ethiopian debutant, Dera Dida and her impressive showing also makes the 21-year-old’s appearance in Frankfurt highly anticipated following her 2:21:45 in the United Arab Emirates.

Tesfay and Dida were soon in action again and distinguished themselves at the prestigious Rome Ostia Half Marathon two months later. They dominated the Italian race, Tesfay winning in 69:02 and Dida runner-up, 19 seconds behind. Meskerem Assefa has had previous experience of the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon.

The 32-year-old from Ethiopia finished third in 2:24:38 last year. She made a solid improvement on her lifetime best in winning the Nagoya title in Japan in mid-March, running 2:21:45.

Another returning to the race beside the River Main is the American Sara Hall after her fifth place a year ago in 2:27:21. She improved further with 2:26:20 this spring for third place in Ottawa.

And no marathon would be complete without Kenyan presence with Nancy Kiprop, twice winner of the Vienna City Marathon title, running in Frankfurt. After winning Vienna last year she improved her best to 2:24:18 to retain the title this April.

(09/28/2018) ⚡AMP
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Kenyan´s Joan Chelimo Kelly is looking forward to running her personal best at Copenhagen Half Marathon

The road race, which is a IAAF Gold Label race, has attracted the finest half marathon distance runners in the world as they look forward to running their personal bests. Joan Chelimo, who is the fourth-fastest half marathon runner and was second in last year's edition, will be eyeing the top prize after vigorous training for the last two months. Chelimo, who is fresh from winning the Kisii Half Marathon, told Nation Sport that she will be expecting a competitive race. “My training has been good and my participation in Kisii Half Marathon was just to taste waters and I was able to do some fine tuning before the race,” said Chelimo. The athlete admitted that her competitors are good and she will be giving her best in Sunday's race. “The line up has very good athletes including the World Half Marathon champion Netsanet Guneta, but I believe in my training and my goal is to be on the podium,” said the athlete, who is coached by Erick Kogo. Chelimo will be competing against compatriots Edith Chelimo (65:52), Ruth Chepngetich (66:19), former World Half Marathon bronze medallist Mary Wacera Ngugi (66:29), Ethiopia's Meskerem Assefa (67:42), Ababel Yeshaneh Brihane (66:22 among others. (09/15/2018) ⚡AMP
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Sekine 3rd in Nagoya Women's Marathon Debut

Hanami Sekine took a step toward appearing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Sunday, when she led the Japanese runners at the Nagoya Women's Marathon, finishing third behind winner Meskerem Assefa of Ethiopia. In her marathon debut, Sekine clocked 2 hours, 23 minutes, 7 seconds, while Assefa cut the tape at Nagoya Dome at 2:21:45 for a personal best ahead of Kenya's Valary Jemeli, who was second in 2:22:48. By being one of the top three Japanese, Sekine booked a spot in next year's marathon Grand Championship, Japan's qualifying race for 2020. (03/12/2018) ⚡AMP
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