Tola Lema winning the 2013 Edinburgh Marathon (© Lesley Martin - organisers)
Ethiopia’s Tola Lema took the honours at the 2013 Edinburgh Marathon, an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race, crossing the line in Musselburgh in 2:15:32 on Sunday (26).
Running just his second Marathon, he was just six seconds outside the course record, which has been held by Kenya’s Zachary Kihara since 2005.
Lema was a comfortable winner of the race which had its early stages in Holyrood Park, the venue of the 2008 IAAF World Cross country Championships. He came home almost two minutes ahead of Kenya’s John Kales, who was second in 2:17:30, while Morocco’s Nourdine Jalal was third in 2:18:38.
He went head-to-head with Jalal for the opening 14 miles before moving away to carve out a decisive lead. At 22 miles, Lema looked on course to go under 2:15 and set a course record but he just slowed slightly in the final four miles.
Lema was the first Ethiopian winner of the race, which started in 2003, after 10 years of either Kenyan or British runners, coming home in front.
Kales, in his debut over the classic distance, came through strongly late in the race to overtake the faltering Jalal a couple of miles from the finish.
Andi Jones was the first British athlete home in fourth place with 2:19:29.
Almost two hours after Lema crossed the line, Australia’s Trent Morrow stopped the clock in 4:14:44 as part of his heroic mission to set a world record for the most marathons run in a calendar year.
Morrow, 39, is aiming to complete 160 marathons in 2013. He has already completed more than 50 and aims to average a minimum of three marathons a week for the rest of the year.
“In the last five days I've run marathons in New England, US and Springfield, Massachusetts, and now I'm here in Edinburgh,” said Morrow.
Kenya’s 2009 IAAF World Championships representative Risper Kimaiyo fulfilled her role as favourite and won the women’s race in 2:35:58.
Kimaiyo, 33, got the second Marathon victory of her career after also winning at the 2011 Salzburg Marathon. She can boast of a best of 2:29:16, when she finished fourth in the 2009 Rome Marathon, but didn’t need to be in that sort of form in the Scottish capital as she won by almost eight minutes.
“I was nervous before the start, but it felt easier than I thought. I got into the middle of the race and I was hoping someone would be with me but I had to run on my own for a long time," commented Kimaiyo.
More than 29,000 runners took part in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival which encompassed the Marathon and seven other races.
Phil Minshull and organisers for the IAAF