Category Archives: Just In

Tsegaye Mekonnen

Mekonnen, Feleke chase rare Ethiopian win in BMW Frankfurt Marathon

Kenyan runners have dominated the men’s race of the BMW Frankfurt Marathon for more than a decade. The past twelve champions of Germany’s oldest city marathon have all come from Kenya.

However this win streak will be tested to the limits and it could well be the Ethiopians who finally make the headlines again this autumn. 30 years ago Frankfurt’s sole Ethiopian male winner in the history of the race, Dereje Nedi, ran a course record of 2:11:18.

Back in 1984 this was a first-class performance and a record that stood for 13 years. Organisers today announced that two highly regarded Ethiopians will compete in the BMW Frankfurt Marathon on 26th October: Tsegaye Mekonnen and Getu Feleke. The women’s race will also feature a world-class runner from this country, Aberu Kebede.

Around 15,000 runners are expected to take part in the BMW Frankfurt Marathon with online race entry still available. The 33rd edition of the event is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race.

It was Tsegaye Mekonnen who stunned the world of road running early in the year, when he smashed the unofficial world junior record in his debut at the distance. Winning the highly competitive Dubai Marathon in January with a time of 2:04:32 he became the eleventh fastest marathon runner ever at the age of just 18.

The way he ran away from top-class contenders in the final stages of the race suggests that there is much more to come from Tsegaye Mekonnen.

“I could have run faster, but all of us in the leading group lost some energy during the first part of the race. This was because the pace changed so often. It seemed that the pacemaker was doing some kind of fartlek,” said Tsegaye Mekonnen who turned 19 in the meantime.

With a more even pace expected in Frankfurt he hopes to break the Ethiopian record of 2:03:59. The current national record holder is superstar Haile Gebrselassie, who Mekonnen describes as his idol.

With a sub 2:04 time targeted the course record of Wilson Kipsang, who ran 2:03:42 in 2011, would be within reach. The Kenyan is also the world record holder with 2:03:23 and the current world leader with 2:04:29 – just three seconds faster than Mekonnen’s time from Dubai.

Such fast times would not deter Getu Feleke. Coming back from health problems which stopped him for almost a year in 2013 he clocked an amazing course record of 2:05:41 in the Vienna City Marathon this April despite some stomach problems.

With this time the 27 year-old is the seventh fastest marathon runner in the world this year. Feleke’s PB stands at 2:04:50. But he hopes for much faster times.

“My dream is to break the world record. I train very hard for this,” said Feleke after his Vienna victory, where he smashed the course record by more than a minute.

Aberu Kebede will be among the favourites when she comes to Frankfurt. There was much more Ethiopian success in the women’s race in the past few years.

In 2012 Meselech Melkamu established the present course record of the BMW Frankfurt Marathon with 2:21:01. The aim is now to push that mark to below 2:20. Kebede has already come very close to that barrier of women’s marathon running.

Just 24 years old she is a two time Berlin Marathon champion and also won major marathons in Rotterdam and Tokyo. Kebede ran her personal best of 2:20:30 in Berlin in 2012 and clocked sub 2:25 times on eight occasions.

Information and online entry is available at: www.bmw-frankfurt-marathon.com. Note: Tsegaye Mekonnen winning the Dubai Marathon in January Photo by: www.photorun.net

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Correti Jepkoech

Birell Prague Grand Prix 10k Report

Geoffrey Ronoh upstages Geoffrey Mutai and breaks course record in Birell  wins women’s title

Geoffrey Ronoh is fast making a reputation as the man to challenge and beat the cream of the distance running world.

The Kenyan countered every move that his compatriot Geoffrey Mutai made to win the Birell Prague Grand Prix in warm, humid conditions on Saturday evening, smashing the course record with 27:28, the second fastest time in the world this year.

Mutai, preparing for the defence of his New York Marathon title in early November, finished four seconds behind in 27:32 and Nicholas Bor was third in 27:38. It was a high quality race in general with six men breaking 28 minutes.

Coretti Jepkoech also ran a course record and a personal best to win the women’s title in 31:05, the second fastest time in the world this year. Her fellow Kenyan Esther Chemtai finished a distant second in 31:51 and Flomena Chepchirchir was third in 32:30, all fine runs in testing conditions.

The Birell Prague Grand Prix is an IAAF Gold Label race, the highest category in road racing.

When the mayor of Prague, Tomas Hudecek, fired the starting gun at 7.30pm to set 5,500 runners on their way from Wenceslas Square, Geoffrey Mutai and Geoffrey Ronoh wasted little time in transforming the race into their own duel. Mutai, the world’s fastest marathon runner, pushed the pace, looking lighter in his stride than the tall Ronoh.

The temperature gauge showed 21 degrees Celsius with humidity at 85 percent but the pair maintained the intense pace, Mutai taking the lead with Ronoh in his tracks as 5 km was passed in 13:19, inside world record pace. Mutai sensed this might take its toll.

“Yes, it was good but the humidity was going up and that made it difficult so when I saw the time, I slowed a little, then we pushed again.”

Ronoh, revealing perhaps inexperience in only his fourth international race, admitted he wasn’t aware that they were on world record schedule.

“It didn’t feel tough, it was excellent pace. Yes, it was humid but I train at midday so am used to it and also to counter-attack.”

His cool calculation worked a treat with 22 minutes on the clock. For the first time the orange vest of Ronoh was in front by a couple of metres and the gap grew as they charged uphill across one of Prague’s many bridges.

The advantage was three seconds and Mutai never looked like closing the deficit.

Ronoh slowed a fraction to celebrate in the home straight but then glanced round and realised that Mutai was still coming. A step on the accelerator and he was across the line, winning his first official 10k in a highly impressive 27:28, the second fastest time in the world this year and a course record by six seconds.

What fresh fields can Geoffrey Ronoh conquer? In response, he gave a diplomatic answer which still served as a warning to every marathon contender. “I’ll shall talk with my manager and follow his advice. I believe that with good training I can beat anyone in any road race and the marathon.”

Running 27:32 for second place was still a fine run in the light of Geoffrey Mutai’s marathon ambitions in New York. Half-an-hour after crossing the line, the sweat was still dripping off his forehead as he reflected.

“To run this time gives me confidence that my training is going well. It’s good to have such a strong athlete to push you.”

Correti Jepkoech didn’t need much pressure from her rivals after she drew away from fellow Kenyan Esther Chemtai over the second half. The 20-year-old ran with impressive style, never faltering as she led the entire race to win in 31:05.

“I had been training well and knew my form was good.”

That brief assessment was spot on. Jepkoech finished 55 seconds inside the course record from the inaugural women’s race last year, set by her stablemate Josephine Chepkoech. The latter went on to win the Usti nad Labem Half Marathon for good measure.

The duo’s manager recommended Correti to the elite race organiser, Jana Moberly, for this year. The next race in the RunCzech series is next weekend, September 14, so history might well be pointing to a double success if Jepkoech slips on her racing shoes next Sunday.

Results with bib numbers:

Men:
1. Geoffrey Ronoh KEN / 10 27:28 pb, course record
2. Geoffrey Mutai KEN / 1 27:32
3. Nicholas Bor KEN / 9 27:38 pb
4. Simon Cheprot KEN / 7 27:41 pb
5. Richard Mengich KEN / 25 27:48
6. Kenneth Kipkemoi KEN / 5 27:56
7. Geoffrey Kusuro KEN / 16 28:13
8 Polat Kemboi Arikan TUR / 3 28:30

Women:
1. Correti Jepkoech KEN / F3 31:05 pb, course record
2. Esther Chemtai KEN / F2 31:51
3. Flomena Chepchirchir KEN / F16 32:30
4. Helah Kiprop KEN / F1 32:33
5. Lucy Liavoga KEN / F9 33:12 pb
6. Natalya Popkova RUS / F5 33:25
7. Jen Rhines USA / F17 33:31

More information about the Birell Prague Grand Prix can be found online: www.runczech.com

Please Note: Photos by Birell Prague Grand Prix.

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kirani_James

Grenadian Kirani James wins Commonwealth Games 400m title with record run

GLASGOW (SportingAlert) — Grenadian star sprinter Kirani James defeated a very strong field to win the men’s 400m at the Commonwealth Games at Hampden Park in Glasgow on Wednesday night.

The Olympic champion, who entered the Commonwealth Games as the overwhelming favourite, ran 44.25 seconds to also shattered the meeting record of 44.52secs, which was set in 1998 by Iwan Thomas of Wales.

James took control of the race from the beginning and then made another move at the 200m mark as he heads into the home straight.

The 21-year-old was forced to find another gear in the closing metres though, after he was challenged by Wayde Van Niekerk of South Africa, who ran brilliantly well for the silver medal.

“The race wasn’t as fast as it looked but Kirani James took real charge of things,” said former sprinter and 400m world record holder Michael Johnson on BBC One.

“It was a great effort from Wayde van Niekerek who ran the 200m prelims this morning. Maybe if he hadn’t have done that he could have got that bit closer to James and pushed him all the way to the line.

Van Niekerk was second in 44.68 and it was a brave effort from the South African sprinter.

“A really brave effort from Wayde van Niekerk who gave Kirani James a run for his money but the man from Grenada answered all the questions he was asked. He’s on top of the world again,” BBC Sport athletics commentator Steve Cram said.

London Olympic Games bronze medal winner Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago was third in 44.78, with England’s Martyn Rooney finishing fourth in 45.15.

Veteran Chris Brown of the Bahamas, who was one of the runners on the list of medal contenders, did not start in the final.

Blessing

Okagbare and Bailey-Cole are Commonwealth Games 100m champions

GLASGOW (SportingAlert) — Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria and Jamaica’s Kemar Bailey-Cole won the men’s and women’s 100m titles at the Commonwealth Games at Hampden Park on Monday.

Okagbare, who started the day as the 1/4 favourite to win the gold medal, showed her class against a very strong field on her way to clocking a Commonwealth Games record of 10.85 seconds for the title.

“I am so excited right now! A new season’s best and win. I’m happy I was able to put on a show,” Okagbare told BBC Sport.

“I executed it and stayed patient like my coach said I should and after 70 metres it just felt easy!

The Nigerian is the heavy favourite win the 200m and the long jump and she is looking forward to competing in those as well.

“I still have the 200m and the long jump and I’m looking forward to both of those events now.”

Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown collected the silver medal in 11.03secs, with countrywoman Kerron Stewart taking the bronze in 11.07.

England’s Asha Phillip took fourth place, and although she missed out at winning a medal, the sprinter was happy with her new personal best time of 11.18.

She told BBC Sport after the race: “Fourth is always the first loser as people say, but I’m so proud of myself.

“I wanted a medal but it’s my first Commonwealth Games and I’ve loved the experience. I am going to take it on the chin and there’s more to come from me.”

Meanwhile, on the men’s side, Bailey-Cole used a strong finish to secure the gold medal in 10.00seconds, while his teammate and world record holder Usain Bolt watched.

“It means a lot because it’s my first individual medal at a Championship,” Bailey-Cole speaking to BBC Radio 5. “It’s just the start of the individual medals.

“The aim was to come out here and win and I did just that. I said to myself ‘these guys can’t beat me’”.

The Jamaican sped home ahead of England’s Adam Gemili, who clocked 10.10 seconds, while Jamaican champion Nickel Ashmeade, the 4/1 favourite at the start of the day, won the bronze in 10.12.

“This is my first senior medal. I’m speechless,” Gemili told BBC Sport after winning the silver medal. “There’s so much prepration that goes into running 10 seconds – my team put a lot of work in behind the scenes. I can’t believe it, this is my first time representing England and I’m so happy.

“This is something I’m never going to forget. It’s not about times today, it’s positions because the times will come.

“Medals are what count and this is a stepping stone now for the Europeans, Worlds and then Rio in 2016.”

Commonwealth Games men’s 100m heats recap

GLASGOW (SportingAlert) — Track and field action got underway at the Commonwealth Games with the men’s 100 metres heats at Hampden Park Stadium on Sunday.

Watch Commonwealth Games Day Five Live Streaming on Youtube

Jamaica’s Kemar Bailey-Cole looked easy when winning his heat, as he came back from a slow start to win the first heat of the men’s 100m in 10.16 seconds. Bailey-Cole, who trains with Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, beat Barbados’ Ramon Gittens and he was second in 10.34.

Bailey-Cole, meanwhile, was also not buying into the hype of how fast the track really is.

“The track is just average,” the Jamaican sprinter told BBC One in an interview.

Another Jamaican, Jason Livermore, won the second heat just as easily in 10.26secs, beating Saint Kitts and Nevis’ Jason Rogers, who posted 10.39.

Jamaican champion Nickel Ashmeade won his heat as well – taking first place in a very relaxed 10.40secs, after easing down some 40metres away from the finishing line.

Elsewhere, Trinidad and Tobago’s Richard Thompson, the fastest man in the Commonwealth this year, finished third in his heat, but still managed to earn a spot in the semi-finals.

After running 10.33 seconds to make it as one of the fastest losers, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist revealed that he was guilty of underestimating his competitors. Nigerian Mark Jelks, a former USA sprinter, won the heat in 10.28, with Warren Fraser from the Bahamas also beating Thompson.

“I just underestimated the runners,” he said to BBC One.

He, however, added: “I feel good and I am ready to run fast tomorrow. It’s about running your rounds using less energy because you want to run fast in the finals.

Adam Gemili (10.15) of England was the fastest qualifier after he dominated his heat in the cool conditions.

“To come out to hear that cheer makes you want to push that bit harder and do well so I am truly grateful for the reception,” Gemili told BBC One.
“It’s onto the semi-finals and I’m looking forward to it.”

Also going fast in the early rounds was Keston Bledman of Trinidad and Tobago, who won the ninth and final heat in 10.16.

Other heat winners on Sunday were Kemar Hyman (10.20) from the Cayman Islands, Antigua and Bermuda’s Daniel Bailey (10.30), Simbine Akani (10.32) of South Africa.

American former sprinter and BBC Sport athletics expert Michael Johnson, believes with the likes of Asafa Powell, Blake and Bolt not running in Glasgow, the Commonwealth Games men’s 100m is wide open.

“It’s a fantastic venue. I think that the 100m is wide open because some of the big names aren’t here, so we should see some great competition,” said Johnson.

“The Commonwealth Games is always an opportunity for young, up-and-coming athletes, so it should be exciting.”

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