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

Maratón de las Flores Medellín

Race date for Maratón de las Flores Medellín (COL) changed

The Maratón de las Flores Medellín (COL) will take place on Sun 17 September 2017, not Sun 10 September 2017 as previously published.

Wuxi Marathon

Race date for Wuxi Marathon (CHN) changed

The Wuxi Marathon (CHN) will take place on Sun 18 March 2018, not Mon 19 March 2018 as previously published.

Novi Sad Half Marathon

Race date for Novi Sad Half Marathon (SRB) changed

The Novi Sad Half Marathon (SRB) will take place on Sat 1 April 2017, not Sun 2 April 2017 as previously published.

Ed Whitlock, 1931–2017


Just a week after his 86th birthday the ever-gracious and remarkably talented long distance runner Ed Whitlock died in Toronto on 13 March from prostate cancer writes Paul Gains.

Although he was an accomplished British club runner in school and at university Whitlock put the sport on hold while he embarked on an engineering career in Canada. Much later in life he became the first septuagenarian to run under three hours with a 70+ world marathon record of 2:59:10 at the 2003 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, an event to which he became particularly attached.

A year later he improved that record with a 2:54:49 at age 73, again in Toronto. Eventually he set world master’s marathon records for age 75+, 80+ and, most recently, 85+ with a time of 3:56:38 set on 16 October 2016 in Toronto. In all he set roughly 25 world master’s records over distances from 1500m to the marathon.

Alan Brookes, the race director of the Toronto event, enjoyed a longstanding friendship with Whitlock.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ed Whitlock, The Master. The Legend. This is an enormous loss to Canada and the global running community. Somehow we thought Ed would just go on setting records forever… He defined our Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. He will always be a vital part of the identity and spirit of the race. ‘Don’t limit yourself,’ was one of Ed’s key messages, and it was one we latched onto. It gave us the vision and the inspiration of what STWM could become. His indomitable spirit, his love of racing, his modesty and inspiration will be with us always.”

“I don’t consider myself to be an inspiring person,” Whitlock had said. “I am not one to stand up on the stage and say ‘you all can do this.’” He was an inspiration to millions around the world, albeit a reluctant one.

Picture: A smiling Ed Whitlock, moments after setting a world marathon record for runners age 85+ at the 2016 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

HAJ Hannover Marathon

April and Gabius will be challenged by Kenyans in Hannover


Course record holder and defending champion Lusapho April of South Africa will duel with German record holder Arne Gabius in the HAJ Hannover Marathon on 9th April.

However there are three Kenyans in the race with superior personal bests who could upset the two prominent runners. The women’s race will have a German favourite: Former Ethiopian Fate Tola targets Hannover’s course record of 2:27:07.

Lusapho April is almost treated as a local hero in Hannover. There is no marathon race where the 34 year-old has competed as often as in this one. It will be the sixth HAJ Hannover Marathon for Lusapho April on 9th April. He is the record men’s winner of the event with three victories — 2011, 2013, 2016 — and established the current course record of 2:08:32 four years ago. Last year he secured Olympic selection with his 2:11:27 performance. In Rio the South African then placed 24th. “Hannover has become my second home for running. I have shown my best performances and celebrated my biggest wins here,” said Lusapho April, who also finished third in New York in 2013.

Looking solely at their personal bests a great duel could be on the cards when Lusapho April meets Arne Gabius. The German broke the 27 year-old national record in Frankfurt in 2015 with a time of 2:08:33, improving his personal best to within a second of Lusapho April’s Hannover course record and PB.

However organisers announced that three Kenyans have been entered who will make it tough for April and Gabius. Philipp Kimutai has a personal best of 2:06:07 while Nicholas Kamakya and Cheshari Jacob have run 2:06:34 and 2:07:46 respectively. Kimutai was supposed to challenge April already a year ago in Hannover. However due to visa problems he had to cancel his start at the last moment. Now the Kenyan heads the entry list once again. He clocked his personal best back in 2011 when he was fourth in Frankfurt. Kamakya’s PB is six years old as well. However he showed fine form when taking second in Cologne last autumn with 2:10:22. Jacob is a former Hannover champion. He won the race in 2015 with 2:09:32. Two years earlier he ran his PB of 2:07:46 in Frankfurt.

“On this occasion we don’t think too much about the course record. We simply hope to create a thrilling contest. If it should become a very fast race as well then it would be even better — but it is not a priority,” said Christoph Kopp, who is responsible for the elite field in Hannover.

It will be different regarding the women’s race. Fate Tola is the favourite and she intends to go for the course record. “I always set myself ambitious goals and then fully concentrate on reaching them,” said Fate Tola, who is currently preparing in Ethiopia for the HAJ Hannover Marathon. She was unlucky last summer when she received German citizenship two weeks too late to gain selection for the Olympic Games. However she bounced back with a second place in Frankfurt with 2:25:42. The two-time Vienna City Marathon champion (2011 and 2012) came close to her PB of 2:25:14 and will now hope to show a similar performance on the flat course in Hannover. Ukraine’s Olena Burkovska ran the current course record of 2:27:07 in 2013.

While there will be more additions to the women’s field in the coming weeks at the moment Ethiopia’s Ayelu Lemma Geda looks to be the strongest rival for Fate Tola. The Ethiopian has a PB of 2:29:49 from Milan in 2015 where she was second. She is the Rome Marathon champion from 2014.

Vienna City Marathon

Eliud Kiptanui to run in Vienna


It was seven years ago in April when huge parts of Europe’s airspace were closed after the eruption of the Icelandic vulcano Eyyafyallayöküll. An ash cloud had spread over Britain and then the continent and flying was said to be too dangerous.

A number of major marathons struggled getting their African elite athletes and international runners in, among them Vienna and London. Most of the elite field made it in time before the closures to the Austrian capital, but among those missing was Eliud Kiptanui.

Seven years later it looks like he will finally find his way to Vienna. The Kenyan heads the men’s elite list of the Vienna City Marathon on 23rd April with a personal best of 2:05:21. The event is an IAAF Gold Label Road Race and adding races at other distances a total of over 36,000 runners has so far entered the 34th edition of Austria’s biggest annual sporting event.

A few weeks after missing the Vienna City Marathon Eliud Kiptanui produced headlines not that far away from Austria’s capital. The Kenyan ran an extraordinary course record in Prague, clocking a time of 2:05:39. No-one had thought this could be possible in Prague and no other runner has come close to this mark since then. It showed what Vienna probably has missed. In the meantime 27 year-old Kiptanui placed fifth in the World Championships in 2011 and has improved to 2:05:21 when he finished second in the Berlin Marathon in 2015.

There is a second sub 2:06 runner among the men’s elite runners announced by the organisers today: Ethiopia’s Deribe Robi has a personal best of 2:05:58. The 26 year-old clocked this time in Eindhoven in 2015, when he took second place. He showed good consistency with a total of eight sub 2:08 times. Robi won the Marrakech Marathon in 2014, placed third in Dubai a year later, fourth in Rotterdam in 2014 and fifth in Frankfurt in the same year.

Kiptanui and Robi will be challenged by Morocco’s Mustapha El Aziz as well as Kenyans Philipp Kangogo and Suleiman Simotwo. El Aziz has a personal best of 2:07:55 with which he took third place in Seoul four years ago. More recently the 32 year-old clocked promising personal bests at 10 k and in the half marathon. First he ran 27:33 in Marrakech, then he clocked his first sub-hour time with 59:29 in Valencia.

Philipp Kangogo is a promising newcomer to the marathon. Two years ago he won his debut at the distance in Barcelona with a fine 2:08:16 and then he was second in Ottawa in 2:09:56. Vienna will be his third marathon. In contrast fellow-Kenyan Suleiman Simotwo is a very experienced athlete. It will be the third time in a row that the 36-year-old competes in the Vienna City Marathon. In 2015 he was fifth, then he took third and clocked 2:10:15 despite heavy winds. The former world-class 1,500 m runner who features a personal best of 3:31.67 ran his fastest marathon in Frankfurt, where he finished with 2:08:49 in 2015.

Bengaluru Midnight Marathon

Race date for Bengaluru Midnight Marathon (IND) changed

The Bengaluru Midnight Marathon (IND) will take place on Sat 16 December 2017, not Sat 9 December 2017 as previously published.

AIMS launches new Japanese-language site


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


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


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


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


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


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 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


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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AIMS Partners


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