Tag Archives: Worknesh Degefa

Boston Marathon returns with fewer runners, more masks

In addition to a medal, some water and maybe a banana, volunteers will be handing out masks to the Boston Marathon finishers as they leave the socially distanced course and disperse into the city’s bustling Back Bay.

With an indoor mask mandate in Boston, race organizers have ordered 200,000 of them for their staff, volunteers and runners who didn’t slide them onto their arms or into their pockets when they got off the bus in Hopkinton and took off for Copley Square.

That’s just one of the changes when the first-ever fall Boston Marathon hits the streets Monday following the cancellation of the 2020 race and a six-month delay in ’21.

“It’s been more than 900 days since we last ran together here,” Boston Athletic Association President Tom Grilk said at a safety briefing on Thursday. “While the streets remain the same, pretty much everything else is different.”

The biggest changes are a field that shrank by more than a third — a total of 18,252 people are expected — and a new, rolling start: Instead of an athlete’s village in Hopkinton, where runners typically stretch and grab some last-minute calories and liquids, and corrals where they wait for the gun, they get off the bus and go.

Pierre d’Hemecourt, one of the race’s medical directors, said the result should be more space at the start and on the course.

“There will be less milling around in Hopkinton. Use the bathroom, get water, immediately start running,” he said. “The race itself will be much more protected because the athlete itself will have much more room to social distance.”

Originally scheduled for April 2020, the 125th edition of the Boston Marathon was first postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, then canceled for the year – the first time since 1897 that no version of the race has been run. The 2021 race was postponed from April for six months to give the pandemic more time to abate.

Now, 30 months after Lawrence Cherono and Worknesh Degefa broke the tape on Boylston Street, the world’s most prestigious road race is back.

At the safety briefing – usually held indoors but moved outside this year to the plaza in front of the historic Trinity Church – d’Hemecourt said a COVID medical advisory panel began meeting in August 2020 when it wasn’t clear if the event would return in its usual April slot, move to the fall or be canceled for a second straight year.

Their plan started with making sure everyone participating in the race is either vaccinated or tests negative for the coronavirus. Runners will be required to stop by a tent to verify their vaccine status; unvaccinated runners can take a rapid test that would allow them to pick up their bib number.

Masks will be worn indoors, including on the buses to the starting line. D’Hemecourt said about 95% of the runners are vaccinated, and everyone working in the medical tent will be.

The finish line medical tent will also be stocked with extra equipment to avoid the need to transfer some cases to already overburdened local hospitals.

“We’re doing special things like extra crutches so somebody with a stress fracture doesn’t need to be sent to the emergency room,” d’Hemecourt said. “They can be evaluated … given crutches and sent on their way.”

The marathon’s first fall race is also expected to luck out on the weather, with forecasts of temperatures in the 50s and 60s and a chance of rain in the morning.

“We’re going to have a beautiful date, so that helps,” said Samantha Phillips, the director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. “Sometimes in April the weather can be a bit unpredictable.”

The unexpected unpredictability for public safety officials: the possibility of a Red Sox playoff game about a mile away. The ballclub would meet the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 4 of the AL Division Series, unless one of the teams sweeps.

“It’s very much on our radar that we could have these co-occurring wonderful events,” Phillips said.

Although COVID-19 was the main topic at the news conference, authorities also promised they remain vigilant at the site of the 2013 terrorist bombing. Participants and spectators passing through checkpoints will be prohibited from bringing in not just weapons, flammable liquids and backpacks, but also large blankets and bulky costumes.

Drones are also banned.

“As in past years, the public should expect to see a significant law enforcement presence along the route,” Phillips said. “We want to encourage spectators to attend and cheer on the marathon participants. The weather looks like it will be beautiful. But remain aware of your surroundings.”

Edna Kiplagat leads the elite field at Boston Marathon

The 2017 Boston marathon winner Edna Kiplagat from Kenya who is now based in United States will lead the women elite field at the 125th Boston Marathon that will be held from Hopkinton to Boston on Monday, October 11 in Boston.

This will be the first-ever fall edition of the Boston Marathon which will feature more than 140 elite athletes across all divisions including dozens of Americans, the Boston Athletic Association and John Hancock Financial jointly announced today.

The Organizers of the world’s oldest marathon, which could not be held as an in-person event in 2020 due to the pandemic and the local authorities, have permitted a field of 20,000 runners, and up to 70,000 more will run a virtual edition of the race. An $876,500 prize money purse will be on offer, the second largest in the history of the race.

Tom Grilk who is the B.A.A. president and CEO said, “In October, many of the world’s best athletes will look to etch their names in the history books by winning the Boston Marathon, We very much look forward to October’s competition, bringing together winners from more than one hundred global marathons. The B.A.A. is eager to continue the tradition of athletic excellence as we return to the roads leading to Boston.”

As usual the elite field in the open divisions is dominated by Africans. On the women’s side, eight international athletes have run sub-2:22 during their careers led by Ethiopia’s Yebrgual Melese (2:19:36), Mare Dibaba (2:19:52), Workenesh Edesa (2:20:24), Sutume Kebede (2:20:30), and Sutume Kebede (2:20:30). The top Kenyans are Kiplagat, the 2017 women’s race champion (2:19:50), and Helah Kiprop (2:21:27). Caroline Chepkoech, a former Kenyan who now runs for Kazakhstan, is making her debut.

The top American women are Jordan Hasay (2:20:57), Des Linden (2:22:38), and Molly Huddle (2:26:33). Hasay made her marathon debut at Boston in 2017, finishing third in 2:23:00. Linden has run Boston seven times and won the wet, cold and windy edition in 2018 (she was also second in 2011). Like Linden, Huddle ran Boston in 2018 and finished 13th. Ten of the 27 elite women who started that year dropped out.

The two defending champions, Kenya’s Lawrence Cherono and Ethiopia’s Worknesh Degefa, are not in this year’s elite field.

 OPEN DIVISIONS
 International Women:

Yebrgual Melese   (ETH), 2:19:36

Edna Kiplagat        (KEN), 2:19:50

Mare Dibaba          (ETH), 2:19:52

Workenesh Edesa (ETH), 2:20:24

Sutume Kebede    (ETH),  2:20:30

Besu Sado             (ETH), 2:21:03

Helah Kiprop         (KEN), 2:21:27

Bedatu Hirpa         (ETH), 2:21:32

Atsede Baysa        (ETH), 2:22:03

Diana Chemtai      (KEN), 2:22:06

Biruktayit Eshetu   (ETH), 2:22:40

Tigist Abayechew  (ETH), 2:22:45

Purity Changwony (KEN), 2:22:46

Caroline Rotich          (KEN), 2:23:22

Mary Ngugi                (KEN), 2:27:36

Shiho Kaneshige       (JPN),  2:28:51

Netsanet Gudeta        (ETH), 2:29:15

Kellys Arias                (COL), 2:29:36

Tish Jones                 (GBR), 2:31:00

Brittany Moran        (CAN), 2:36:22

Marie-Ange Brumelot (FRA), 2:36:23

Caroline Chepkoech    (KAZ), Debut (1:05:07 Half)

Monicah Ngige             (KEN), Debut (1:07:29 Half)

 

 

 

 

Erick Kiptanui and Caroline Kipkirui Lead Strong Delhi Half Marathon Fields

Organisers have announced the elite fields for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, whose 14th edition is set for 21 October.

Leading the list is this year’s fastest man over the distance, Eric Kiptanui. The Kenyan has already notched up two impressive half marathon victories in 2018, winning the high-quality Lisbon and Berlin races earlier in the year, coming home in the German capital in a world-leading 58:42 to move up to number four on the world all-time list.

Kiptanui will be accompanied on his first trip to India by his training partner Daniel Kipchumba, who paced Kiptanui to 15 kilometres in Berlin. A few weeks later, Kipchumba stood on top of the podium himself after a win at the Verbania half marathon in Italy in 59:06.

Two-time TCS World 10K winner Alex Korio – whose best of 58:51 was set in the 2017 Copenhagen Half Marathon – has been a regular participant in Procam International events in recent years and has run in Delhi twice in the past, last in 2015, but has never faced either of his two compatriots in battle so the tactics between the three Kenyans will be fascinating to watch.

Representing Ethiopia will be two men who are better known as marathon runners but who can still boast of outstanding half marathon credentials.

Leul Gebresilase was second in the Dubai Marathon at the start of the year in 2:04:02 while Feyisa Lilesa won a memorable silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, their half marathon bests are 59:18 and 59:22 respectively.

Adding to the considerable global interest in the race, USA’s Leonard Korir and New Zealand’s Zane Robertson are also in the men’s elite field. Korir just missed the North and Central American record of 59:43 when he ran his personal best of 59:52 at this race last year while Robertson holds the Oceania area record with 59:47.

All the runners will have in mind the very good course records in Delhi.

The men’s mark is 59:06 and was set by Ethiopia’s Guye Adola in 2014 while the women’s course record has been standing since 2009 and belongs to Kenya’s Mary Keitany at 1:06:54.

The two fastest women in the ADHM elite field, Kenya’s Caroline Kipkirui and Ethiopia’s 2016 ADHM winner Worknesh Degefa, will go head-to-head again after a memorable duel in the Prague Half Marathon back in April.

Kipkirui – who set a personal best of 1:05:07 in Ras Al Khaimah in January – prevailed by just one second on that occasion to take second place in the Czech capital and it’s certain that Degefa will have that in mind ahead of her fourth ADHM appearance.

Two other highly-rated Ethiopian women will also be on the start line in Delhi: Yeshaneh Ababel and Senbere Teferi.

Ababel was second at the ADHM 2017 and has since been victorious at the Istanbul and Yangzhou half marathons while Teferi, who will be making her half marathon debut, has won world championship medals on the track and at cross country in the past and will arrive in Delhi fresh from setting a 3000m personal best when representing Africa at the recent IAAF Continental Cup.

All the leading runners will also have in their sights first prize cheques of US$27,000 with a total prize money purse (combined men and women) of US$280,000.

Elite fields for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2018 (with personal bests):

MEN –
Eric Kiptanui           (KEN) 58:42
Alex Korio                (KEN) 58:51
Daniel Kipchumba (KEN) 59:06
Leul Gebresilase     (ETH) 59:18
Feyisa Lilesa            (ETH) 59:22
Zane Robertson      (NZL) 59:47
Moses Kurong        (UGA) 59:50
Andamlak Belihu   (ETH) 59:51
Leonard Korir         (USA) 59:52
Aron Kifle               (ERI) 1:00:31
Getaneh Molla      (ETH) 1:00:34
Betesfa Getahun  (ETH) 1:00:54

WOMEN –
Caroline Kipkirui    (KEN) 1:05:07
Worknesh Degefa   (ETH) 1:06:14
Yeshaneh Ababel    (ETH) 1:06:22
Zeineba Yimer         (ETH) 1:08:07
Shitaye Eshete        (BRN) 1:08:25
Salome Nyirarukundo (RWA) 1:08:48
Stacy Ndiwa            (KEN) 1:09:09
Darya Maslova       (KGZ) 1:11:06
Senbere Teferi        (ETH) debut
Tsehay Gemechu  (ETH) debut

Rungaru and Kipkirui favourites at Prague Half Marathon

Kenyans James Rungaru and Caroline Chepkoech Kipkirui will start as favourites at the 20th edition of the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Labelroad race, on Saturday (7).

The course, which winds through the historical heart of the Czech capital, is notoriously fast, evidenced last year when Joyciline Jepkosgei broke the world record with a sizzling 1:04:52 run, while picking up world records for 10km (30:04), 15km (45:37) and 20km (1:01:25) en route. While the latter two are now considered world bests and Jepkosgei has gone on to further improve the 10km and half marathon marks, her performance was nonetheless one of the most memorable road running achievements in recent memory.

The men’s course record is fast too. Atsedu Tsegay clocked 58:47 to win the 2012 edition, still the seventh fastest performance in history and Ethiopian national record. The 27-year-old returns to Prague hoping to bounce back into sub-one hour territory for the first time since 2013. He showed reasonably good form last month in Lisbon, where he clocked 1:00:28 in windy conditions to finish fifth in the Portuguese capital.

But it will be 25-year-old Kenyan Rungaru who brings the strongest credentials and form to the start line on Saturday. Four weeks ago, Runguru clocked 59:37 to win the City Pier City Half Marathon at The Hague, his first dip into sub-one hour waters.

Justus Kangogo meanwhile is the fastest in the field at 59:31 set in last year’s Rome-Ostia race. He was sixth in the same contest last month in 1:01:02.

Others to watch include Josphat Tanui who returns with purpose after finishing second both here last year in 1:00:38 and in Usti Nad Labem, some 90 kilometres to the north, with a 59:22 personal best.

Meanwhile, Benard Kimeli is looking to move his good fortunes in Prague up in distance. Last September the 22-year-old won the Birell Prague 10km in 27:10, the fastest performance in the world in 2017. he made his half marathon debut in at the RAK Half in Ras Al Khaimah in February, clocking 1:00:16 for eighth.

Geoffrey Ronoh, 35, also has sub-60 minute credentials, but his 59:45 lifetime best came four years ago.

On the women’s side, the favourite role falls on Kipkirui, after her notable 2018 start. In February, the 23-year-old clocked 1:05:07 at the RAK Half to become the fifth fastest ever over the distance, yet finished no better than third in that high quality race. That performance wasn’t a one-off. In January she clocked 1:06:48 to finish second in Houston.

Her compatriot Joan Melly Chelimo is also expected to challenge. The 27-year-old was fourth in Ras Al Khaimah in 1:05:37, landing her at No. 8 on the all-time performers list.

They’ll be challenged by 2015 winner Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia, the runner-up here last year in 1:06:14. That performance remains the 27-year-old’s lifetime best but she’s illustrated strong form in 2018 after a fourth place finish in the Dubai Marathon where she clocked 2:19:53, finishing fifth.