Association of International Marathons and Distance Races

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To Race Directors: For inclusion in this section, please send your articles to gary@distancerunning.co.uk.

AIMS launches new Japanese-language site

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Among the 410+ members of AIMS spread throughout 110 countries and territories there are 22 in Japan, many of them with more than 10,000 runners participating. By eliminating the language barrier, this new website is expected to bring Japanese runners and worldwide AIMS member races much closer to each other.

The site will provide the Japanese media with AIMS news releases translated from English into Japanese. This will contribute to smoother news distribution in Japan as well as a closer connection between Japanese runners/media and AIMS’ member races around the world.

The AIMS website in Japanese www.aims-worldrunning.jp launched at 12 noon in Japan (GMT +9) on 22 February 2017 and complements the AIMS main site in English aims-worldrunning.org .

AIMS President Paco Borao comments: “This new Japanese-language website will give AIMS a strong platform to enhance our relations with our members in Japan, other Japanese distance running events, Japanese runners and the media in Japan, all in the Japanese language. It offers the opportunity for Japanese Runners to access over 410 AIMS member races in 110 countries and territories. It will connect our member races with a large audience of Japanese runners who hold a great passion for running and travel.”

AIMS Board Member (also Senior Managing Director of the Japan Association of Athletics Federations (JAAF)), Mitsugi Ogata, Ph.D. comments: “I am very pleased that AIMS has taken this step towards communicating directly with the large Japanese running audience. I can see this will have great benefits for Japanese races and runners and the media in Japan as well as AIMS. It is also providing access for millions of Japanese runners to the exciting variety of international running events around the world in AIMS membership.”

International Institute for Race Medicine

AIMS’ medical partner the International Institute for Race Medicine (IIRM) offers membership to AIMS members on an introductory basis for $100 for the first year.

Through the support of the UK-based Matthew Good Foundation a scholarship grant to cover the $100 membership fee is being offered to up to 100 AIMS members who apply.

Membership in the IIRM allows all event medical volunteers, EMS partners, and area hospitals to have access to the resources provided in the member-only area of the IIRM website. This includes guidelines for treating multiple medical conditions, samples of medical records forms developed by medical directors at the prominent marathons around the world, a comprehensive medical manual, and many educational videos addressing topics related to race medicine.

CLICK HERE for a recent press release announcing the grant and its application guidelines.

B.A.A. Boston Marathon

Kathrine Switzer: 50 years on

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Fifty years after the attempt to bundle her out of the BAA Boston Marathon as an unauthorised entrant — a woman — running pioneer Kathrine Switzer will run the 121st BAA Boston Marathon on 17 April.

This time, she will be joined by 114 women and 7 men from 20 counties who are representing and raising funds for 261 Fearless, Inc., Switzer’s global non-profit organisation that empowers women around the world through a social running community.

“It is an honour and joy to participate in the 121st Boston Marathon,” said Kathrine Switzer. “That dramatic incident 50 years ago when an angry race official tried to throw me off the course became instead a defining moment for me and women runners throughout the world. The result is nothing less than a social revolution; there are now more women runners in the United States than men.”

Despite the inauspicious beginning, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) early on understood the seriousness of women’s desire to participate in the Marathon. In 1972, five years after the ‘Switzer Incident’, the BAA welcomed women as official competitors. Switzer placed third in that race, ran Boston eight times, and posted her personal best of 2:51:37 in the 1975 edition.

“We are pleased to welcome Kathrine back to the race which elevated and hastened the movement in women’s sports,” said BAA President Joann Flaminio “and we look forward to greeting her at the finish line on 17 April.”

“[The 71st BAA Boston Marathon] was a race that changed all of us,” said Switzer, now 70. “I’m running to say thanks to a race, a city and all those people who have done so much to give strength and self-esteem to women.”

Košice Peace Marathon

Registration open for oldest European marathon

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Registration has opened for the oldest European marathon, the Košice Peace Marathon in Slovakia.

The 94th edition takes place on 1st of October 2017. For quick and easy registration, runners can visit the website www.kosicemarathon.com.

The marathon course, one of the fastest, was created in Košice 20 years ago for the 1997 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. That course is still fast and very attractive for both elite and fun runners.

In Košice, the gothic pearl of Europe where the fundamentals of the modern marathon movement were set in 1924, runners can discover why it was more recently chosen as European Capital of Culture 2013 and the Best European City of Sport 2016.

RAK Half Marathon

New world record in women’s half marathon

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World champion Peres Jepchirchir broke the women’s world record, but was pushed all the way by former world and course record holder Mary Keitany writes Tim Hutchings.

Jepchirchir, who finished in 1:05:06, shaved three seconds off the time her compatriot Florence Kiplagat set in Barcelona two years ago. Fully recovered from a bout of pneumonia at the end of 2016 the 23-year old, 4th in RAK last year, also broke the world record for 20km (mixed race) with 61:40 — 14 seconds faster than the mark set by Kiplagat in Barcelona.

In the men’s race World Half Marathon runner-up Bedan Karoki surged to victory over the last 3km after having made much of the running in the second half of the race once the pacemakers had stepped aside. Behind him rising star Yigrem Demelash broke his personal best by 29 seconds.

Haspa Marathon Hamburg

Kiprotich will run in Hamburg

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For the first time in the history of the Haspa Hamburg Marathon an Olympic Marathon champion will be on the start line of the elite field: Stephen Kiprotich will be a star attraction on April 23 in Hamburg.

The Ugandan caused a sensation when he surprised the favourites to win the Olympic gold in London in 2012, promoted to sporting superstar status overnight in his home country. A year later Kiprotich added to his tally of gold medals in winning the World Marathon title in Moscow.

Although Stephen Kiprotich has won two major global titles, victory in a big city marathon is one achievement missing so far in his running portfolio. He did win the Enschede marathon in 2011 with 2:07:20 but success in Hamburg would be of a different order.

Another leading contender has also been announced and that is Tsegaye Mekonnen. The 21-year-old Ethiopian is considerably faster than the Olympic champion Kiprotich with his best of 2:04:32, achieved on his sensational marathon debut in Dubai in 2014. His performance was the fastest ever by a junior, though remains an unofficial world record since the world governing body of the IAAF does not recognise junior records in the marathon.

The race organiser Frank Thaleiser has a simple explanation why high quality athletes come to run in Hamburg, despite the relatively small budget for elite runners: “The top runners don’t come to Hamburg because of the money, because our prize monies are hardly the biggest out there. They come because we, in partnership with Global Sports Communication, can offer them perfect conditions. These include a strong field overall, top pacemakers and a first class service for them in terms of the race and build-up. The course in the city beside the River Elbe is one of the fastest in the world and, if the weather is favourable, very fast times are part and parcel of the event.”

Golden Ring Yaroslavl Half Marathon

Race date for Golden Ring Yaroslavl Half Marathon (RUS) changed

The Golden Ring Yaroslavl Half Marathon (RUS) will take place on Sun 3 September 2017, not Sun 17 September 2017 as previously published.

RAHAL Mémorial Casablanca

Race date for RAHAL Mémorial Casablanca (MAR) changed

The RAHAL Mémorial Casablanca (MAR) will take place on Sun 7 May 2017, not Sun 21 May 2017 as previously published.

TCS New York City Marathon

Allan Steinfeld, 1946–2017

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Allan Steinfeld, a key figure in the world’s original running ‘boom’ that took place in United States during the 1970s, passed away on 24 January at the age of 70.

Born a New Yorker on 7 June 1946, Steinfeld was an accomplished college distance runner who attended Cornell University. After graduation in 1971 he began volunteering technical service to the New York Road Runners Club which was set up by NYC race founder Fred Lebow to co-ordinate the organisation of the Marathon and local races throughout the city.

As the race grew — from hundreds in the early 1970s to 2000 in the 1976 Five-Borough Bicentennial race and then took off in the late 1970s Steinfeld joined the race staff full-time. He became technical director in 1981. He was the person primarily responsible for getting the show on the road. While his contribution to the sport of distance running and to the organisation of the Marathon is widely acknowledged, what he and Fred Lebow did to promote the Marathon internationally is not so well known.

When London Marathon race founder Chris Brasher saw the 1979 New York Marathon and its impact on those who participated and spectated he immediately enlisted the help of Lebow and Steinfeld. They helped him convince the authorities in London that staging a marathon was both possible and worthwhile. But London was not the first. The New York example was the essential impetus behind the Barcelona and Stockholm Marathons when they were set up in 1978 and behind many other marathons the world over.

Steinfeld and Lebow became de facto marathon ambassadors advising organisers in places like Belgrade and Siberia on how to put on an event. Where they saw ideas they could use in the New York Marathon they promptly introduced these, rapidly spreading a culture of ‘best practice’.

Part of this effort was the establishment of the Association of International Marathons (AIMS) in 1982. Steinfeld had made accurate course measurement part of his field of technical expertise and was instrumental in spreading the practice both in the United States and internationally through the Association. He also instituted a chute system for assigning places and times to all runners even when hundreds were crossing the finish line every minute. This remained in place for mass marathons until the transponder timing system had proved its reliability by the late 1990s.

In 1984 Steinfeld was instrumental in the measurement of the Los Angeles Olympic Marathon course which became a model for later practice. He was also Chief Referee for both the men’s and the (inaugural) women’s events.

Steinfeld took over from Fred Lebow as the New York Road Runners’ President. After Lebow’s death in 1994 he assumed the posts of CEO and New York City Marathon race director. He retired from these posts in 2005. He was elected an Board member of AIMS in 1993 and a Vice-President in 1999. He became an Honorary Life Vice-President of AIMS in 2007.

Niagara Falls International Marathon

Race date for Niagara Falls International Marathon (CAN) changed

The Niagara Falls International Marathon (CAN) will take place on Sun 15 October 2017, not Sun 22 October 2017 as previously published.

Al Amerat Challenge Race

Al Amerat Challenge Race cancelled

The AlAmerat Challenge Race (OMA) organisers have issued the following statement:

“Unfortunately we would like to inform all fans of road races, the participants and competing in AlAmerat Challenge race since the first edition in February 2014, second edition in February 2015 addition, and to the third edition in February 2016, that the race will not take place during this year 2017 as we have been informed by Oman Athletic Association that the Directorate General of Operations in Royal Oman Police rejected to execute the race this year due to the traffic congestion that occurred while closing AlAmerat/Boushar road to secure the race and the large number of complaints and reports received by Royal Oman Police operations from the road users expressing their discontent and dissatisfaction with the traffic stop that led to stop their interests.”

Vodafone İstanbul Half Marathon

Race date for Vodafone İstanbul Half Marathon (TUR) changed

The Vodafone İstanbul Half Marathon (TUR) will take place on Sun 30 April 2017, not Sun 16 April 2017 as previously published.

Dushanbe International Half Marathon

Race date for Dushanbe International Half Marathon (TJK) changed

The Dushanbe International Half Marathon (TJK) will take place on Sat 15 April 2017, not Sun 16 April 2017 as previously published.

AIMS in talks with Greek government

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During his recent business visit to AIMS Headquarters in Athens, Greece, the AIMS President, Mr. Paco Borao, had a meeting with the recently appointed new Greek Deputy Minister of Culture and Sports, Mr. Georgios Vasileiadis.

Along with Mr. Kostas Panagopoulos, President of the Hellenic Athletics Federation (SEGAS), Mr. Makis Asimakopoulos, General Manager of “Athens Marathon. The Authentic” and Mr. Theo Livitsanos, AIMS HQ Administrator, the President and Deputy Minister had the chance to discuss future strategic plans between the Greek authorities, SEGAS, the Athens Marathon and AIMS, following the successful recently organised 21st World Congress of AIMS in Athens, the birthplace of our sport, and the close collaboration between these organisations which dates back to 2007.

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Distance Running

Official magazine of AIMS and IAAF

Cover of 2017 Edition 1

Latest issue:
2017 Edition 1

Cover: Maratón Valencia Trinidad Alfonso, Spain. Photo: Jose Royo