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Articles tagged #Tirfi Tsegaye
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LEMA BREAKS COURSE RECORD IN HENGSHUI

Ethiopia’s Marta Lema Megra took more than a minute off the course record to secure a convincing victory at the Hengshui Lake International Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on Sunday (22).

The 28-year-old Lema, who set a PB of 2:22:35 last year in Toronto, enjoyed a comfortable sole lead in the latter half of the race and wrapped up her first victory in China in 2:24:21.

It was Lema’s second appearance in Hengshui; she finished second in 2:25:59 four years ago behind Kenya’s Agnes Kiprop. And Kiprop’s winning mark of 2:25:43 had stood as the course record until Megra renewed it by 1:22.

Lema’s compatriot Askale Alemayehu trimmed nearly one-and-a-half minutes off her career best to finish second in 2:27:32. Her previous PB of 2:29:01 was set three years ago in Shanghai.

Olympian Tirfi Tsegaye finished third in 2:28:30 to complete an Ethiopian sweep of the podium. The 34-year-old, who won the 2016 Dubai Marathon in 2:19:41 and finished fourth at the Olympic Games later that year, was contesting her first marathon in three years having taken a maternity break.

As the fastest entrant in the men’s field, Aychew Bantie of Ethiopia led from gun to finish to claim the victory in 2:08:51.

A leading group of 12 runners paced the race to 10km in 30:37. After passing the 20km water tables in 1:00:10, the group started to wither rapidly as eight runners, including 2015 Hengshui winner Ernest Ngeno of Kenya, dropped off one after another.

Only four men were left in the leading pack after 25km and Ethiopia’s Teshome Girma quit the contest for the title before 40km.

The leading trio – Bantie, Bonsa Dida of Ethiopia and Kenya’s Joel Kemboi Kimurer – remained together until Bantie launched his powerful charge for the win with about 400 metres to go.

Bantie’s winning mark was a couple of minutes shy of the 2:06:23 PB he set four months ago in Prague, but it was his first ever marathon victory.

Dida, 24, bettered 2:10 for the first time as he finished second in 2:09:04. Kimurer, a 2:07:48 performer, trailed one more second behind to take the third place.

(09/22/2019) ⚡AMP
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Hengshui lake International Marathon

Hengshui lake International Marathon

The Hengshui Lake international Marathon, held in September every year, is considered one of China’s top sports and tourism events. The race takes competitors around the Northern Chinese city’s scenic Hengshui Lake. It attracts runners and spectators from throughout China and abroad. Nearly 16,000 runners participated in one of the three race categories - the Full Marathon, the Half Marathon...

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Former winners Agnes Kiprop and Aberu Mekuria will both return to the Chinese city of Hengshui to compete for the women’s title at the Hengshui Lake International Marathon

The 36-year-old Ethiopian, Mekuria clocked a course record of 2:26:07, her personal best time at that time, to win in 2013. Two years later Kenyan, Kiprop claimed the tile in 2:25:43, which has stood as the course record until now.

However, the 39-year-old Kenyan, whose PB of 2:23:54 was set in Frankfurt back in 2011, hasn’t come close to 2:26 since her 2015 Hengshui victory. She clocked 2:29:04 to finish fourth at the Dongying Yellow River Marathon in April, which was her fastest time in more than four years.

Mekuria, on the contrary, has been enjoying a second wind in her decade-long career, achieving a PB of 2:24:30 to break the course record at the 2019 Chongqing International Marathon. It will be her third race in Hengshui as she also clocked 2:32:53 to finish eighth in 2015.

The organizers have assembled the deepest women’s field in the eight-year history of the race, as other race favorites also include Marta Megra of Ethiopia, who set her PB of 2:22:35 last year in Toronto, as well as her compatriot Tirfi Tsegaye, the fastest woman toeing the line with a PB of 2:19:41 from her massive victory in Dubai in 2016.

The men’s field also contains a former champion. 24-year-old Ernest Ngeno of Kenya took the top honors in Hengshui four years ago with a winning mark of 2:07:57, which was his PB at the time and 12 seconds shy of the course record set by Markos Geneti in 2014.

Last year, he improved his PB to 2:06:41 when finishing third in Paris, which makes him the second-fastest entrant in the field.

Although Ngeno is keen to end a three-year title drought following his victory in Milan in 2016, he could face a serious threat from Aychew Bantie.

The rising Ethiopian, who turned 24 this month, trimmed more than two minutes off his career best to finish third at the Prague Marathon in 2:06:23 four months ago and is still pursuing his first title since debuting over the classic distance in 2017.

Bantie’s compatriot Fikadu Kebede, who turns 33 on Friday, also arrives in Hengshui in high spirits. He set a PB of 2:08:27 in Dubai in January and came close to that mark three months later with a second-place finish in Dongying in 2:09:38.

The men’s field also includes Kenyan duo Dominic Ruto and Ismael Boshendich Chemtan

(09/21/2019) ⚡AMP
by Vicent Wu
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Hengshui lake International Marathon

Hengshui lake International Marathon

The Hengshui Lake international Marathon, held in September every year, is considered one of China’s top sports and tourism events. The race takes competitors around the Northern Chinese city’s scenic Hengshui Lake. It attracts runners and spectators from throughout China and abroad. Nearly 16,000 runners participated in one of the three race categories - the Full Marathon, the Half Marathon...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not surprisingly Oljira is also targeting victory in Toronto.

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

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

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

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

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

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Peres Jepchirchir and Mohammed Ziani, the winners in 2016, headline the fields for Saturday night’s Ottawa 10km

The elite women are given 3:40 head start over the elite men and the first across the line earns an extra CDN$2,000 in addition to the CDN$5,000 winner’s purse. It was Jepchirchir who held off Ziani in 2016.

Jepchirchir, who held off Ziani in 2016, is making her comeback since giving birth to a baby boy at the tail end of 2017. Whether she can find the form that carried her to a PB of 30:55 for the distance in 2015 as well as capture the 2016 world half marathon title is intriguing, but she started 2019 strongly with a 1:07:36 clocking at the Ras Al-Khaimah Half Marathon.

The expected competition will likely come from her compatriot Paskalia Kipkoech, the 2012 world half marathon bronze medallist who has a 10km PB of 30:57, and 20-year-old Ethiopian Gete Alemayehu, who ran 31:12 to win the Corrida Pédestre Internationale de Houilles in France last December.

The heat and humidity at the 2016 Ottawa 10k left Jepchirchir shattered at the finish and requiring brief medical attention. But the forecast calls for rain this year, possibly even a thunderstorm.

Ziani, who finished fourth last year, will be joined by compatriot Mohamed El Aaraby who ran 27:58 at the Valencia 10k earlier this year.

Kenya’s Moses Kibet, a former steeplechaser, will challenge the two Moroccans no doubt. Last June he won the La Corrida de Langueux in a personal best of 28:26, while more recently he finished second at the Jianzhen International Half Marathon in China in a PB of 59:58.

Major flooding in recent weeks along the Ottawa River has meant that the Ottawa Marathon course has undergone substantial changes. Still, the incoming international athletes are aware that the women’s (Gelete Burka 2:22:13 2018) and men’s race records (Yemane Tsegay 2:06:54 2014) are going to be tough to beat.

Pre-race favorite Tirfi Tsegaye was forced to withdraw earlier this week after picking up a hamstring injury, but her absence leaves an evenly matched group tasked with extending Ethiopia’s winning streak to 10 women’s marathon titles in Ottawa.

Shuko Gemeno, Abeba Gebremeskel, Bethelhem Moges and Tigist Girma are all capable of victory. The latter keeps improving in leaps and bounds though her personal best is still ‘just’ 2:26:44. The winner will earn CDN$30,000.

(05/25/2019) ⚡AMP
by IAAF
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Ottawa 10K

Ottawa 10K

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

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Tirfi Tsegaye was ranked amongst the world’s greatest marathoners is now returning from maternity leave to run the Ottawa Marathon

Three years ago, and prior to giving birth to a baby boy, Tirfi Tsegaye was ranked amongst the world’s greatest marathoners with some incredible performances. Now, after gradually returning to training, the Ethiopian Olympic runner makes her first start at the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon, May 26th since the arrival of young Tilember Miresa.

Tsegaye, 34, ran the world-leading time of 2:19:41 in January 2016 in Dubai – her personal best time – then three months later finished 2nd in the Boston Marathon. At the Rio Olympics, she missed the podium by 17 seconds finishing 4th in 2:24:47. It was quite a year, indeed.

As if these credentials aren’t impressive enough, consider she also won the both the Tokyo and Berlin Marathons in 2014 and finished 3rd in London. Few athletes have made the podium in one World Marathon Major let alone four.

“Training is going good,” Tsegaye says from her home in Addis Ababa. “But, I’m not like how I was before. It’s been a little different for me coming back but still training. I’ve missed it a lot. I’ve even missed the training more than the actual competitions. I’m pretty excited about the Ottawa marathon.”

Under coach Gemedu Dedefo she has slowly regained her form and counts such stalwarts as Shure Demise, a two-time Toronto winner, and Alia Mohammed, 2018 Ottawa 10k champion amongst her training partners.

During her maternity leave, she split with her husband and is combining motherhood and marathon training, which would cause concern but for the fact she is such a disciplined and highly experienced athlete.

“It’s tough but I manage,” she admits. “I have a nanny and she helps me out with the baby and other errands. When I come back from training I get exhausted, so, it’s really nice to have some help around the house.

“Pregnancy takes a lot from you and the time I had off was really therapeutic. I feel like I’ve recovered enough for now.”

Tirfi grew up in the town of Bekoji, 220 kilometres south of the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. Bekoji was immortalized in a documentary “Town of Runners” as an unusually large number of Olympic champions have ‘graduated’ from the training of local coach Sentayehu Eshetu. These include Kenenisa Bekele, Tirunesh Dibaba and Derartu Tulu.

“Growing up in Bekoji was an inspiration in itself,” she admits. “Tulu was a major inspiration for me since we were one of the same. My coach was Sentayehu Eshetu at the time when I was in Bekoji. I moved to Addis in 2008.”

“Yeah, Derartu, Haile (Gebrselassie), Kenenisa and others have inspired me to try and push myself and be my best. I fell in love with their work and dedication when I saw them on television.”

As her impressive curriculum vitae suggests, Tirfi places high expectations upon herself even for this comeback race. Although predicting marathon performances is a difficult proposition at the best of times, it is unlikely she, or coach Gemedu, would confirm her entry unless she was going to be ready. Still, there is that element of the unknown.

Her Italian manager, Gianni DeMadonna, has made her aware that the course record of 2:22:17 was set by her compatriot Gelete Burka last year but for the moment that is secondary to having a successful return.  Victory would bring her $30,000 CDN and the course record is worth an additional $10,000 CDN. That is also a significant factor.

“Ottawa is a big deal for me now because I need to get back to my winning form,” she stresses. “I have big expectations for Ottawa and I will try and do my level best.

“I figure it’s going to be a little hard for me to beat the record set by Gelete last year. But, I think if I try my best I believe that it is beatable. I’m not familiar with the course or the climate. And I have not yet talked with any other athletes about the Ottawa race. But, soon I hope.”

Should she cross the finish line first she would be the tenth consecutive Ethiopian woman to emerge triumphant in this IAAF Gold Label race. There are, without a doubt, plenty of resources then for her to approach when it comes time to seeking advice on how to run the Ottawa course.

(05/09/2019) ⚡AMP
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Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

Welcome to Canada’s largest and fastest marathon: the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon. As one of two IAAF Gold Label marathon events in Canada, the race attracts Canada’s largest marathon field (7,000 participants) as well as a world-class contingent of elite athletes every year. Featuring the beautiful scenery of Canada’s capital, the top-notch organization of an IAAF event, the atmosphere of...

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