Tag: Women’s Marathon


     Surviving a hard fall at a water stop at 37k, where she tangled legs with her final challenger, countrywoman Sharon Cherop, Kenya’s Edna Kiplagat recovered quickly, then sped free to win the women’s World Championship Marathon yesterday in steamy Daegu, South Korea. Kiplagat’s gold was teamed with Cherop’s silver, while yet another Kenyan, Priscah Jeptoo, held off a fast closing Buzenesh Bekele of Ethiopia to complete an unprecedented sweep of the medal stand for the proud East African nation.

It was a true test of  patience, strength, and performance as by the 9 a.m. race start the temperature had already climbed to 77F, and the humidity clung like a rubber suit at 84%.  The 55 entrants from 23 nations ran accordingly, recording the slowest splits up to 30k in championship history.  Over the flat, three lap course touring downtown Daegu they hit half-way in 1:16:43, eight-seconds slower than during the oppressive 2007 World Champs in Osaka, Japan won by another Kenyan star Catherine Ndereba.

A large pack joined forces early on, but kept loosely congealed in the stultfying air. The first leader of note was Japan’s Azusa Nojiri, a 2:25:29 12th placer from April’s London Marathon.  Portugal’s Marisa Barros, sixth in Berlin’s World Champs 2009 hung nearby, while the favored Kenyans, Chinese, Japanese, and Ethiopians maintained close positioning spread along the wide Daegu boulevards.  American Tera Moody of Colorado Springs was the lone Yank in the lead contingent. She placed 28th at the Berlin World Champs in 2009, and posted a PR 2:30:53 in Chicago last fall.

With conditions so brutal it was no surprise that no surges emerged over the first two 15k loops. This would turn into what former men’s marathon world record holder, Khalid Khannouchi called “a long run followed by a short race.”  Daegu’s would be a slow dance, not a cha-cha. (more…)



     The World Championship and Olympic Marathons are different breeds than the annual major city marathons.  Weather is often the overriding factor, usually for the worst, as the summer heat and potential humidity call for a different approach to both preparation and racing. Secondly, without pacers the emphasis is completely on place rather than time, often making for a more intriquing competition. And thirdly, due to the disparity in potential payoffs compared to the fall marathons, and the looming Olympic Trials process, the World Championship Marathon is often not quite on par with its track event cousins.

Again in 2011 several of the foremost marathoners in the world, mostly on the men’s side, are not participating in the World Champs in order to maintain their six-figure appearance fees in the fall.  Therefore, if the IAAF is serious about being part of the World Marathon Majors circuit, they will have to come to terms with their $60,000, $30,000, $15,000, $10,000, $6000, $5000, $4000 purse structure. World Cup team money is an additional 1st $20,000; 2nd $15,000; 3rd $12,000; 4th $10,000; 5th $8000; 6th $6000.

While those figures might be acceptable to track and field athletes who can continue competing on the Samsung Diamond League Tour following Daegu, the purses (and corresponding lack of appearance fees) become a financial disincentive for the crème of the marathon crop whose opportunities are limited.

In the women’s marathon, scheduled for Saturday morning at 9 a.m. local time -Friday at 10 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Pacific in the U.S. – the two top performers of 2011, Mary Keitany of Kenya (2:19:19, 1st in London) and Liliya Shobukhova of Russia (2:20:15, 2nd in London) will not toe the line.  The American team, as well, is missing the top ranks of their marathon potential with Desi Davila opting out of Daegu altogether (she gave up her 5000m slot to Lauren Fleshman), while Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher will compete Saturday night in the 10,000 meters, as all three back-time their marathon peak for the Houston Olympic Trials in January 2012. (more…)