Report03 Nov 2019

Weekend road round-up: course records broken in Istanbul, Beijing and Hangzhou


Daniel Kibet wins the 2019 Istanbul Marathon (© Spor Istanbul)

Daniel Kibet had been recruited as a pacemaker for the Vodafone Istanbul Marathon, but the Kenyan was clearly inspired by the IAAF Gold Label road race’s motto – ‘Don’t stop, run!’ – and stayed on to win the event in a course record of 2:09:44 on Sunday (3).

Ethiopia’s Hirut Tibebu clocked Istanbul’s third-fastest winning time to take the women’s title in 2:23:40, just five seconds shy of her lifetime best.

One of three pacemakers for the lead pack, Kibet led a group of 14 men through 10km in 30:14 and all but one of those were still in the pack as they reached the half-way point in 1:04:12, well on schedule to break the course record of 2:09:57.

Defending champion and course record-holder Felix Kimutai and Turkey’s two-time European 10,000m champion Polat Kemboi Arikan were also in the lead group, but Arikan could only keep up the pace for another few kilometres before drifting away from the leaders at about 27km.

Kibet, meanwhile, still looked comfortable at the front and reached 30km – the point at which he was due to drop out – in 1:31:29. While Kibet continued to run, fellow pacemaker Moses Kemei exited the race then, leaving four other athletes – Peter Ndorobo, Yitayal Atnafu, Cosmas Birech and Kimutai – in contention.

Birech was the first of that quintet to fade with the remaining four hitting the 40km mark in 2:02:53, still inside course record pace. Kimutai was the next to fall behind, doing so quite quickly as the lead pack entered Gulhane Park with 2:06 on the clock.

Less than a minute later, Kibet put in a decisive surge and broke up the front trio. He forged on ahead and went on to win in 2:09:44, taking 13 seconds off Kimutai’s course record. Atnafu held on for second place in 2:09:57 with Ndorobo finishing third in 2:10:09, 41 seconds ahead of Kimutai.

Kibet’s winning time was some way short of the 2:06:49 PB he set in Seville earlier this year, but it comes just six weeks after his 2:06:52 clocking in Buenos Aires and is his first victory over the classic distance.

The course record of 2:18:35 – set last year by world champion Ruth Chepngetich – was never under threat in the women’s race, but it played out in similar fashion to the men’s contest with eventual winner Hirut Tibebu breaking away in the final few kilometres.

The opening pace was relatively swift with the lead group of seven women passing 10km in 33:50, which is 2:22:45 pace – a time that only one woman in the field, Visiline Jepkesho, had ever bettered.

But Jepkesho, a 2:21:37 performer at best who had clocked 2:22:40 to finish second in Istanbul in 2017, was already struggling to stay with the lead pack, perhaps having not yet fully recovered from contesting the World Championships marathon in Doha five weeks ago. Another of the pre-race favourites, Bahrain’s Merima Mohammed, was even further back and soon dropped out.

Tibebu, however, was always among the leaders and they passed through the half-way point in 1:11:38, putting them on pace for a finishing time just outside 2:23. The Ethiopian had four other women for company – compatriots Tigist Abayechew and Sifan Melaku plus Kenyan duo Maurine Chepkemoi and Angela Tanui – as she reached 30km in 1:41:53.

Melaku and Tanui started to drift back over the next few kilometres and were soon followed by Chepkemoi and Abayechew, leaving Tibebu out in front alone. The 24-year-old pressed on unopposed to win in 2:23:40.

Further back, Abayechew and Chepkemoi were locked in their own battle for the other two podium spots with Abayechew managing to hold off the Kenyan to take second place, 2:24:15 to Chepkemoi’s 2:24:16.

Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF

Kisorio sets course record in Beijing

Kenya’s Mathew Kipkoech Kisorio broke away in the final 10 kilometres of the Beijing Marathon to rewrite the men’s course record at the IAAF Gold Label road race on Sunday (3).

The 30-year-old clocked 2:07:06 to earn his second victory over the classic distance, knocking 10 seconds off the course record set six years ago by Ethiopia’s 2013 world bronze medallist Tadese Tola.

“It is my first time to run in Beijing and I am very happy to win and to break the course record,” said Kisorio, who set his PB of 2:04:53 last year in Valencia. “The weather was fantastic. I expect to come to Beijing again next year.”

Starting under cloudy and drizzling skies with the temperature ranging from 7-10C, the race was fast from the outset. Four runners – Bazu Worku of Ethiopia, Kisorio and his compatriots Emmanuel Rutto and Solomon Kirwa Yego – led the race to 25km.

Worku, a three-time winner of the Houston Marathon, was the first to fade away after 28km, while 36-year-old Rutto quit the title contest after 30km. After another two kilometres, Kisorio broke away from Yego to move into a sole lead.

The 2017 Daegu Marathon winner was well on track to break the course record at 35km, reached in 1:45:10, and kept pushing ahead before hit the line in 2:07:06. Yego trailed by more than two minutes to finish second in 2:09:45. Rutto clocked 2:10:15 to finish third.

Kenyan marathon runner Mathew Kisorio


Ethiopia’s Sutume Asefa, 24, ran alone for most of the women’s race and scored her first marathon title in 2:23:31, trimming 29 seconds off her PB set in Dubai three years ago.

China’s Li Zhixuan, the sixth-place finisher in Beijing last year, took second place in 2:29:06. Pre-race favourite Mulu Seboka, the fastest entrant in the field with a PB of 2:21:56, finished third in 2:29:09.

“I am satisfied with second place but the time is kind of slower than I expected,” said the 25-year-old Li, who set a PB of 2:26:15 in Nagoya eight months ago.

The last time a Chinese runner managed to earn a podium finish in the country’s most prestigious road race was in 2014, when Gong Lihua finished third in the women’s race.

Vincent Wu for the IAAF

Kimutai breaks course record in Hangzhou

Pre-race favourite Marius Kimutai lived up to expectations at the Hangzhou Marathon as he improved the course record by nearly half a minute at the IAAF Gold Label road race on Sunday (3).

The 26-year-old outraced Kenya’s Stanley Bett in the last kilometre of the race to become the first Bahraini winner in the 33-year history of the event, clocking 2:10:05.

It was Kimutai’s second victory in China this year, having won in Taiyuan in September with 2:09:43. It was also the sixth career marathon title for the 2:05:47 performer, following victories in Rotterdam, Danzhou, Ljubljana and Rennes since debuting over the distance in 2013.

The patient Kimutai bided his time in a crowded leading group in the early stages, passing 10km in 30:52 and 20km in 1:02:31.

The lead pack was cut to just five runners after the 30km mark and Bett waited for another five kilometres to make a move. Only Kimutai managed to keep up with Bett at 38km and the duo stayed together for three more kilometres before the in-form Bahraini pulled away at about 41km.

The 32-year-old Bett finish second with a personal best of 2:10:12, also finishing inside the course record of 2:10:33 set two years ago by Azmeraw Bekele of Ethiopia. Fellow Kenyan Douglas Kimeli, the runner-up in Hangzhou last year, finished third in 2:11:01, improving his PB by five seconds.

Agnes Jeruto Barsosio of Kenya also confirmed her favourite status in the women’s race, but in a more overwhelming way compared with Kimutai.

The 37-year-old, who owns a PB of 2:20:59 from the 2017 Paris Marathon, built up a comfortable lead soon after the gun and never met any real threat all the way to the finish.

Her winning mark of 2:25:20 was 10 seconds shy of the course record set by Ethiopia’s Hirut Tibebu last year.

Alice Jepkemboi Kimutai, winner of the 2018 Taiyuan Marathon and the 12th-place finisher in Hangzhou last year, clocked a lifetime best of 2:28:14 to take second place. Priscilla Chepatiy, winner of last year’s Wuxi Marathon, clocked 2:36:55 to complete a Kenyan podium sweep.

Vincent Wu for the IAAF

Mburugu and Yaremchuk win at Corsa dei Santi

Kenya’s James Mburugu and Ukraine’s Sofia Yaremchuk took the honours at the Corsa dei Santi, a 10km IAAF Bronze Label road race traditionally held on All Saints Day, 1 November, in Via della Conciliazione in Rome near St Peters Square in the Vatican City.

Mburugu crossed the finish line in 29:04, holding off compatriot Paul Tiongik by two seconds in the final sprint. Last year’s Campaccio cross-country winner James Kibet completed the all-Kenyan podium, finishing third in 29:54.

“It was a difficult race,” said Mburugu, a half-marathon specialist who set a PB of 1:01:35 two weeks ago in Cremona. “There were many runners who were capable of winning, but I kept my pace for most of the race and pushed in the final two kilometres. I wasn’t able to break away from Tiongik at 8km but I gave it everything on the final straight to win.”

Yaremchuk won the women’s race in a PB of 33:01, beating Kenya’s Ivyne Lagat (33:16) and defending champion Clementine Mukandanga (33:33). Sara Brogiato was the first Italian in sixth place with 34:21.

“I am very happy as I set a personal best in a tough race,” said Yaremchuk, who lives in Rome. “The course is fascinating but it’s very difficult. It was more important to beat strong athletes. Last week I wasn’t running well in training, so I have to thank my coach Fabio Martelli for his support.”

Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF