Tag Archives: Merima Mohammed

Kiprop eyes course record while Kimetto Targets strong finish in Vienna

Nancy Kiprop will return to the Vienna City Marathon on Sunday (22) in even better form than she was in when winning at the IAAF Gold Label road race 12 months ago.

Last year in unfavourable conditions the 38-year-old Kenyan clocked 2:24:20, the second-fastest women’s time in the history of the race and just 33 seconds shy of the course record set 18 years ago by Italy’s Maura Viceconte.

After winning in the Austrian capital, Kiprop went on to smash her half-marathon PB with 1:07:22 in Ust Nad Labem and finished second at the Honolulu Marathon. More recently, she won the Venloop Half Marathon in 1:07:49, smashing the course record by more than two minutes.

“It is my goal to run faster than last year and break the course record,” said Kiprop, who, after a career spanning almost 20 years, is not yet thinking about retirement. “The future looks promising; I feel I am getting younger, not older.”

Kiprop will likely need to be near to her best to win again in Vienna as she’ll face three runners with superior PBs.

With a best of 2:22:51, set when finishing fourth in Berlin last year, Helen Tola is the fastest in the field.

“I wouldn’t say that I am the favourite,” said the Ethiopian, “but I have trained well.”

Fellow Ethiopian Fatuma Sado also hopes to set a personal best. Earlier this year she won the Xiamen Marathon in 2:26:41, her fastest time since setting a PB of 2:24:16 in 2015.

Merima Mohammed’s PB of 2:23:06, set in 2010, dates back even further. The Bahraini athlete ran the Nagoya Marathon little more than a month ago and so might not be running on fresh legs in Vienna.

“Although it might get quite warm during the race, we still hope that the course record will finally be broken,” said race director Wolfgang Konrad.

 

Dennis Kimetto hasn’t finished a marathon since April 2016, but the world record-holder believes that his injury problems are finally behind him and he is looking forward with optimism to this weekend’s Vienna City Marathon.

The Kenyan ran 2:02:57 in Berlin four years ago to break the world record. Of the six marathons he has started since then, he has finished just two of them: a 2:05:50 run to finish third in London in 2015 and a 2:11:44 ninth-place finish, also in London, in 2016.

“After my first London Marathon in 2015, I was injured again and again for more than two years,” said Kimetto, who first injured his quadriceps muscle, then his groin and then his triceps.

“It was only in January this year that we found out why I got all these injuries,” he added. “The reason was a wrong treatment by the physiotherapist.”

Kimetto has since switched to using a physiotherapist in his hometown of Eldoret who also treats former marathon world record-holder Wilson Kipsang. “Since January I have no more pains and no more injuries,” he said. “I can train properly without any problems.”

With regard to possible time goals, Kimetto remained cautious during the press conference. A couple of weeks ago he indicated that he might go for the course record of 2:05:41 set by Ethiopia’s Getu Feleke back in 2014. But with warm weather conditions likely, he has reassessed his goal.

“If the weather is good then I want to run a good time,” he said. “I think 2:07 to 2:08 would be good.”

Last year’s runner-up Ishmael Bushendich and fellow Kenyan Nicholas Rotich could both produce strong performances on Sunday.

Bushendich has a personal best of 2:08:20, but the 26-year-old clocked 2:08:42 in Vienna last year, despite difficult weather conditions.

“Dennis Kimetto is here, so he is the favourite,” said Bushendich when asked if he intends to go one better than last year. “It is the first time I will compete against him.”

With an official best of 2:20:16, set in Toronto in 2016, Rotich is by no means the fastest in the field. In fact, most of his race appearances to date have been as a pacemaker. But having spent the past few years training alongside Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge and world half marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor, Rotich has decided it is time to make a name for himself.

“Training together with them, I made up my mind and decided to concentrate on the marathon instead of running half marathons and doing pacing jobs,” said Rotich, who was among the group of pacemakers for Kipchoge’s sub-two-hour project in Monza last year.

“We have done all the long runs and the speed work together,” added Rotich, who is hoping for a time in the region of 2:07 on Sunday. “Kipchoge is a great example, showing that hard work and discipline brings rewards.”

 

Aiyabei to battle Cheyech at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon

Sub-2:22 runners Valary Jemeli Aiyabei and Flomena Cheyech will face off at the Nagoya Women’s Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on Sunday (11).

The race, this year celebrating its 37th edition, is the largest women’s-only marathon in the world, with a capacity exceeding 22,000 runners. The main focus will however fall on the Kenyan pair who bring strong marathon momentum to the start line.

Aiyabei is the fastest in the field of 17 invitees, with a personal best of 2:20:53 recorded at the Berlin Marathon last September where she finished third. Prior to that appearance in the German capital, Aiyabei won four straight marathons: Eldoret, Barcelona, Valencia and Prague. Notably, the 26-year-old has also improved her lifetime best in each of her last four races, from Barcelona to Berlin. Her half marathon lifetime best of 1:07:50 also came in 2017 with her victory at the Prague Half Marathon.

Her main challenger is Cheyech, whose marathon best of 2:21:22 was set at the 2017 Paris Marathon where she too finished third. The 35-year-old followed up that performance with a fourth place finish at the IAAF World Championships London 2017. More recently Cheyech, the 2014 Commonwealth Games champion, won the Saitama Marathon in November and paced January’s Osaka Women’s Marathon through the midway point in 1:12:02. Cheyech’s half marathon best is 1:07:39, faster than Aiyabei’s.

The course record is 2:21:17 set by Eunice Kirwa last year.

Other contenders from abroad include Merima Mohammed of Bahrain, who has a marathon personal best of 2:23:06 from 2010 and Ethiopian Meskerem Assefa, who clocked 2:24:18 at the 2017 Rotterdam Marathon. Assefa ran two 2:24 marathons in 2017 so could be a threat to the favourites. Karolina Nadolska of Poland, with a personal best of 2:26:31, and Italy’s Sara Dossena with a lifetime best of 2:29:39 round out the international field.

For Japanese runners, the race also doubles as a qualifying race for both the 2018 Asian Games marathon team and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Marathon team trials. After three qualifying races for the latter, only three women have thus far qualified, quite a contrast with the men’s side in which 13 have already earned their spots for the Olympic team trials race. In Nagoya, up to six runners can earn qualification: the top three, if they finish under 2:28, as well as those who finish fourth to sixth provided they ran under 2:27.

The fastest Japanese in the field is Sairi Maeda who finished second in Nagoya in 2015 with 2:22:48. She was 13th at the 2015 World Championships. Other contenders include Rei Ohara with a best of 2:23:20 recorded in this race in 2016, Mao Kiyota who clocked 2:23:47 here last year, and Reia Iwade whose best of 2:24:38 came in Nagoya in 2016. Kiyota was 16th at last year’s World Championships.

Others vying for a top-six finish include Shiho Takechi, with a best of 2:25:29; Hanae Tanaka, who’s clocked 2:26:19; Michi Numata, with a lifetime best of 2:27:27; Miharu Shimokado, with a 2:27:54 personal best: Misaki Kato, who’s clocked 2:28:12; and Keiko Nogami, with 2:28:19. Among the ten Japanese runners invited, eight have set their marathon bests in Nagoya.

The most intrigue runner in the field is Hanami Sekine who will be making her marathon debut. The 22-year-old has track bests of 15:24.74 and 31:22.92 over 5000m and 10,000m, but has never raced farther than 11km. The fastest marathon debut time by a Japanese is 2:21:36 set by Yuka Ando in Nagoya last year.

Kiprop set to defend women’s Vienna Marathon title

Nancy Kiprop will return to defend her title at the Vienna City Marathon on 22 April, facing one of the strongest women’s fields ever assembled for this IAAF Gold Label road race.

This year’s race, its 35th edition, features four women who have run under 2:25, Kiprop among them with a 2:24:20 lifetime best.

The Kenyan prevailed in a thrilling battle last year, propelled by that personal best to win by five seconds. It was the closest women’s finish in the history of the event.

“Without the wind I think I could have run 2:22,“ Kiprop said. Despite the conditions, she ran the second fastest time ever recorded in the Austrian capital. Italy’s Maura Viceconte set the course record of 2:23:47 in 2000.

She may have to run even faster to defend her title. Kiprop celebrated her 38th birthday last year, but a 1:07:22 half marathon personal best in Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic, in September suggests there’s still plenty of speed left in her legs. Prior to that race, she’d never run under 1:10:00 over the distance.

Three other entrants have run faster marathons than Kiprop. Among them is Helen Tola who has illustrated very good form on two occasions during the past six months. In September, the 23-year-old Ethiopian lowered her marathon best to 2:22:51 in Berlin, finishing fourth. In February she clocked 1:07:47 at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon, a two-minute improvement over her previous best.

“I want to go for the course record,” Tola said. “With the help of pacemakers I hope to break it.”

Fatuma Sado is another runner from the Ethiopian ranks who should be considered among the favourites. The 26-year-old has a lifetime best of 2:24:16 and has several international marathon titles to her credit, including Warsaw in 2015, Beijing in 2014, Los Angeles in 2012 and Hamburg back in 2011. She also prevailed in her most recent appearance, winning January’s Xiamen Marathon in 2:26:41.

Others to watch include Bahrain’s Merima Mohammed, who boasts a 2:23:06 lifetime best set in 2010. Most recently, she was sixth in Frankfurt last October, clocking 2:27:49.