News 2010

On 31 December the St Catherine Marathon (more) was held on a lap course at the foot of Mount Sinai. On the same day, in the 86th edition of the classic Sao Silvestre 15km (more) in Sao Paulo Alice Timbili set a new course record of 50:19 while Marilson dos Santos took his third victory on the first occasion he has competed since 2005.

On 1 January, at the stroke of midnight, the Neujahrsmarathon (more) was started in Zurich, won by Dirk Joos and Astrid Meuller-Amstad. At almost the same time the Xiamen International Marathon (more) was run in China with Robert Kipkorir Kipchumba setting a world-leading time of 2:08:07. Women's winner Amane Gobena's time presents a less impressive initial posting of 2:31:49.
On 26 December the Semi Marathon Int'l De Laayoune (more), was run in Morocco.
21 December: Following his original retirement from running announced after the New York Marathon in November, Haile Gebrselassie has agreed to run a unique half marathon chase race in Vienna on 17 April 2011.

Running the marathon in Vienna was no option since Haile Gebrselassie had already agreed to compete in Tokyo on 27 February and the budget would not have been big enough for such a signing. Organisers looked for alternatives, and created a special race for Gebrselassie: "Catch me, if you can". The 37 year-old will not only run the half marathon but will also chase the elite marathon runners, who will run on the same course and get a head start. The time difference between the two starts will be determined nearer to the event. “We were able to convince Haile of our city, our race and our plans,” said race director Wolfgang Konrad.

“I look forward to running in Vienna” said Gebrselassie, who will celebrate his 38th birthday in Vienna on the day after the event. The world marathon record holder (2:03:59 in Berlin 2008) said that he would prepare seriously and “as usual I will give my best”. “It was probably our last chance to bring Haile to the Vienna City Marathon and give our spectators the opportunity to see the world’s greatest long distance runner in action,” said Konrad. “I am sure he will get a great reception”

Haile Gebrselassie winning the Berlin Marathon 2008
Photo: Haile Gebrselassie winning the Berlin Marathon 2008 www.photorun.net Gebrselassie won two Olympic golds in the 10,000m (1996 and 2000) and was world champion at this distance four times in a row (1993, ’95, ’97 and ’99). He was world half marathon champion in 2001 and established 20 official plus 7 unofficial world records. He has won 9 of his 13 marathon races so far.

The Vienna City Marathon is Austria’s biggest one day sports event. In 2010 a total of 32,940 runners from 108 nations entered the race. Online entry for the 2011 race is available at:
www.vienna-marathon.com
The marathon is the main event but other races are staged parallel, including the half marathon in which Gebrselassie will compete.


On 19 December the Fubon Taipei Marathon (more) took place in Chinese Taipei. The Pisa Marathon was scheduled for the same day but on 18 December the local authorities (Provincia di Pisa) decided to cancel the race (and the Half Marathon), citing adverse weather conditions.
13 December: Organisers of the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon have received a record number of half marathon entries in the month since entries opened on 1 November. To date 7046 places have been taken, and with the cut off confirmed at 11500, there is every indication that this target will be reached by early January. At the same time last year only 2 102 entries for the 2010 event had been received, and entries had to close in February, earlier than the normal entry closing date. The closing date for entries for next year’s event is 16 March 2011, or earlier if the cut off is reached - as will almost certainly be the case. Entries for the 56km ultra marathon are coming in a little slower although in comparison to this time last year they have doubled, from 566 to 1014. A total of 366 international entries have been received Race director Rowyn James said: “We have a total of 8060 entries and there’s every indication that we will see a record field line up on Saturday 23 April next year. Last year at this time we only had 2668 entries.”

Those runners wanting to take part in the half marathon next year are urged to enter as soon as possible to avoid missing out. Enter online at www.twooceansmarathon.org.za. Runners taking part in the ultra event will need to qualify with a marathon time before they can enter. Donations to Bobs for Good, the official charity for the event, currently stand at R66 742, almost R23 000 up on the same time last year.
On 12 December the Powerade Monterrey Marathon (more) took place in Mexico, won by Omar Luna in 2:27:55 and Dulce Maria Banuelos in 2:51:06.
    In the Antarctica Ice Marathon (more) held at Union Glacier on 15 December Bernardo Fonseca of Brazil won the men's race in 4:20:31 and Clare Apps (GBR) the women's in 4:47:37. 36 runners finished the race. The associated 100km was run the following day, with 5 competitors. Homebound travel is scheduled on 17 December.

12 December -- The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) which organizes the Boston Marathon, has announced a major "expansion in leadership" writes David Monti for Race Results Weekly. BAA Executive Director and AIMS Board member, Guy Morse will take on the new title of senior director of external affairs. Morse has been with the BAA since 1985 and held the executive director position since 2000, and during that time the number of entrants at the Boston Marathon has swelled from 17,813 to 26,776. Morse also secured long-term corporate sponsorship agreements from John Hancock and adidas for the Boston Marathon.

Thomas Grilk, 63, President of the BAA Board of Governors since 2003, will replace Morse on 1 January. "This is the perfect time for me to take a new role for the BAA," said Morse through a media release. "After having rebounded from health-related issues a couple of years ago, my enthusiasm and belief in our mission is as strong as ever. The expansion in leadership "enables the BAA to retain Morse's experience and relationships while transferring the responsibility of the Association's daily management to Grilk," said the organization's media liaison Jack Fleming. Grilk, a longtime corporate attorney, has been a member of the BAA since 1987.

The Boston Athletic Association is a not-for-profit organization with an operating budget of $9 million. In addition to the Boston Marathon, the BAA produces the BAA Invitational Mile, BAA 5K (4329 finishers), BAA Half-Marathon (4498 finishers), and the Boston Mayor's Cup Cross Country.

The busiest race weekend of the year started with the Reggae Marathon (more) on 4 December in which Rupert Green (2:30:27) and Elizabeth Mondon (2:55:50) took victories.

In the 64th Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship (more) on 5 December Jaouad Gharib ran away to a solo win in 2:08:24, and was the only runner to break 2:10 on an unseasonably warm day. The Nara Marathon (more) was also held in Japan, followed by the Toray Cup Shanghai Marathon (more), the Macau Galaxy Entertainment International Marathon (more) the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon (more) and the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore (more). Still in Asia, the 25th Pune International Marathon (more) was run in India.

The Lisbon International Marathon (more) was the only AIMS event in Europe, but there were several in the Caribbean, taking up where the Reggae Marathon left off the day before. These included the 27th Run Barbados Marathon (more), the 12th Cayman Islands Marathon (more), the St Croix International Marathon (more) in the US Virgin Islands and, on the Central American mainland, the 34th Panama International Marathon. To the south the 12th Pampulha Lagoon International Road Race (more) was held in Brazil over a distance of 17.8km, while to the north the 12th Gran Maraton Pacifico (more) was held in Mazatlan, Mexico. The Rock n Roll Las Vegas Marathon (more) rounded off action for the day.


The 10th edition of the Pharaonic 100km (more) took place on 26 November, starting at the Sakkara Pyramids outside of Cairo and running south to the pyramid at El Faiyoum. The same day the 20th Malta Challenge Marathon (more) began its 3-day programme with an evening race of 11.195km, followed by daily stages of 6km and 25km. On 28 November a busy day's programme started with the 35th Nikkan Sports Lake Kawaguchi Marathon (more) in Japan and the Unicef Hong Kong Charity Half Marathon (more). Next up was the Hyderabad Half Marathon (more) in India before action moved to Europe with the Cyprus Aphrodite Half Marathon (more). In the Firenze Marathon (more) in Italy, Toelsa Tadese and Teshome Gelana, finishing in that order, both ran 2:12:41 while Firewot Dado won the women's race in 2:28:58, by a two-minute margin. The 20th Marathon de La Rochelle -Serge Vigot (more) was run in the French Atlantic port and, further around the coast of the Bay of Biscay, the Marathon Donostia - San Sebastian (more). Further south, the Semi Marathon International Laayoune was postponed until 26 December. Action then moved to the other side of the Atlantic with the 10km Rio Pan American (more) race in Brazil.
 
In North America the 21k Nuevo Leon (more) was run in Mexico and the Amica Insurance Seattle Marathon (more) took place on the west coast of USA.
AIMS CHILDREN´S SERIES 2010

On 12 November 2010 the AIMS Children’s Series conducted its second event in the Indian Community of Santa María Acapulco, within the Municipality of Santa Catarina in San Luis Potosí, México.
A total of 1100 children from 16 different native communities participated, made possible by the Education Secretariat of the State. The event was organized by AIMS in association with Tangamanga Marathon and the State Government of San Luis Potosí. AIMS Children´S Series 2010 Medals The course, around the oldest Church in Latin America (founded by Franciscan Monks in 1609) was difficult because of the mountainous terrain, but children tackled it with enthusiasm and gave great performances. The organizers had to interact with the children through interpreters, as they speak very little Spanish, using instead their own dialect Pame. Even so, their enjoyment of such a high quality event was evident. It was a shining example of how the sport of running has the power to unite society, as it provided something in common for the rich mix of cultures that populate the area. AIMS hopes to plant the seed of running in these communities, and that through running the children glimpse the opportunity of a better life. AIMS Children´S Series 2010 Final Race There were various age groups ranging from 4 to 13 years old, competing in races over different distances. The children wore technical t-shirts, color-coded according to their age group.
The Governor Dr. Fernando Toranzo and his wife Dra. María Luisa Ramos showed great interest in the event and supported the organization by providing the services through the State Secretary of Education, the State Secretary of Security and Police, DIF System, the State Roads Authority and the Municipality of Santa Catarina.
 
AIMS Children´S Series 2010 Final Race The event was held thanks to AIMS’ sponsors ASICS, TOKYO MARATHON, and local supporters PEPSI, TURBO, GATORADE, CONALEP and HIALINA WATER.
The children received a runner package that included beverages, food, candies, toys and a beautiful medal produced in South Africa by the 1000km Company.
AIMS Children´S Series 2010 Final Race Awards were made to the first three finishers in each category and the Organization raffled “Turbo” bicycles and toys among the participants.
The AIMS CHILDREN'S SERIES was created to promote running in communities of the world where the promotion of sport would otherwise enjoy little financial support.


21 November started with two marathons in Southeast Asia: the Penang Bridge International Marathon (more) in Malaysia and the Standard Chartered Bangkok Marathon (more) in Thailand.
 
In the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon (more) favourable conditions led to fast times and very competitive races with Geoffrey Mutai winning in 59:38 - a second ahead of Lelisa Desisa. Aselefech Mergia won the women's race in 1:08:35, with eight others following her in under 69 minutes. The Great Ethiopian Run (more) was held in Addis Ababa over 10km with some of the country's best runners spearheading a mass field of 30,000 runners. In Europe the Medio Maraton de Valencia (more) was the headline event.
 
Half of the day's events were held in the Americas, with the Philadelphia Marathon (more) in USA and the Marabana Marathon and Half Marathon in Cuba. Elsewhere it was back to shorter distances with the Quito 21km Mitad del Mundo (more) race in Ecuador and the 10km Corpore Sao Paulo Classic (more) in Brazil.

16 November: Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) Race Director Rick Nealis has been named Race Director of the Year by the US organisation Road Race Management.

The award was presented during a reception held on 11 November at Road Race Management's Race Directors' annual meeting in Coral Gables, Florida.

"As race director of the Marine Corps Marathon it is even more meaningful to have received this award on Veterans Day and to share it with the 40,000 Marines and Sailors who have volunteered since 1976, organizing the MCM with the precision of a military operation," said Nealis.

Nealis has directed the MCM for the last 18 years, steering it to become the fourth largest marathon in the United States and the eighth largest in the world. On 31 October the 35th MCM hosted its largest race field to date including 21,942 finishers from all 50 states and 54 countries.

"As race director of the Marine Corps Marathon, Rick Nealis has done it all" said Road Race Management President Phil Stewart. "Coordinating eight separate law enforcement agencies through whose jurisdictions the event passes; keeping the paparazzi away from Oprah Winfrey for over four-and-a-half hours; his boyish exuberance for the event belies his abilities as a master tactician who makes the Marine Corps proud of the race that serves as the organization's single largest public relations event,"

The 36th Marine Corps Marathon will be held on 30 October 2011 in Arlington, Virginia. Registration opens online on 23 February at www.marinemarathon.com.

The Medio Maraton Turistico Riviera Nayarit (more) took place on 13 November in north-western Mexico.

On 14 November the Garda-Trentino Half Marathon (more), the Turin Marathon (more) and the Marathon des Alpes Maritimes Nice-Cannes (more) all took place within close proximity of each other.

Much further away the 8th presentation of the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay (more) was run on California's Pacific coast.

The Sharm El Sheikh Half Marathon was held on 5 November through the Ras Mohamed National Park in Sinai.

On 6 November the Taroko Gorge International Marathon was held in Chinese Taipei.

In the BLOM Beirut Marathon (more) on 7 November Lebanese PM Saad Hariri vividly demonstrated the unifying force of running. Son of Rafik, the former PM who was assassinated in 2005, he ran the 10km through the city's streets. The Marathon was won by putative pacemaker Mohamed Temam in 2:16:43. He swept back past Abere Chaneeth, who he had been pacing up to halfway until Chaneeth became impatient and set off on his own. Etaferahu Tarekegn lived up to her favourite's billing in the women's race to win in 2:41:15

The Hangzhou Marathon (more) was held in China. The Joongang Seoul International Marathon (more) was earlier held in Korea, but action at the other end of the Mediterranean continued with the Zaragoza Marathon (more) in Spain, and then the Porto Marathon (more) in Portugal's second city, won by Alex Kirui in 2:14:29 and debutant Beatrice Toroitich in 2:37:45. The IAU 100km World Championship (more) was hosted on a 5km circuit in Gibraltar, in the GI100 (more) event which also incorporated the European Championship and the World Masters Championship.

In North America the Bass Pro Shops Springfield Marathon (more) was run in the state of Missouri and the Guadalajara Marathon (more) took place in Mexico.

Hiroaki Chosa given IAAF Silver Award of Merit

At the Athens Classic Marathon celebrations of the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon the retiring President of AIMS, Hiroaki Chosa, was presented with the IAAF Silver Order of Merit reports Pat Butcher. The Gold award is reserved for heads of state.

Leading up to the Marathon held on the inaugural 1896 Olympic course, the 18th World Congress of AIMS and concurrent 4th AIMS-IAAF Marathon Symposium were held on 28-30 October. IAAF President Lamine Diack, attending the Symposium after the ceremonial lighting of the Marathon Flame, took advantage of the occasion to present the award.

Now in his 81st year, former middle distance runner Chosa has guided AIMS for the last 20 years, a time of unprecedented growth in AIMS membership. The Association was formed in 1982 with 28 members and has grown to currently represent 304. At his farewell address, Chosa predicted that by 2015 there could be 500 members.
Hiroaki Chosa receives IAAF Silver Award of Merit Long time member himself of several IAAF and Japanese federation (JAAF) committees and commissions, including his present position as a member of the IAAF Road Running Commission, Chosa has had a recent hands-on experience of the popular influx to long distance running. The Tokyo Marathon, once an elite-only race, has in recent years opened its entry to the whole population. As President of the Tokyo Marathon Foundation, Chosa announced this week that entries for 35,000 places in next year’s race exceeded 335,000.

Receiving his award Chosa said, through his long-time interpreter Yutaka Sasai, “Ten thousand words cannot express my surprise and pleasure at receiving this award from President Diack. It will be the first thing I see when I wake every morning. I’ve always refused this type of award from the Japanese government, and now I have this award, I can continue to refuse.”

Following the 18th World Congress of AIMS in Athens on 28-30 October, the Athens Classic Marathon (more) was run on the original course from Marathon to Athens on 31 October, 2500 years after the legendary run by the soldier-messenger Pheidippides. Raza Drazdauskaite, entered in the concurrently run world Military Championship, broke the event record by two minutes. Male winner Raymonf Bett scraped a couple of seconds from the Men's event record.
 
In the Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon (more) in Germany Wilson Kipsang won in 2:04:57 to become the 8th fastest marathon runner ever, and third fastest of this year. Caroline Kilel won the women's race in 2:23:25, and led three others under the old course record..
 
Elsewhere in Europe the Podgorica Marathon (more) took place in Montenegro, the Lucerne Marathon (more) and the Lausanne Marathon (more) in Switzerland,.
 
The 8th Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon was run in the Kenyan capital.
 
In the USA the 35th edition of the Marine Corps Marathon (more) took place in Washington DC.
 
In the Eastern Caribbean the University of the West Indies hosted the UWI-SPEC Half Marathon (more) from their campus at St Augustine, Trinidad.

Paco Borao elected as new
President of AIMS

29 October: Paco Borao of the Valencia Marathon was elected as the new President of AIMS at the 18th World Congress of AIMS held on 28-30 October in Athens, Greece. The Congress coincided with the 2500th anniversary celebrations of the Marathon legend, dating from the Battle of Marathon (490BC)

Borao has been Membership Director of AIMS since he was elected to this position at the 10th World Congress of AIMS held in Barcelona in March 1996. Since then AIMS membership has grown from 100 members to 304.

Borao succeeds Hiroaki Chosa of Japan who retired at the Athens Congress after holding the Presidency for 20 years.

Paco Borao (64 years old), is a former executive at IBM in Spain, USA & France. He commented: "As well as an honour, it is a great responsibility to become President of AIMS but I will work hard to develop and promote the sport of distance running around the world. I hope to build upon the work of Mr. Chosa who has served AIMS, its members and the sport of distance running with great distinction." of distance running with great distinction.

New AIMS Board Members New AIMS Board Members
From Left: Paco Borao, Martha Morales, Keisuke Sawaki, Fernando Jamarne, Guy Morse, Al Boka. (Click to enlarge images) Martha Morales of the Tangamanga Marathon, Mexico was elected Vice President.

Others elected to the AIMS Board of Directors at the Congress were Keisuke Sawaki of Yokohama Marathon (Japan), Guy L Morse of the Boston Marathon (USA) and Fernando Jamarne of the Santiago Marathon (Chile). Al Boka of the Las Vegas Marathon (USA) was re-elected as Treasurer.

The major theme discussed at the Congress was how sport can become more friendly to the environment and promote this ethos to runners around the world.

A new book captures the soul of the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) and explains what “The People’s Marathon” represents. Marine Corps Marathon: A Running Tradition is written from the heart and by those who have a personal connection to the race, the race directors and runners. More than 330,000 runners have crossed the finish line of the Marine Corps Marathon since 1976. Their stories are captured within these pages: including their joy and triumph, as well as their mental and physical pain, which they endured while covering 26.2 miles. The heart of the race is in the heart of the runners.

Supporting the text is a collection of pictures dating as far back as 1976. There are top athletes who run alongside amateur runners, as well as celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey. The marathon includes the Ad Hoc Publicity Committee of the Marine Corps Marathon, the Special Olympics, the Ground Pounders, the Challenge Cup, and the Charity Partners. The appendices are an extensive collection of race statistical facts and top performances.

The author, TSgt. George Banker, U.S. Air Force Reserves (retired), serves on the Ad Hoc Publicity Committee of the Marine Corps Marathon as the historian. He received 14 military decoration. Raised in a Marine Corps family, Banker is an avid runner who completed 78 marathons, including 26 Marine Corps Marathons and the JFK 50 Miler (4 times). He is a senior writer for the Runner’s Gazette, a correspondent and photographer for the National Master News, Running Journal and a member of the Track & Field Writers Association. http://www.mcmhistory.com

On 22 October the Amman International Marathon (more) was held in the Jordanian capital.
 
On 24 October the Chosunilbo Chunchon International Marathon was run in Korea, followed by the Beijing International Marathon (more) in which Ethiopia's Siraj outlasted veteran Gert Thys as they struggled through typhoon conditions. In Europe the Ljubljana Marathon (more) took place in the Slovenian capital, followed by the Venicemarathon (more) and the Marato del Mediterraneo just outside of Barcelona. Across the Mediterranean  Morocco hosted the Grand Marathon International de Casablanca (more). Finally, the Niagara Falls Marathon (more) took place near the famous landmark.

On Monday 25 October the Dublin Marathon (more) took place in the Irish capital.

AIMS/CITIZEN WORLD’S FASTEST TIME AWARD

20 October 2010: Eritrean long-distance athlete Zersenay Tadese has been awarded the AIMS/Citizen World’s Fastest Time Award in recognition of his world record breaking time of 58:23, set during the Lisbon Half Marathon on 21 March 2010. He broke Olympic Marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru’s mark by 10 seconds.

AIMS Board member Dave Cundy presented Tadese with the award ahead of the recent IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Nanning, China.
Zersenay Tadese receives  the AIMS/Citizen World’s Fastest Time Award AIMS President Hiroaki Chosa commented: “Tadese’s commitment has enabled him to set new milestones in the advancement of the sport. Our congratulations also go to the Lisbon Half Marathon, an AIMS member race, who provided the conditions for this achievement.”

Zersenay Tadese said: “It is an honour to receive this award. I would like to thank AIMS and Citizen for recognising me with this trophy. When I think about the great athletes who have broken world distance records over the years and to now find myself among them is a great honour and I am very pleased to accept this award.”

22 October: Dr. David Martin has come to Berlin three times from Atlanta, Georgia with 80–100 kg of luggage – so much that it could hardly be carried – and the contents were always meant for the Berlin Sports Museum - AIMS Marathon Museum of Running writes Horst Milde.

Dr Martin, professor of Sports Medicine at Georgia State University in Atlanta/Georgia, was for years an advisor to the US national team marathon and long-distance runners, and is still active as a statistician for AIMS.

Through his activities with the US Association, he has attended countless Olympic Games, World Championships in Athletics, and other competitions in the USA and abroad. He played a significant role in the promotion of running and athletics and thus was in close contact with the stars in this area.

In addition to his medical and research activities at the university and his “hobby” of athletics, he is also the author of numerous books, including the classic “The Marathon Footrace”, which he wrote with Roger Gynn, the comprehensive compendium “The Olympic Marathon” with all of the details about the Olympic Marathon since 1896, and together with Peter Coe, the father of Sebastian Coe, a book about training.

In the process, he became a great collector of track and field memorabilia – especially of running artifacts. This collection include posters and t-shirts from various IAAF World Championships, Olympic Games, commemorative materials from the major running and sports events around the world – and he has been collecting stuff for decades.
Dr. David Martin shows one of his valuable running memorabilia items His collection includes medals, souvenirs, photos, programmes, result lists, t-shirts, medals, newspapers, books, documentary materials, correspondence with athletes, officials and associations, which already provide historical documentation of the development of running and athletics.

Every time Dr. David Martin arrives with his heavy suitcases he unpacks his valuable artifacts and presents them to the museum. Dr. Martin has given the museum an almost complete collection of t-shirts from the race in his hometown of Atlanta, the world-renowned “Peachtree Road Race“ put on by the Atlanta Track Club, which are gathered like rare treasures and enjoy a kind of cult status in the USA

He has also provided important museum treasures without personal visits, including a complete documentation of the development of the AVON Women’s Run in the USA, sending the museum medals, posters, correspondence and photos in 2008. He had been involved in the development of this race for years.

His donations are greatly appreciated and treasured by the AIMS Marathon Museum of Running.
For the Berlin Sports Museum - AIMS Marathon Museum of Running, Dr. David Martin is a true “gem”, who does not keep his own “treasures” at home under lock and key, but rather demonstrates his service to the general public by donating them for future generations to enjoy.

21 October: The city of Venice will be made more accessible thanks to the installation over the bridges of 13 wooden ramps that will help not only disabled people, but also the inhabitants, the runners and the tourists to run and to walk more easily in Venice. In the first year of the project, in 2006, the ramps stayed over the bridges for 80 days at the time of the marathon, making Venice accessible for those people obliged to move with wheelchairs or that have problems managing the steps. In 2010, on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the marathon, the ramps will be at the public's disposal for over 150 days, till the end of February, including the marathon day, Christmas time, the New Year’s Day and the Carnival. To have further information on the Venice City Council’s project “City for All” click here

On 16 October Wilson Kiprop and Florence Kiplagat took the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships (more) titles in Nanning (CHN), in only their second races at the distance. Kiprop overtook four-time champion Zersenay Tadese just metres before the finish line to record 1:00:07, while Kiplagat kicked clear of Dire Tune in the last 800m to win in 1:08:24. Kenya captured both team titles. 

On 17 October the Gyeongju International Marathon (more) takes place in Korea, followed by four events in Europe: The 32nd Istanbul Eurasia Marathon (more) (starting in Asia, finishing in Europe); the 3rd Bucharest Marathon (more) in the Romanian capital; the Amsterdam Marathon (more); and La Voie Royal - Semi Marathon de Saint Denis (more) in a northern suburb of Paris.
 
Across the Atlantic the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon (more) completes the programme for the day.

Toronto hosts Marathon Flame

On 9 October the Kinmen Round the Island Marathon was held in Chinese Taipei.

There were 13 AIMS events scheduled on 10-10-(20)10, starting with the St. George Melbourne Marathon (more) in Australia before a clutch of European events. The fastest times and closest finish came in the 27th Eindhoven Marathon (more), where Charles Kamathi pipped Nicholas Kipkorir, but both ran 2:07:38 and Paul Biwott was only two seconds behind. By contrast Atsede Habtamu won the women's race by five minutes.  The Brussels Marathon (more) was won by Levy Matebo in 2:13:30 and Mariska Dute in 2:59:16. In the Poznan Marathon (more) in Poland, Isaac Macharia had a 5-second margin of victory over Haile Tesfaye (2:16:27 to 2:16:32) while Marina Damantsevich (BLR) took the women's title. The winners in the 23rd Ferrari Italian Marathon (more) were Paul Malakwen in 2:09:00 and Hellen Wajiku in 2:27:16. The Timisoara Marathon (more) in Romania, the NIS Novi Sad Marathon in Serbia, the Zagreb Marathon (more) in Croatia, the Lake Guarda Marathon (more) and and the 25th Munich Marathon (more) in Germany were also run on the same day.

Moving west, in Canada the BMO Okanagan Marathon (more) was held in the province of Alberta and the 31st Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon (more) in British Columbia enjoyed record numbers and a world age record. South of the 49th parallel the 39th Portland Marathon (more) took place in the US state of Oregon and the Guayaquil Marathon (more) was run in Ecuador.

7 October: The Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) will celebrate its 35-year history while commemorating the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon and Pheidippidies' legendary run. To mark the occasion, the MCM will receive the Marathon Flame from the Municipality of Marathon, Greece, and embark on a multi-city tour beginning on Thursday, 21 October and concluding at the MCM on race day, 31 October - the same day that the Athens Classic Marathon is held.

The MCM will present the Marathon Flame in four locations including the start and finish locations of the 115-year old BAA Boston Marathon (Hopkinton and Boston), New York and Philadelphia in ceremonies to include US Marines and Sailors, Marine Corps veterans, members of the Greek community and MCM runners. Permanently housed at the Marathon Museum in the town of Marathon, Greece, the Flame is a perpetual reminder of those who died in the Battle of Marathon between the vastly outnumbered Greeks and attacking Persians.

"It is appropriate that the sport with military roots be celebrated by the United States Marine Corps," says Rick Nealis, MCM Race Director. The MCM will receive the Marathon Flame on 21 October during a ceremony in Hopkinton, MA, the sister city of Marathon, Greece. The ceremony will include the lighting of the Marathon torch at 10.00 outside the Hopkinton Police Department. The next stop is a ceremony in Boston at 14.00 on 21 October, adjacent to the USS Constitution. US Marines and the US Navy crew of the USS Constitution will join the event while celebrating the ship's 213th birthday from its homeport at the Charlestown Navy Yard. On 22 October the Flame will make an early-morning stop in New York City before continuing to the Philadelphia Vietnam Veteran's Memorial located near Tun Tavern, the birthplace of the United States Marine Corps, for a ceremony at 15.00.

Following the last stop in Philadelphia, the Marathon Flame will arrive at Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA, to be incorporated into a variety of programs throughout MCM Weekend. In addition, Dimitri Kyriakides, official representative of the Municipality of Marathon will present "The Battle of Marathon: The Sport's Greek History" at 12.00 on 30 October at the Health and Fitness Expo to be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington DC


This year’s Athens Classic Marathon on 31 October may propel itself into the stratosphere that its legend and history deserves, writes Pat Butcher. It is the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon, whose legend created a place for a long distance race in the inaugural modern Olympic Games held in Athens in 1896. This year’s race, on the original course from Marathon to Athens, is a special celebration.

The Athens Classic Marathon has been relatively low-key since it was revived three decades ago. There were 3600 finishers last year, and Paul Lekuraa's 2008 race record of 2:12:42 is almost two minutes slower than the course record of 2:10:55, set by 2004 Olympic winner Stefano Baldini. But this year the elite entry has been beefed up, with Jonathan Kosgei Kipkorir leading the pack on paper, with his 2:07:31 personal best from Paris 2009. There are three other sub-2:10 Kenyans, as well as Lekuraa. The leading woman is Ashu Kasim of Ethiopia, who also ran her personal best of 2:25:49 in Paris last year.

Apart from the elite entry, the event has proved a hit with the mass public all across the world. The popular entry was limited to 20,000 yet oversubscribed within two weeks of opening. Baldini will be one of half a dozen special ‘marathon’ guests, who will be able to re-live their exploits at the Museum of the Marathon in the town itself, venue of the battle which both gave the race its name, and is still the starting point for the event.

Museum director Maria Polyzou is still the Greek national record holder for the Marathon, and two months ago retraced the steps of Pheidippides, completing another legendary run, from Athens to Sparta and back to the tomb of the fallen soldiers from 490BC, in Marathon. Unlike Phillipides, she survived the ordeal.

A surprise entry, at least to himself, is 1968 Boston Marathon winner Amby Burfoot, who was presented with an entry by his family while celebrating his 64th birthday two months ago. It was the quick way to get him back on his feet after knee surgery.

The municipality of Marathon, which has hosted the AIMS/IAAF Marathon Symposium for the last three years will share its place with Athens, the venue for this year’s 18th World Congress of AIMS. The 200 delegates from around the world will travel to Marathon on the day before the race for the traditional lighting of the Marathon Flame. The one that all marathoners carry inside.
Athens Classic Marathon & 2500 Year Anniversary logos Museum director Maria Polyzou is still the Greek national record holder for the Marathon, and two months ago retraced the steps of Pheidippides, completing another legendary run, from Athens to Sparta and back to the tomb of the fallen soldiers from 490BC, in Marathon. Unlike Phillipides, she survived the ordeal.

A surprise entry, at least to himself, is 1968 Boston Marathon winner Amby Burfoot, who was presented with an entry by his family while celebrating his 64th birthday two months ago. It was the quick way to get him back on his feet after knee surgery.

The municipality of Marathon, which has hosted the AIMS/IAAF Marathon Symposium for the last three years will share its place with Athens, the venue for this year’s 18th World Congress of AIMS. The 200 delegates from around the world will travel to Marathon on the day before the race for the traditional lighting of the Marathon Flame. The one that all marathoners carry inside.

5 October: With half a dozen runners featuring personal bests of sub 2:08 and another eight runners having achieved sub 2:10 times so far the Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon promises to produce yet another thrilling and high-class men’s race on 31 October. Gilbert Kirwa's course record of 2:06:14 from last year will be under threat. Germany’s oldest city marathon could well see its first sub 2:06 result. A record field of around 13,000 runners is expected to take part in the race. Online entry is still available at: www.frankfurt-marathon.com

The two men that could be the strongest in a deep field are Kenyans Sylvester Teimet and Wilson Kipsang. 26 year-old Sylvester Teimet broke into world-class this March, when he won the Seoul Marathon in 2:06:49. It was a close race until the final 2km, when Teimet finally dropped Kirwa. The Commerzbank Frankfurt Marathon course record holder was second in 2:06:59.

Wilson Kipsang is reported to be in good shape. The 28 year-old debuted by finishing second in Paris in April with 2:07:13 and has a half marathon best of 58:59 minutes. Four more runners have sub-2:08 times, the fastest being 27 year-old Elijah Keitany with a best of 2:06:41 from Amsterdam in 2009. David Mandago is just 12 seconds slower. The 32 year-old clocked 2:06:53 in Paris last year, but finished only sixth. also competing are three-time winner Wilfred Kigen (2005 to 2007 / PB: 2:07:33) and Francis Kiprop, 28, who was second behind world record holder Haile Gebrselassie in the 2009 Berlin Marathon with 2:07:04.

The AIMS programme on 3 October opened with the Colombo Marathon (more) in Sri Lanka, followed by four Marathons in Europe: the venerable Kosice Marathon (more) in Slovakia, now in its 86th year; the Sparkasse 3-Country Marathon (more) at Lake Constanz, where the borders of Germany, Austria and Switzerland converge; the Koln Marathon (more) in Germany and the Baxter's Loch Ness Marathon (more) in the north of Scotland.

With less than two weeks to go until the 31st Annual GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon, the Half Marathon has sold out, reaching its cap of 6,800. Registration totals to date have also exceeded the total number of registrations received in 2009 with 12,584 registered in all events, an increase of 300 over last year.

“We expected to reach the Half Marathon cap,” says Cathy Noel, General Manager. “The half marathon distance is the fastest growing in North America so we are following a very popular trend. To see a record number of registrations with 13 days to go proves the popularity of our event, and it is likely that we will see another surge before race day.”

With the Half Marathon sold out, entries will only be accepted in the Marathon and 8km road race. In 2009 some runners, disappointed at not getting into the Half Marathon, entered the Marathon and ran the Half. “These runners will be disqualified,” says Noel. Registration transfers are also not allowed. “We can’t have people giving or selling their entry to another person for medical and safety reasons. If someone wears another person’s bib, and they for some reason collapse on course, we won’t know who that person is.”

The Marathon numbers are also strong with over 2900 entries and the 8km road race has 2400. Noel urges those thinking about entering these races to do so soon as there is a good chance they will also sell out. The registration fees are $130 for the Marathon and $45 for the 8km road race. The Thrifty Foods Kids Run & Marathon remains at $15 until 9 October.

The 31st Annual GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon takes place on 10 October 2010. The Victoria Marathon is ranked number one in Canada for most Boston Marathon qualifiers and number two in Canada of top Boston Marathon qualifying races. For the second year it will host the 2010 Provincial Marathon Championships. There is $26,000 available in prize money with $3,000 each going to the top male and female and a $5,000 bonus for a new men’s or women’s course record. In 2006, Steve Osaduik broke a 25-year record by winning the Marathon in 2:16:49. In addition to the Marathon there is a Half Marathon, 8km road race and Thrifty Foods Kids Run & Marathon.
For more details, visit www.runvictoriamarathon.com.


On 26 September Leonard Komen set a new world record for 10km on the road in the Fortis Singelloop 10km (more) in Utrecht, with a time of 26.44 - 17 seconds faster than the old mark recorded by Micah Kogo.
 
The 37th real,- Berlin Marathon (more) was run in rain swept conditions but Patrick Makau edged Geoffrey Mutai 2:05:08 to 2:05:10, with 20-year old Bazu Worku in third, in 2:05:25
 
The Route du Vin Half Marathon (more) in Luxembourg, the Maratonina di Udine (more), the Turin Half Marathon (more) in Italy, and the Half Marathon of Portugal Vodafone (more) in Lisbon were all held on 26 September, along with the 25th SPAR Budapest International Marathon (more) in the Hungarian capital.

The Cape Town Marathon was run in South Africa while across the Atlantic the Costa Rica International 10km, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (more) and the Lake Tahoe Marathon (more) rounded off an action-packed day.

Patrick Makau of Kenya underlined his ascendancy over compatriot Geoffrey Mutai, when he won a rainswept 37th edition of the real,- Berlin Marathon on 26 September, in 2.05.08 writes Pat Butcher. He was two seconds ahead of Mutai, with 20 year old Ethiopian Bazu Worku third, in 2.05.25.

The two Kenyans are also the world's fastest marathoners this year, having finished in the same order at Rotterdam in April, in 2.04.48 and 2.04.55 respectively. Worku ran a personal best just ten days past his 20th birthday. The top three returned the fifth, sixth and seventh fastest times ever.

The one opponent that all fast marathoners fear is extreme weather. And though the leading contenders made a brave attempt to stay on pace, the chances of a seventh world record in 13 years in the German capital evaporated as the rain which had been falling steadily throughout the previous 12 hours increased as the race progressed on Sunday morning.

Nonetheless, with a temperature of 11C (52F), which endured throughout, with little or no wind, and only a gentle rain at the start, hopes were still high that a new record might materialise. But after 15k in 44.10, which was right on pace for Haile Gebrselassie's 2.03.39WR here two years ago, the tempo dropped, and a group of eight, including all the pre-race favourites, went through the 'half' in 62.37.

After 30km Worku and Mutai eased away from the pack and pacers, with Makau in close attendance. And so it remained for the next 8km. At 39km Makau looked as if he was starting to flag, but it was a ploy, whose success became apparent a half kilometre later, when he steamed past Worku.

Mutai had dropped away in the final kilometre in Rotterdam, but not here. The pair ran abreast through the Brandenburg Gate, with a final 400m to contest. Makau went away comfortably in the final 200m and was able to raise an arm in victory while still 20m from the line.

On his ploy at 39km, Makau admitted it was done on purpose. "To win a race, you need many things. To drop back some metres, and catch up again is usually very difficult, but it was one of my tactics".

Waiting past the finish line to greet the top two was Kenyan Prime Minster, Raila Odinga, whose big bear hug for Makau and Mutai can only increase his own popularity.

The Ethiopian pair of Aberu Kebede and Bezunesh Bekele dominated the women's race up to 25km, at which point Kebede eased away to win by exactly one minute.


On 19 September Blackmore's Sydney Running Festival (more) started action for the day, followed up in Europe with the Wachau Marathon (more) along a particularly scenic stretch of the Danube in Austria, the Varazdin Half Marathon (more) in Croatia the popular Dam to Damloop (more) over a 10-mile course from Amsterdam to Zandam with 30,000 runners, and the Hans Christian Andersen Marathon (more) in the Danish town of Odense.

Passing into the western hemisphere the Maraton Leon Indepencencia took place in Mexico.


The racing programme on 11 September started with the Novosibirsk Half Marathon (more) before moving to Europe with the Ruskamarathon (more) in Finland and the Stockholm Half Marathon (more). The Jungfrau Marathon (more) was run in Switzerland, near Interlaken, before the Tesco Grand Prix Prague (more) was run in the Czech capital at nightfall.

On 12 September action in Europe was concentrated around the east end of the Baltic, with the SEB Tallinn Marathon (more) in Estonia, the Vilnius Marathon (more) in Lithuania, the Moscow Marathon and the Wroclaw Marathon (more) in Poland. Over the Atlantic, the Maraton de la Ciudad de Mexico (more) was run and the Medio Maraton Ciudad de Medellin (more) follows on from the meeting of Latin American race directors which convened the previous day.

The Marathon as we know it today is little more than 100 years old, but the springboard from which it launched was the Battle of Marathon, fought 2500 years ago, on September 490BC. This is the anniversary that we celebrate in 2010. Nothing like the Marathon was ever seen in the ancient Olympics, run from 776BC to 261AD. The longest race then was less than 5km. The Marathon was adopted in 1896 as a central part of the modern Olympic programme, and takes place in countless cities all over the world today, purely because of its popular appeal to the imagination, stemming from the Marathon legend of 2500 years ago.

In 490BC the Persian Army, the greatest imperial power of the age, had mustered an estimated 150,000 troops to invade Greece, in order to punish the small city state of Athens for their earlier support of the Ionian Revolt, a military rebellion against absolutist Persian rule that lasted from 499BC to 493BC. Led by Generals Datis and Artaphernes, they launched their attack from the Gulf of Marathon. The Athenian forces consisted of 10,000 citizen-soldiers, including 1000 soldiers from Plataea, and were lead by General Miltiades. The two forces met near the small village of Marathon, to the north of Athens, in September 490BC. At that time, the Persian military was the greatest fighting force of the era, and the odds were heavily against the Athenians.

Despite being greatly outnumbered the Athenians fought and won the Battle of Marathon. The casualties were recorded as 192 Athenians, 11 Plataeans and 6400 Persians. The 192 Athenians were buried in a tomb near the Village of Marathon, at an area today called the Tomb of Marathon. This battle was one of the proudest moments in the history of ancient Greece. The Athenian and Plataean forces, unassisted, beat the Persians for the first time on land. The victory endowed them with a faith in their destiny which was to endure for three centuries, during which time western culture was born. It is said that a defeat of the Athenians in this battle could easily have changed the tide of history and that Classical civilisation was saved by the few, to become the heritage of the many.

Although the writings do not mention his name, the legend says that a brave Athenian called Pheidippides, who had previously run to Sparta and back seeking military aid, ran the 40km (approximately 25 miles) from the battlefield at Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory. “Nenikèkamen” (“We are victorious”) or “Niki” (“Victory”) and then collapsed from exhaustion and died. He may have also taken part in the battle.

This is the tale upon which the modern Olympic Marathon rests: the mythic run of Pheidippides from Marathon to Athens.


On 4 September in the Fjord Norway Half Marathon (more) just to the north of Bergen Girma Assefa was more than nine minutes ahead of his nearest rival Bjarte Eikanger (1:04:58 to 1:14:02). Audhild Hestad won a closer women's contest with Gro Svendal(1:25:28 to 1:26:25).

Faster times were recorded in hald marathons run elsewhere in Europe, with Cosmas Kyeva running 1:03:31 and Agnieszka Gortel 1:12:52 in the Pila International Half Marathon (more); Edwin Kipyego 1:03:08 and Claire Hallisey 1:12:02 in the Bristol Half Marathon (more), and fastest of all, Hailu Mekkonen 1:01:53 and Caroline Kilel 1:09:11 in the Great Scottish Run (more) in Glasgow

The 25th Nike Budapest International Half Marathon (more) was held in Hungary and the Torshavn Marathon (more) in the Faroe Islands.

Across the Atlantic the Medio Maraton Atlas de Guadalajara (more) was run in Mexico, while halfway across the Pacific the Kaua'i Marathon (more) was won by Michael Wardian - only one week after finishing third in the IAU 50km trophy race in Ireland.


After Haile Gebrselassie's four wins (including two world records) this year's real,- BERLIN-MARATHON on 26 September is wide open. With Haile opting to run in New York, seven runners in the field have sub-2:07 times, three of them under 2:06. Patrick Makau and Geoffrey Mutai top the list with their 2:04:48 and 2:04:55 times recorded in the Rotterdam Marathon earlier this year.

Makau won the Vattenfall Berlin Half Marathon in 2007 and 2008, and in 2007 set a course record and personal best of 58:56 (which he has since improved to 58:52 in the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in 2009. Eliud Kiptanui, 21, recently won the Prague Marathon in 2:05:39 - in only his second effort at the distance. Bazu Worku (ETH), 20, ran 2:06:15 to get second at the Paris Marathon in 2009 and Gilbert Yegon (KEN), 22,won the 2009 Amsterdam Marathon in 2:06:18.

The race starts at 09.00 and is covered live in Germany by n-tv, and by Eurosport to Europe and Asia. Fuji TV will broadcast to Japan.

On the evening of 28 August the Ruta de las Iglesias 10km (more), was held in Quito, Ecuador, on a route lined by flaming torches.
 
On 29 August the Hokkaido Marathon (more) took place in sweltering conditions (27C, 70% humidity) in the northernmost of Japan's main islands. Debutant Cyrus Njui posted the second fastest time in the race's history to win in 2:11:22. Yumiko Hara won the women's race in 2:34:12. In Africa the Victoria Falls Marathon (more) was run in Zimbabwe. In Europe the Galway City Marathon (more) took place in the west of Ireland and the SSQ Quebec Marathon (more) was run in Canada.

27 August: The 2011 Comrades Marathon, an "up" run from Durban to Poetermaritzburg to be held on 29 May, launched on 26 August. Entries will be open from 09.00 on Wednesday 1 September 2010 for all athletes; this includes online entries at www.comrades.com.

The 2010 Comrades Marathon, the 85th celebration of the world’s biggest ultra-marathon, was hugely successful. Interest in the event is growing among South Africans and all over the world. The 2010 Comrades Marathon was the second largest ever, only surpassed by the millennium race in 2000. The race set new records for international (5%), female (24%) and novice (29%) participation. Organisers expect the Comrades Marathon to be officially recognised as the world’s biggest ultra-marathon by the Guinness Book of Records

Aspiring entrants should note the limit of 18,000 entries and that entry requirements must be met. Entries will be taken on a first-come first-served basis.

The Comrades Marathon Association is confident that it can repeat the success of the 2010 Comrades Marathon next year and expects a surge in interest from novices from all over the world, but mostly from South African athletes who have rediscovered the lure of the Comrades Marathon as a national icon and a “must do” event for sportsmen and women.

26 August: The 22,000th participant entered the 2010 Amsterdam Marathon earlier this week. Entries are 7500 higher than at the same time in 2009. The numbers are in line with the ambition announced at the beginning of this year: to be the biggest marathon in Europe by 2014, with 37,000 runners. The 35th edition of the Amsterdam Marathon will be held on Sunday 17 October.

Amsterdam is a city with international allure and is attracting runners in their thousands. Foreign participants, who often stay a few days to a week, boost the local economy. They visit theatres and museums, go out to eat and walk along the canals (which were this month put on UNESCO's World Heritage List).. Looking further ahead, the path that the Amsterdam Marathon is following with the Municipality fits perfectly with the ambition to hold the 2028 Olympic Games in the city.

Amstel Hotel - Amsterdam Marathon At present the count stands at 9000 participants from abroad, making the Amsterdam Marathon The Netherlands’ biggest one-day international sporting event. British runners top the list with over 3000 entries; Germany currently has 825, Belgium 600, Denmark 515 and Spain 425. Many runners from Sweden, America, Switzerland, Finland, Brazil and Israel (175) are also entered. Since the Tour de France started in Amsterdam this year, awareness of The Netherlands has grown in France again. To date, 1200 French entries have come in. Partly as a result of the start of the Giro d’Italia in Amsterdam last May, almost 700 Italians have entered.

13,000 Dutch runners have entered so far. The full marathon is on its way to a total of 11,000 national and international participants, 2500 more than last year. Entries are still being accepted until midnight on 19 September, unless the maximum number of participants has been reached. www.amsterdammarathon.nl.


The 27th edition of the Reykjavik Marathon Islandsbanka (more) was held in the Icelandic capital on 21 August, won by Björn Margeirsson in 2:33:57 and Rannveig Oddsdottir in 2:57:33.
 
The 17th edition of the Rio de Janeiro Half Marathon (more) was run on 22 August, with foreign participants from 20 countries among the 18000 field. Foremost among them were winning Kenyans Joshua Kiplagat Kemei in 1:04:03 and Eunice Jepkirui Kirwa in 1:14:37. The Intact Canadian Derby Edmonton Marathon (more) took place the same day, won by Canadians Brendan Lunty in 2:33:21 and Ellie Greenwood in 2:49:57.

The Helsinki City Marathon (more), run in the Finnish capital on 14 August, was won by Girma Gezahagne (ETH) in 2:22:36 and Leena Puotiniemi (FIN) in 2:49:11.

August 7: Two (male and female) world records have never before been set in the same road race, but this was achieved by Mary Keitany and Samuel Kosgei in the BIG Berlin 25km on 9 May 2010. These records have just been ratified by the world governing body, IAAF.

IAAF General Secretary Pierre Weiss sent a letter to the event organiser, Gerhardt Janetzky, on 6 August advising that both of the world records set at the BIG 25 Berlin have been ratified.

Mary Keitany (KEN), the World Champion in the half marathon, set a new record of 1:19:53, while Samuel Kosgei (KEN) recorded 1:11:50. Keitany's performance was a huge leap forward, lopping more than two minutes from the previous mark and ducked inside 1:20 for the first time.

Five world records have been set at the BIG 25 Berlin, which was started in 1981 by the French Allied forces as the “25km de Berlin”. It was the first road race in Germany to take place on roads through the centre of a major city.

The previous world records set in the BIG Berlin 25km were in 1997 by Kenneth Cheruiyot (KEN) in 1:13:58; in 2001 by Rodgers Rop (KEN) who lowered the record to 1:13:44, and then in 2004 by Paul Malakwen Kosgei (KEN) who set a new record at 1:12:45.

On 7 August the Yangmingshan Summer Marathon (more) took place in the Yangmingshan National Park in Chinese Taipei. Later the same day the Siberian International Marathon (more) was run in the city of Omsk.

5 August: The Portland Marathon, scheduled for 10 October, announced today that both the full Marathon and the Inaugural Portland Marathon Half are sold out. Ten thousand participants are registered for the 39th Portland Marathon and 3,000 are registered for the Half Marathon.

Only a few spaces are still available through the event's twelve official charities. The exclusive charity entries are for those running or walking the full or half marathons to help raise money for one of the charities.

Race director Les Smith commented: "It's fun to plan for a sold out event. It allows us the extra time to carefully plan our logistics because we know how many are coming to the party. We can fine-tune our systems to provide an even better experience for everyone.”

This year, the Portland Marathon will also host a Kids’ Obstacle Course Fun Run (ages 2-12) as part of a new Family Festival that will be held on the Saturday 9 October 2010. Registration for this event will be available at www.portlandmarathon.org.

Another change to the event lineup this year will be made due to potential conflicts between the new Portland Marathon Half course and the 5 mile event. The Five-Miler will not be run this year but will return next year, in the 40th anniversary celebrations, as a competitive “Downhill 10km Dash.”. The 10km walk continues this year as a non-competitive fun family event. Limited registration is available.

The big-city marathons have had a huge impact in the last 30 years, getting unprecedented numbers of people onto the roads writes Pat Butcher. Boston can even boast over a hundred years’ legacy, beginning as it did in the late 19th century.

But when the Athens Classic Marathon takes place later this year it will be celebrating an anniversary that puts all others into the shade. The year 2010 is the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon, an event which arguably ‘saved’ democracy in what would become Western Europe, and ultimately provided the impetus for the creation of the marathon race for the inaugural modern Olympic Games in Athens 1896.

The organisers of this year’s event, from the town of Marathon to the old marble Panathenaiko stadium in Athens, are putting on an unprecedented show for the race on Sunday, 31 October. Last year’s record field of 7000 has been increased to 20,000+, a quota that was filled within weeks of entry being opened at the start of the year. Elite entries already include Kenyans Isaac Macharia and Jonathan Kipkorir, both of whom have run just over 2.07, while famous guests so far include double Olympic marathon gold medalist Waldemar Cierpinski, Ron Hill, who won the Euro Marathon in Athens 1969, and Kathrine Switzer, whose gate-crashing of the hitherto all-male Boston Marathon in 1967 helped kick-start the explosion in women’s marathoning.
A local celebrity Maria Polyzou has already retraced the footsteps of the legendary Phillipides, and run from Athens to Sparta and back to Marathon (over 500 kilometres) within six days last week. Although retired from competitive running, Polyzou was eminently suited to the task, since she is still Greek women’s marathon record holder, and is currently Director of the Museum of the Marathon, in the town of Marathon itself.

The 18th World Congress of AIMS will be held in the Greek capital in the days preceding this year’s Athens Classic Marathon, and delegates will attend the traditional lighting of the Marathon Flame at the tumulus, the burial ground for those few score Hellenic soldiers who fell in the victorious Battle of Marathon against the invading Persians in 490BC.

On 1 August The Bogota International Half Marathon (more) took place in the Colombian capital, with its usual cast of thousands and a top-quality international elite field. Further north, the Northwest Passage Marathon (more) was held on Somerset Island in Nunavut. It is the western hemisphere's most northerly marathon and the world’s most northerly ultra marathon (55km), held under the 24-hour Arctic sun and against the backdrop of the fabled the Northwest Passage
 
On 31 July the first edition of the Australian Outback Marathon (more) took place within view of Ayers Rock. On the same day in the Swiss Alps the 25th anniversary Swissalpine Marathon (more) was run in the Davos resort, with Jonas Buud (SWE, 5:49:14) and Jasmin Nunige (SUI, 6:39:28) taking the laurels.

After two and a half millennia following The Battle of Marathon - an event widely acknowledged to have ensured the democratic legacy of Western culture - a Greek distance runner has replicated the feat of the legendary messenger Pheidippides.

Greek women’s marathon record holder Maria Polyzou had announced her intention to run the 520 kilometres from Athens to Sparta and back to Marathon virtually nonstop within six days, to mark the battle’s 2,500th year anniversary. As a result she set off from the Acropolis on 26 July and reached Sparta on 29 July before running back to The Tomb of Marathon. This required her to run the equivalent of a double marathon every day for a week, with minimal rest. “This is a special year for the sport and I want to be a part of our history" said Polyzou. "To put it simply, the marathon is part of my soul. You can’t undertake something like this if you do not believe in the whole idea of the marathon.”
 

The marathon celebrates the run of soldier Pheidippides from the battlefield near Marathon to Athens in 490 BC. Pheidippides was carrying the news of a Greek victory over the Persians and is said to have collapsed and died at the completion of his efforts.
But the original legend whose first report was 600 years after the battle, was that the messenger first went to Sparta to ask for help but was rebuffed due to the fact that the Spartans were in the middle of a religious festival. He then ran back to Marathon before going to Athens to announce the Greek victory following the successful efforts of 10,000 Athenian soldiers and 1,000 Plataeans who repelled King Darius’ invading army of Persia.

Polyzou was well prepared to spread the marathon spirit. At 42 she has been running marathons for 23 years. She is also the director of The Museum of Marathon and Vice President of Greece’s athletic federation SEGAS.
Having fulfilled her goal, she will be welcomed by General Secretary of the Ministry for Culture Panos Bitsakses.

Day 1

Greek Marathon record holder Maria Polyzou set off on 26 July in an attempt to cover the 541km distance from Athens to Sparta, emulating the feat of the ancient Athenian messenger Pheidippides immediately before the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC.

An earlier repeat of this performance was staged in 1992 by Panayiotis Skoulis, who was due to accompany 42-year old Polyzou but, now a septuagenarian, he has pulled out. Polyzou intends to complete the epic run alone, within seven days, as a means of marking the 2,500-year anniversary of Pheidippides' run.

Day 2

On the afternoon of 27 July, 36 hours into her quest, Polyzou had covered 120km and arrived outside Ancient Nemea, to the south of Corinth, approximately half way to Sparta. She has begun to feel the effects of her grueling effort, with pains in her legs and blisters on her feet, but her will remains undiminished. "As soon as we solve one problem, another comes up" said her husband Apostolis Mavrogiannis "but mentally she is as strong as ever".

Day 3

On the morning of Wednesday 28 July Maria Polyzou had shaken off the problems that came up on her second day of running in Pheidippides' footsteps and by Wednesday evening she was only 50km from Sparta.

Her pace is on schedule, too, as she had planned to reach Sparta on Thursday, and barring a significant problem she will be at the Peloponnesian city on Thursday afternoon.

Polyzou has been boosted by the support that residents of the areas she passes by give her, with her husband, Apostolis Mavrogiannis recounting what happened on Tuesday at the village of Malandreni.
"Some villagers had come out of Malandreni to see Maria run and asked her whether she needed anything, whether she wanted some food and so on. Maria was pleased to see their genuine interest and said she would love some chicken with spaghetti.

"A family named Kyriakopoulos rushed back to their village and prepared a home-made meal as Maria had wanted it, with exemplary hospitality, stating their pride for what Maria was doing. It was really moving," said Mavrogiannis.

King Leonidas statue at Sparta Day 4 - the return journey

Maria Polyzou reached Sparta at 12.00 on 29 July and started her journey back north to Athens and Marathon, as she braves the heat. She has now covered 255km of her 541km run from Athens to Sparta and back since and believes she will be at the Tomb of Marathon on Sunday evening as planned.
"I am facing unforeseen problems and I almost fainted 37km before reaching Sparta," she said. "It is such a great distance, endless kilometres to run, but I am going to make it back."

Polyzou had a rest on the night of 28 July before reaching Sparta and got to the famous statue of King Leonidas around noon. This is the landmark where athletes finish the 240km Spartathlon race every autumn, and Maria was visibly moved to have got there.
She got on her knees and touched the statue, holding a Greek flag, before collapsing in tears for what she had already achieved.
By early afternoon she had already started back north towards Tripolis, which she expects to reach on Friday (30 July).

If she completes the run, Polyzou will become the first woman ever to replicate the legendary feat of Pheidippides, a self-appointed task undertaken in celebration of the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon.

King Leonidas statue at Sparta Day 5 -Polyzou goes on, passing Tripolis

Maria Polyzou suffered injury and was running a high fever on Friday 30 July, but by evening time she was 200km from completing her 541km emulation of Pheidippides' run before the Battle of Marathon, 2500 years ago.

She passed Artemision Mountain, outside Tripolis, and expected to reach Ancient Nemea on Saturday. "Every day I get to a point where I think that I will quit within the next five minutes but I always go on" she said. "I draw strength from the people I see on the road. They come out of their villages to see me and help me. I am looking forward to reaching the Tomb of Marathon and paying my respects there," she concluded, before returning to her evening rest.

Day 6 - Polyzou approaches Corinth
 
Maria Polyzou was a few kilometres away from Corinth on the evening of 31 July and if all goes well she will be at the Tomb of Marathon by the evening of 2 August. She has shaken off the injuries and high fever that affected on Friday 30 August and has covered more than 400km since last Monday.
 
Polyzou spent a virtually sleepless night at the prefecture of Arkadia in central Peloponnese with fever getting the better of her, but got up from 05.00 on Saturday and started running towards Corinth. By early evening she was 13km to the south.
“The heat was unbearable today" said her husband Apostolis Mavroyiannis. "The tarmac was burning, but Maria is going on."

Day 7 - Maria Polyzou - where no woman has gone before

Maria PolyzouMaria Polyzou has run from Athens to Sparta and back within a week, becoming the first woman ever to revive the feat of ancient messenger Pheidippides.

Polyzou reached the Acropolis on 1 August at 23.00 with a broad smile on her tired face, as well as eagerness to continue to Marathon. She will reach the Tomb on Monday evening, where the 192 Athenians killed 2500 years ago in the Battle of Marathon were buried.

Polyzou was to have been accompanied by an experienced male runner but Panayiotis Skoulis had to pull out a few days before Polyzou set off.. Despite quickly realising that she was not adequately prepared for the run, she decided to go on. From the second day she had to endure pain in her knees, heat, blisters and high fever on the way back etc. Yet she continued.

Polyzou’s 541km run signals the start of celebrations for the 2500 year anniversary of the Battle that shaped the history of Europe.

On Monday evening at 20.00. the General Secretary for Sports Panos Bitsaxis will honour Polyzou for what she has achieved and what this signifies to the Greek nation: that even when problems seem insurmountable, one can still hope and strive for success. Polyzou has shown the Greeks that where’s a will, there’s a way. A long, very long way at that!


3 August: The Marine Corps Marathon and Athletes for a FitPlanet announced today the first-ever MCM Green Team Challenge. Runners are invited to enter the challenge to win the opportunity to run in the 35th edition of the race as the Marine Corps Marathon Green Team

Runners are asked to submit a green plan by entering the contest through www.marinemarathon.com. Entrants must detail a green plan for the most sustainable practices during training and participation at the 35th MCM on 31 October 2010.

Entries will be open from 2 - 15 August 2010. A team of judges will evaluate each green plan and chose two winners who best demonstrate how they can implement the most sustainable practices while participating in the marathon. Winners will be announced on the MCM and FitPlanet websites on 18 August.

The winning "green" plan will be posted on the FitPlanet Green Team webpage blog.

The two winners will each receive a pair of Brooks Green Silence running shoes, a performance shoe made from recycled and other earth-friendly components. Other prizes include a tote made from MCM recycled finish-line banners.

Together, MCM and FitPlanet aim to implement environmental practices to conserve natural resources and reduce waste, as well as set a good example for the participants, fans and communities where MCM events are held.

"The ultimate goal of this promotion is to increase awareness and demonstrate how runners can positively support event environmental initiatives through planned sustainable efforts," said Marc Goldman, MCM Sponsorship/Marketing Manager.

On 25 July the Westlink M7 Cities Marathon (more) was run on the highway linking the western suburbs of Sydney, between the towns of Liverpool, Fairfield and Blacktown.
 
Eighteen time zones to the west, the San Francisco Marathon (more) took place later that same day and incorporated a unique double crossing on the roadway of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

The Rio de Janeiro Marathon (more) was held on 18 July.

20 July: The Swissalpine Marathon in Davos, run for the 25th time on 31 July, is about more than just sport writes Anita Fuchs. It also means culture, nature and tourism. At every turn, runners are following in the footsteps of the Graubünden heraldic animal, the ibex. Both are persistent creatures that feel at home in the mountains. They are agile and move with ease through virtually impassable country and are not very fussy about what they eat.

Runners primarily eat carbohydrate-rich solid foods and drinks, whereas the ibex prefers grasses, herbs and low-growing woody plants which it finds in Alpine meadows and on rock faces. Runners finishing the 78km Swissalpine Marathon and the ibex (especially when it comes down from the summer mountain pastures for the winter) have many miles behind them. The ibex knows where it is going. So do the runners - because the route they follow heads up towards the mountain peaks. They scale the ascent to the culmination of the Swissalpine Marathon just like an ibex: with an assured gait and without stumbling.


Photo: http://www.swiss-image.ch/ But participants in the Swissalpine Marathon are not going to run into an ibex. In spite of this, the proud heraldic animal and symbol of Graubünden is ubiquitous. The logo incorporates a stylised ibex in an elegant black and fiery red design, along with - as in all things Swiss - the national cruciform.

The Graubünden provincial government is dotting the "i" on the occasion of the Silver Anniversary: it is sponsoring ibex trophies for the two winners of the 78km race. "The king of the mountains in the animal kingdom is the ibex, and in terms of mountain running it is the winners of the K78," said race founder and race director Andrea Tuffli.

Even without meeting an ibex, the Swissalpine Marathon guarantees runners an unforgettable encounter with nature. The course runs through idyllic surroundings in a unique mountain world. The culture of the region is all around: in the air and under the feet. The 42km event, run from Davos to Tiefencastel, is the first cultural marathon in Switzerland. A supporting programme under the name of "Highseven" offers a visit to the Convent of St. John on 27 July and the day after a trip on the Bernina Express railway. Both are UNESCO world heritage-listed and attract tourists from far and wide. The Swissalpine Marathon is an event – sporting, cultural and touristic - with wide international appeal.


13 July: Still three months away from the race on 10 October, entries are up by 24% for the 31st GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon compared to last year. More than 5,500 registrations have been received for all four events – the Marathon, Half Marathon, 8K Road Race and the Kids Run , with the ‘early bird’ deadline just two days away.

General manager Cathy Noel said “we see a commitment to an event but also to a healthier lifestyle”. “With an increase of 24% overall and 28% more women signed up compared to last year, it is evident that many are choosing running as their activity of choice.”

The ‘early bird’ marathon entry fee is $95. The deadline also applies to the Half Marathon and the 8K Road Race where the fees are $70 and $35. After July 15 regular registration fees will apply – $105 for the Marathon, $80 for the Half Marathon and $40 for the 8K Road Race. The entry fee for the Thrifty Foods Kids Run & Marathon remains at $15 until October 9.

The Victoria Marathon is ranked number one in Canada for most Boston Marathon qualifiers and number two in Canada of top Boston Marathon qualifying races. For the second year it will host the 2010 Provincial Marathon Championships. There is $26,000 available in prize money with $3,000 each going to the top male and female and a $5,000 bonus for a new men’s or women’s course record. In 2006, Steve Osaduik broke a 25-year record by winning the Marathon in 2:16:49. For more details, visit www.runvictoriamarathon.com.

On 10 July the 9th Zermatt Marathon (more) was held in the Swiss Alpine resort, climbing 1500m from the start at St Niklaus (1085m), through Zermatt to the finish at Riffelberg (2585m), with 29 four-thousand metre peaks towering all around.
 
On 11 July the 4th Marathon de Quito (ECU) (more) was run at 2800m altitude in the Ecuadorean capital.

On 3 July the Paavo Nurmi Marathon (more) took place in the great athlete's hometown of Turku, Finland.
 
On 4 July the Gold Coast Airport Marathon (more) (AUS) was won by James Kariuki in 2:13:53, while Yoshida Kaori (JPN) took the women's title in 2:31:33.

On 27 June action started with the Lake Saroma 100km (more) event in the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido, won by Olympic Marathon medalist Eric Wainana in 6:39:52 - nearly two hours inside the previous Kenyan national record. Japan's Nonyuki Araki was only 75 seconds behind him. I considerably warmer latitudes the Standard Chartered KL Marathon (more) was staged in the Malaysian capital. In a tight four-way finish Nelson Kirwa surged ahead to win by 9 seconds in 2:16:43. 
The only European event of the day was the Ergo White Nights Marathon (more) in St Petersburg, won by Mikhail Bykov (RUS)  in 2:19:15 and Olga Malevich (BLR) in 2:41:22.

In North America the Tangamanga Marathon (more) was held in in San Luis Potosi, Mexico and the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon (more) in which Kip Kangogo made a solo break from 11km and had the course record in his sights until the 18th kilometre, but then tailed off.

On 26 June the first edition of the Olomouc Half Marathon (more), a sister event to the Prague Marathon, right away recorded a sub-hour performance from Stephen Kibet - he appeared to have broken the barrier by a single second with Stephen Tum 100m behind him. However, it later emerged that the first three men to finish had unintentionally cut the course when following the TV motorbike. Victory instead went to Joseph Maregu in 1:03:20. In the women's race Asnakech Mengistu had a much easier win over Lucia Kimani 1:13:13 to 1:16:06. The Vidovdan 10km (more) road race was held in Brcko, Bosnia, and won by Gordon Mahago in 28:11, just a fraction of a second ahead of Sammy Kiprono. The Portumna Marathon, 50km & 100km (more) was run amid scenic forest landscape in Ireland.
On 19 June the Midnight Sun Marathon (more) was run in the Norwegian city of Tromso (80degN), finishing in daylight after midnight.
 
On 20 June the Marathon de l'Ile Maurice (more) took place along the scenic south west coast of the Indian Ocean island state.

The Santa Claus Marathon (more) took place in Rovaniemi (FIN) on 12 June, on a route that crossed the Arctic Circle.

In South America the Ultimas Noticias 15km (more) took place in Quito and the Laguna Phuket Int'l Marathon (more) took place in Thailand on 13 June.


For the Stockholm Marathon (more) on 5 June a record number of 20,136 runners were accepted, 1400 more than last year, and including 5,412 runners from Finland and a total of 8700 from 76 countries other than Sweden.

In the New York State capital of Albany Emily Chebet (KEN)set a new course record of 15:12 in the 32nd running of the Freihofers Run for Women 5km (more).

On 6 June The Zelenograd Half Marathon (more) was run in a town just outside Moscow, and the Metropolis Marathon Bydgoszcz-Torun (more) in Poland.

AIMS President Hiroaki Chosa visited the New York City Marathon and the oldest marathon in the world (since 1897), the famous Boston Marathon, from 7-12 April 2010.
After almost 20 years as a highly successful President of AIMS, Chosa will not be up for re-election at the 18th World Congress of AIMS to be held in Athens on 30 October 2010. He saw it as his duty to pay his respects to two of the founding members of AIMS, the New York City Marathon and the Boston Marathon, in recognition of their great achievements – and to thank them for their pioneering work for the international running movement over the past decades.
Fred Lebow (New York City) and Will Cloney (Boston) were founders of AIMS; both have since passed away. William T. Cloney was elected as the first AIMS president in May 1982.

Mr. Chosa was accompanied by vice-president Paco Borao and Board member Horst Milde (founder of the Berlin Marathon). In New York they met with Allan Steinfeld, who followed Lebow as race director of the New York City Marathon. The AIMS delegation also met with Ann Wells Crandell, senior vice-president and Richard Finn, press director for the New York Road Runners (NYCM president Mary Wittenberg was not able to attend as she had an invitation to the White House from First Lady Michelle Obama.


Former NYC Marathon race director Allan Steinfeld in Central Park - from where the modern Marathon boom was launched.

Chosa especially emphasised the international importance of the New York City Marathon for the development of the marathon boom and thanked the organisers for their exemplary support of mass participation and elite performance distance running and wished them continued success.
It was a matter of the heart for Hiroaki Chosa to visit the Boston Marathon, an active AIMS member and the oldest marathon in the world. In Boston the AIMS delegation met with Thomas S. Grilk, president of the BAA, Gloria G. Ratti, vice-president, and Guy Morse, race director.
A special ceremony to recognise and honour the achievements of the first AIMS president, William T. Cloney (who died on 16 January 2003 at age 91) took place at the cemetery in Milton, Massachusetts, which was also attended by William T. Cloney’s daughter, Mia Menjes.
Will Cloney, who was in large part responsible for the unbroken continuity of the Boston Marathon, was its race director from 1947–1982, president of the Boston Athletics Association (BAA) from 1964–1982 and the first president of AIMS from 1982–1983.
The visit concluded with dinner in the famous Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston, the athletes’ hotel for the Boston Marathon near to the finish line, and with an affirmation of the mutual respect and appreciation for the decades of harmonious cooperation in the interest of the sport of running.

In the 85th edition of the Comrades Marathon (more) on 30 May, over a slightly augmented new distance of 89.28km, Elena Nurgalieva beat her twin sister by a single second, after more than six hours' running. In the men's race Stephen Mizhingi retained his title in 5:29:01 
 
In the Ottawa Marathon (more) Arata Fujiwara ran 2:09:34, leading two others under the 2:10 barrier. In the women's section Merima Mihamed won easily in 2:28:19, nearly seven minutes ahead of her nearest rival.
 
Graeme Wilson won the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon (more) in 2:32:14, over six minutes ahead. Although Ellie Greenwood ran 2:52:23 to cut 10 minutes off the women's course record, her winning margin was only two minutes.

The second race of the AIMS Children’s Series 2010 took place in Kigali (RWA) on 22 May.

Organisers received 2287 registrations – mostly in a flood at the last minute. Supporting the event with their presence were top Kenyan runner Benjamin Limo and Dieudonne Disi, Rwanda’s top runner, but injured at the moment. Grant Robinson a 1500m semi-finalist in the Athens Olympics, also attended and all conducted some clinics with the children before the races, and ran with them. Boys and Girls races were run separately all wearing the AIMS T-shirts and at the finish scrambling for the finisher medals. The top finishers were awarded with ASICS shoes and bags in the national stadium the following day, when the Kigali Peace Marathon took place.


27 May: The Royal Victoria Marathon, to be held on 10 October, has secured a title sponsor for the next three years -. GoodLife Fitness. The race will now be known as the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon. “With the GoodLife partnership we will become a destination event for active people across the country” said general manager Cathy Noel.
 
“As the largest fitness club chain in Western Canada, GoodLife Fitness is thrilled to become lead sponsor of this prestigious event,” said David Patchell-Evans, company founder and CEO. “Competing in a marathon is a unique experience for all participants as they enjoy the city, its beauty and energy. Whether you are a first time marathoner accomplishing a significant goal, or a seasoned runner adding to your list of accomplishments, you are reinforcing your dedication to having the good life for yourself and inspiring others.”
 
It is the first time that the Victoria Marathon has acquired a title sponsor in its 31-year history. “[This is] the merger of a first-class running event with a blue-chip fitness business, both of which have a vision of exercise, good health and well-being,” said Bob Reid, President of the Victoria Marathon Society. Reid manages the elite athletes for the race and hopes to partner with the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon. “Our race, held in October, will co-operate with the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon – which moves from an October event in 2010 to May dates in 2011 and 2012 to cross-promote both events and present an opportunity for runners from east and west of Canada to compete in both marathons at a reduced rate." 

The second race in the AIMS Children's Series 2010 took place in Kigali, Rwanda, on 22 May, with children running a distance of 5km, starting and finishing inside the National Stadium.
 
AIMS races on the same day included the Goteborg Half Marathon (more) in Sweden and the Terwamarathon (more) in Oulu, northern Finland. In Italy the Nightmarathon started in the town of Jesolo, just west along the Adriatic coast from Venice, at 20.00, with many runners finishing the race after midnight.
 
On 23 May action started with the third annual edition of the Sunfeast World 10K Bangalore (more), in which Titus Mbishi ran 27:54, just missing the 27:51 course record of Zersenay Tadese. Yimer Wude clocked 31:58, to clip four seconds off the joint record of Elvan Abelegesse and Grace Momanyi, who finished 11th and 3rd respectively. Defending champion Aselefech Mergia (32:00) came in second, while Deriba Merga (28:32) finished fourth in the men's race. Back in Rwanda, the Kigali Peace Marathon (more) followed on from the previous day's AIMS Children's event. Across the border in Kenya the Sotokoto Safari Marathon  (more) was held at the Nairobi national park, in which participants got a chance to run next to the big five.
 
In Europe The Nordea Riga Marathon (more) was held in the Latvian capital, while the Nykredit Copenhagen Marathon (more) took place at the other end of the Baltic Sea. Further west, across the North Sea, the Edinburgh Marathon (more) was run through the Scottish capital. Finally, the Douro Valley Half Marathon (more) was run along the spectacularly scenic Douro River in northern Portugal.

On 15 May the Great Wall Marathon (more) took place in China, including a section along the wall itself featuring 5164 steps. Tong Qiang came out on top with a time of 3:24:44; the women's winner was Dutchwoman Inez-Anne Haagen in 3:56:38. The Three Hearts Marathon (more) in Slovenia celebrated its 30th edition, with Joshua Kurui taking the title in 2:19:38 and local Daneja Grandovec winning the women's race in 2:47:10
 
For 16 May the Lodz Marathon (in Poland) had been cancelled. The Wuerzburg Marathon (more) went ahead with 1700 registered runners through the picturesque German town.

The great Ethiopian athlete Haile Gebrselassie has been awarded the AIMS/ASICS Athlete of the Year Award, for a record-breaking third successive year. The award was presented during a ceremony on 2 May 2010 at the resort hotel being developed by Haile in Hawassa, Ethiopia.

AIMS General Secretary Hugh Jones presented the Golden Shoe on the eve of the inaugural Hawassa Half Marathon - a race staged by the "Great Ethiopian Eun" organisation of which Haile is himself patron. Never before has any runner become a triple winner of the award. Paul Tergat, Haile's predecessor as world record holder in the Marathon, has won the accolade twice, and graciously attended the ceremony as Haile's guest.

The AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year Awards were founded in 1992 and are decided from nominations made by the 300+ member races. Previous winners, apart from Tergat, include Josia Thugwane (South Africa), Ronaldo da Costa (Brazil), Abel Anton (Spain), Khalid Kannouchi (USA), Stefano Baldini (Italy) and Jaouad Gharib (Morocco).

AIMS president Hiroaki Chosa commented: "It is a privilege to honour Haile's achievements. This third successive Golden Shoe confirms that he is not just an athlete of the highest calibre but is probably "the greatest" marathon runner the world has yet seen."


10 May:  After her phenomenal world record in the BIG 25km Berlin on 9 May Mary Keitany is already looking ahead to the marathon. The 28 year-old is capable of becoming the world’s next great marathon runner. The London Olympics in 2012 is the obvious target.

Keitany has three sisters and one brother. Her eldest sister started running at school. “I saw that she was talented and thought that I should try this as well,” says Mary Keitany. She did, and is now the world’s number one road runner. Before her 25km world record Keitany was honoured with the AIMS/ASICS Athlete of the Year Award. In 2009 she dominated the Half Marathon and recorded the second fastest ever time, of 66:36,

Mary Keitany started running at school only trained seriously from the age of 18. At the end of 2006 she ran in Europe for the first time - a half marathon in Spain. “In April 2007 Gianni Demadonna opened a training camp in Iten, which is where Mary lives”, explains her current coach Gabriele Nicola, who works for Demadonna’s management.


Photo credit: Victah Sailer/photorun.net

Keitany joined the group and Nicola took over as her coach. She won the silver medal in the World Half Marathon Championships in 2007, breaking the Kenyan record, but then pregnancy interrupted her running career. “My son Jared was born in June 2008,” says Mary Keitany. She is married to Charles Koech, who has a 10km PB of 27:56 and has run a 61:27 half marathon.

Since giving birth Keitany has fulfilled all of her goals: to qualify for the World Half Marathon Championships and to run well (she won); to win the Abu Dhabi Half Marathon (she did, in 1:07:14); and to break the world 25km record. The next step, the marathon, will be taken this autumn, She is already prepared: "she has run between 180-200km/week in training”, explains Gabriele Nicola. “So far my longest training runs were 30km”, says Keitany.

"There are not many runners who can even think of attacking the women's marathon record,” says Gabriele Nicola (Paula Radcliffe's 2:15:25 from 2003), but: “Mary has great potential. We only get a Mary Keitany every 20 years.”

10 May: The Comrades Marathon race route has changed and slightly lengthened for this year's edition on 30 May. The official distance is confirmed as 89.28km, 110m longer than last year. The increase is as a result of changing the exit route from Pietermaritzburg in order to facilitate an easier and faster flow for the 23 000 athletes expected to start the race. “It is still pitch dark at 05.30 in the morning when the race gets underway" said general manager Gary Boschoff. "We also wanted to keep the race distance as close as possible to that of the 2009 race, which was also a 'down' run”.

To date 19,300 runners' entries have been confirmed, of 23,500 expected. The already confirmed entries make this the second biggest field assembled under the Comrades banner in the 85 year history of the event. Comrades will attempt to be included in the Guinness Book of Records as the Ultra-Marathon (80km and longer) with highest number of finishers. 26% (approximately 5000) of those entered are first timers. “This achievement is a huge vote of confidence in Athletics and Road Running in particular" said race director Johan Van Staden. "It is fantastic to see the commitment from both local and international athletes to the Ultimate Human Race.”

Of six AIMS events held on 9 May, five were in Europe. In the BIG 25 Berlin (more) Sammy Kosgei and Mary Keitany broke the world 25km records, with Kosgei (1:11:50) taking 55 seconds from the mark held by namesake Paul Kosgei since 2004. Keitany improved on Mizuko Noguchi's time (1:22:13, set en route to a Berlin Marathon finish in 2005) to 1:19:53. In the Volkswagen Prague Marathon (more) both course records fell, with Helena Kirop running 2:25:29 and Eliud Kiptanui 2:05:39, making him the 20th fastest marathon runner ever.
 
Other Marathons held were the Skopje Marathon (more) in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Geneva Marathon (more) and the Martin Fiz Marathon (more) in the Basque country city of Vittoria. 
 
The hugely popular Vancouver Sun Run 10km (more) was run on the Canadian Pacific Coast, and attracted upwards of 50,000 runners, headed by Kip Kangogo (29:02) and Malindi Elmore (33:06).

6 May: Mary Keitany (KEN) has been awarded, the AIMS/ASICS Athlete of the Year Award in Berlin, Germany where on 9 May she contests the BIG Berlin 25km race, in which expectations of her setting a World record are high.

AIMS Board Member Horst Milde presented the AIMS/ASICS Golden Shoe to Keitany at a ceremony prior to the race. She becomes the first Kenyan woman to win the award since Catherine Ndereba in 2001.

28-year old Keitnay, set a new personal best of 32:09 in the World 10K Bangalore in May 2009 and in October went on to win the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Birmingham in a new personal best of 1:06:36 - the second fastest time ever run. She took a second gold as part of the winning team, all just 15 months after the birth of her son Jared.

The AIMS/ASICS World Athlete of the Year Awards were founded in 1992 and are decided each year from nominations made by AIMS member races, of which there are over 300 in 91 countries. Recent winners include Paula Radcliffe (GBR), Mizuki Noguchi (JPN), Lornah Kiplagat (NED) & Constantina Dita (ROM).

AIMS President Hiroaki Chosa commented: “It is my pleasure to acknowledge the great achievements of Mary Keitany. Mary had an exceptional year in 2009 and proved that she is an athlete of the highest standard”

Mary Keitany said: “It is a fantastic honour to join a list of such esteemed winners, and a great source of inspiration to me. I would like thank AIMS, ASICS and everyone involved. I am happy to be here in Berlin and I am looking forward to taking part in the 25K event.”

More than 10,000 entries are expected for the 30th edition of the BIG 25 Berlin, which will also features a 10 k race, a 5×5 k relay and a children’s event. All events will finish on the blue track inside the famous Berlin Olympic Stadium, which hosted the IAAF World Championships last summer.


Teyba Erkesso has gone from "up-and-comer" to "the one to watch" and now, after her victory at last month's Boston Marathon, "the one to beat". Erkesso's versatility makes her dangerous at almost any distance. Now, with one of the marathon's "crown jewels" under her belt, Erkesso is setting her sights again on the 5km, defending her title at the 32nd edition of the Freihofer's Run for Women, scheduled for Saturday 5 June in Albany, NY.

Elite athlete recruiter John Tope enthused: "It's great to see your defending champion return. There are few people who can successfully run from 5km to the Marathon but Erkesso is one of those people." In January, she defended her Houston Marathon title with a new course record (2:23:53). She placed fourth at the RAK Half-Marathon in February, before going on to win the race of her life at the Boston Marathon. "Having athletes of Teyba's caliber, three-time champion Benita Willis (Johnson) and others reinforces that Freihofer's is one of the premier women's races in the United States." said Tope.

With only four weeks remaining till race day, organizers are pulling together yet another stellar elite field for the event. The race offers $27,000 in prize money with the winner taking $10,000.

5 May: Runners already registered for the 35th Marine Corps Marathon on 31 October who find themselves unable to participate can defer entry to 2011. Many races, particularly those which are over-subscribed, operate such a policy, in order to avoid runners risking injury by running while ill or injured.

Like most such races, Marine Corps Marathon maintains a no refund policy, so runners have to pay $30 to defer their 2010 registration to the following year's event, and also submit an accompanying form. Deferment cannot be for more than one year, but all deferments from 2010 to 2011 will be accepted up to 30 September.

From January 2011 runners who have deferred will receive email reminders with a one-time password with which they must re-register to run in the 2011 race. Once a deferment is made, no additional fees will apply.

4 May: The Amsterdam Marathon is set to grow considerably in the next few years. The Le Champion organisation has been working on an ambitious plan to increase the number of participants to 37,000 in the next four years, in an effort to become one of the biggest marathons in Europe.

“Along with London and Berlin, this marathon is very appealing to people from abroad,” said race director Cees Pronk. “Runners from Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Scandinavia and Switzerland all come to Amsterdam in large numbers. For the next edition we are expecting 10,000 foreign runners. The course is fast and flat and the many tourist sights in the city make it very attractive. It is a city marathon where sport, culture and art come together.”

37,000 runners by 2014 is a realistic target, considering that in 2000, the first year Le Champion organised the race, 6,400 runners entered the Marathon and half marathon. Five years later the count stood at 19,500 and last year 25,700 people entered. Pronk said: “We expect an increase of 15,000 participants in the full marathon compared to 2009, when 9,500 runners ran. The Mizuno Half Marathon will also see a comparable increase. The number of entries at this moment is already much greater than at this time last year.”

The Amsterdam Marathon is the sixth fastest marathon in the world. Elite runners are keen to make their marathon debut in Amsterdam because of the fast course and the sound organisation. Many, like Tsegay Kebede, go on to start in pole position at the ‘bigger’ marathons.

Plans are supported by the City Council of Amsterdam, who plan to bring the 2028 Olympic Games to The Netherlands, 100 years after they were held in Amsterdam. Le Champion director Simone Richardson said: “To realise this Olympic ambition we need top international events in the capital and in growing the marathon, we have our Olympic ambitions in mind.” Amsterdam Marathon includes some parts of the original course on which the 1928 Olympic Games Marathon was run. The 35th Amsterdam Marathon will be held on 17 October 2010.

Six Marathons were held on 2 May, two each in Europe, North America and South America.
 
The 11th edition of the Maratona d'Europa (more) was run in Trieste (ITA) followed by the METRO Group Marathon Duesseldorf (more), in which Iaroslav Musinschi of Moldova posted a European leading time of 2:08:31 on the flat, fast course beside the River Rhine. Natalia Volgina took the women's race in 2:30:47
 
In North America the New Jersey Marathon (more) offered a two-lap course with Atlantic views, won by Michael Arnstein in 2:37:54 and Holly Parker in 3:13:18. In the BMO Vancouver Marathon (more) victories went to Kenyans Thomas Omwenga (2:16:55) and Emmah Kituki (2:37:17).
 
In South America the continent's largest city hosted the Sao Paulo Marathon (more), while in the Peruvian capital the second edition of the Lima 42km was run.

Patrick Ivuti returns to the Volkswagen Prague Marathon on 9 May hoping to record his third victory in the city after winning the half marathon in 61.00 in 2007, and the Marathon last year writes Pat Butcher.

In both events he set course records, 1:01:00 and 2:07:48. His win last year left him just two seconds shy of the personal best he recorded in his debut in Chicago 2005. Two years later, on a sweltering day in Chicago, Ivuti had the biggest win of his career, outsprinting twice world champion Jaouad Gharib of Morocco.

Due to the 30C heat, the time was slow (2:11:11), and a recommendation from brother-in-law Jimmy Muindi, a six-time winner of the Honololu Marathon himself, that Ivuti go there has resulted in similarly slow times for Ivuti’s sucessive two victories in Honolulu. But Prague last year proved that Ivuti is not exclusively a warm weather runner. He is unbeaten in four marathons over the last two years.

Other top contenders include Yemane Tsegay, fourth in last summer’s IAAF World Championships who has run 2.06.30, and finished a close third in the Hervis Prague Half-Marathon on 27 March. Nicholas Kipruto Koech lowered Ivuti’s half-marathon record to 1:00.07 in Prague last year.

In the women’s race favourite Helen Kirop (2:24:54) is up against the experienced Russian Lyubov Morgunova (2:25:12), and either of them could surpass the current Prague women’s record of 2.26.33, set by Maura Viceconte of Italy in 2001.

Entries, which remain open until the day before the race, have already reached 6600, with a huge 50% representation from abroad. Last year’s field numbered 5800.

No less than seven AIMS marathons took place on 25 April, six of them in Europe, but the first event off was the Golden Horn Half Marathon (more), bursting into life again on the European side of the Bosphorus after a gap of 17 years since the last edition was held.
 
The Cracovia Marathon (more) in Poland followed, along with the Enschede Marathon (more) in Holland, the Mobel Kraft Hamburg Marathon (more), the Antwerp Marathon (more), the Sant Antonio Marathon (more) in Padua, and the Marathon Popular de Madrid (more). In Madrid Thomson Cherogony recorded a new course record of 2:11:27
 
The Big Sur International Marathon (more), run along the scenic Californian coastline, enjoyed a sell-out entry of 4600 full marathoners from all 50 US states and 49 countries.

22 April: Venice is a city built upon water, and the Venicemarathon every year has to build its own bridges to allow runners to negotiate the final few kilometres of the marathon route across the canals of the city to the finish line. Taking water as the theme to of the Venicemarathon solidarity programme, surpluses raised from Venicemarathon operations have been used to provide clean drinking water in developing countries. In the most recent project of this sort students of the primary school of Loputuk in the Katamoja region of northeastern Uganda will no longer have to lug heavy tanks for miles to get water, thanks to a new well dug in collaboration with Africa Mission – Cooperazione e Sviluppo. This was made possible thanks to the fundraising campaign promoted during the marathon last year. Venicemarathon participants and those in the two Family Runs supplemented race dues with donations and bought special bracelets and t-shirts at the race expo. Alex Zanardi’s race tracksuit was auctioned, and suppliers made their own contributions. The well is in a very dry region and will supply over 100 primary school pupils and 700 inhabitants of the village with drinking water. The solidarity programme is run in co operation with the project Run for Water, Run for Life and from 2006 to date seven wells have been dug and three have been renewed in Uganda to supply over 9,000 people.

On 17 April the Pardubice Wine Half Marathon (more) was run in the Czech Republic, won by Comas Kyena in 1:03:10 and Jane Gakunyi who just bested Purity Macharia, both being timed at 1:13:21.
 
On 18 April the Nagano Olympic Commemorative Marathon (more) was won by Nicholas Chelimo in 2:10:24 with the Australian Lisa Wrightman taking the women's title in 2:28:48. In Europe the Alexander the Great Marathon (more) was run in Thessaloniki, and in a windy Belgrade Marathon (more) Johnstone Maiyo out-finished a group of his countrymen to win in 2:16:23, with Hellen Mugo first woman in 2:41:19. The Vienna Marathon (more) was also windy, but this did not stop Henry Sugut from recording an impressive 2:08:40 - a personal best by two minutes. Hellen Kimutai, who finished second in Vienna 10 years ago, won the women's race in 2:31:08
 
The Nice Half Marathon (more) in the South of France and the Semi Marathon de Rabat (more) in the Moroccan capital rounded off action for the day.
 
The BAA Boston Marathon (more) celebrated its 114th edition on Monday 19 April with a new course record of 2:05:52 by Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot (not to be confused with three-time winner Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot). In the women's race Teyba Erkesso launched a strong attack and was clear before halfway, but at the end only just held off a late charge by Tatyana Pushkareva, 2:26:11 to 2:26:14.

17 April: Success is not always measured in fast marathon times writes Pat Butcher. Christopher Cheboiboch ran 2:08:17 in New York eight years ago and runs the Belgrade Time Force Marathon, in the Serbian capital on 18 April.

He has finished second in both Boston and New York and has been proactive in the use of his prize money. While many of his contemporaries invest in livestock or farm equipment, Cheboiboch’s priority was to open a junior school in his home town of Iten, also the location of the famous St Patrick’s secondary college - which is virtually a finishing school for Olympians.

Harking back to his own barefoot childhood, Cheboiboch said: “It was very hard times for us, 4km to school on foot in the morning, going home for lunch, back again, and in the evening going home. Unknowingly it was training for us. But the problem we had, the school fees were not enough.

“I told myself I don’t want my kids to suffer that way, so I used my money that I won in Boston and New York to build a primary education school, Salaba Academy. My wife Rebecca is manager, she has a degree from Moi Campus. We have 369 children in the school, but I also have a group of 56 I’m coaching, not all from the school, because we want to see others develop too. I hope around five of them will run in the African Junior Champioships this year.

“This dream has to come side by side with my running. When I run good, I know the kids in Kenya, learning in the school will also benefit from me. And, of course my family. And definitely my life will change. I know sports has changed me since I ran marathons.”

16 April: Every year the Comrades Marathon, celebrated as “the Ultimate Human Race”, offers a programme of material support to disadvantaged runners wishing to participate. Organisers will be providing 1000 runners with a roof over their heads, a comfortable mattress and blankets. Washing facilities and a substantial meal on the evenings prior to and after the race will be provided. Breakfasts on race day and the morning after will also be served.

“For many of our runners, the greatest struggle is overcoming poverty and simply getting to the starting line" said Comrades Marketing Coordinator, Thami Vilakazi. "We appreciate their courage and commitment and wish to ensure that they have a roof over their heads, are well-rested and have had decent sustenance when they get to the start. Comrades is South Africa’s most inclusive sporting event and this entails catering for runners across the socio-economic spectrum." Organisers have provided similar support to disadvantaged runners for the past 10 years. Following each year’s race the mattresses and blankets used are donated to charities in the Pietermaritzburg and Durban areas.

This year accommodation will be made available at the YMCA in Pietermaritzburg on 29-30 May. Transportation will be provided at 18.00 on 29 May from the race expo in Durban to the YMCA in Pietermaritzburg and from The finish in Durban on 30 May back to the YMCA in Pietermaritzburg after the race, from 18.30. Although there is no charge to the runners, for planning purposes they must apply to the organisers by 30 April. Applicants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis up to a limit of 1000.

15 April: Günther Weidlinger and Andrea Mayr are chasing national records in the Vienna City Marathon on 18 April. If they succeed it would be the first time that both marks are broken in the same race. They also hope to become the first Austrian runners to break the 2:10 and 2:30 barriers.

A record number of around 32,500 runners have entered the 27th edition including associated races at shorter distances. A live stream will be available on www.vienna-marathon.com from 08.40.

Last year Weidlinger debuted here but a hip problem hampered him. In the Commmerzbank Frankfurt Marathon he went on to smash the 23 year-old Austrian record with a time of 2:10:47. “This will be a home game for me” said Weidlinger. “Of course I am nervous – but if I would not be then I would not run a good race.”

Andrea Mayr is the defending champion in Vienna. It was her first and only marathon so far, and she recorded 2:30:43, the current national record. "Breaking 2:30 is quite a goal” said Mayr, who had major international success as a mountain runner and is also the national steeplechase champion.

13 April: The Paris Marathon on 11 April not only secured a new French National record of 2:24:22 by second-placed Chantal Daunay, but also enjoyed a record number of entries (40300, up from 39511 in 2009). Of these 32741 registered at the expo, (2009: 32601), 31566 started the race (2009: 31373) and 30815 finished. the previous record was 30 772 finishers in 2006.

12 April: Comrades Marathon revisits history

Prior to 1975 non-white runners were not eligible to compete in the Comrades Marathon due to South Africa’s racial policies at the time. Since then Comrades has become a race that epitomizes human spirit, friendship and camaraderie shared between all runners irrespective of race, sex, or social class.

Bernard Fridman entered and ran the Comrades Marathon in 1972, and finished in 9:12:22 to gain a bronze medal. He ran again in 1974, but did so unofficially to protest against the exclusion of non-whites. Although white himself he felt it important to show solidarity with his fellow runners, and that he could not morally enter a race that was closed to a large proportion of South African runners. Bernard completed his unofficial race in a time of approximately 6:30:00. This would have won him a silver medal, but the unofficial status of his run meant he did not receive anything for his efforts. In 1975 the Comrades Marathon Association opened the race to all, allowing previously excluded runners to participate in the race and demonstrating the stance taken by the Comrades Marathon Association towards the South African Government’s racist legislation of the time.


Dave Dixon, Chairman Comrades Marathon Association, Bernard Fridman &
Gary Boshoff, General Manager, Comrades Marathon Association
Bernard Fridman entered the 1975 race and finished in a time of 7:00:00, to achieve a silver medal. He entered officially again in 1976 and 1977 finishing the race in 06:14:00 and 07:14:00 respectively and again being awarded silver medals. A special award ceremony was held at Comrades house on 12 April 2010 to officially recognize Fridman's 1974 performance and retrospectively award him a silver medal. He was also recognized as one of the “Forgotten Comrades” for taking a stand against the oppressive Apartheid laws of the time.


The Spring Marathon season got underway in earnest on 11 April with six marathons held on three continents. The Daegu Int'l Marathon (more) in Korea was off, as a test event for next year's IAAF World Championships in Athletics. In Europe four major Marathons took place: The Milan Marathon (more), the Zurich Marathon (more), the Rotterdam Marathon (more) and the Paris Marathon (more).

With Patrick Makau's 2:04:48 win the Rotterdam Marathon became the fastest marathon in the world on two counts: the top-10 performances ever, and the top-10 performances since 2007. Behind Makau there was a best-ever for 4th by Feyisa Lelisa. After the 2010 race the average of top-10 performances in Rotterdam is 2:05:15, 15 seconds faster than the average for Berlin. The average of top-10 performances since 2007 in Rotterdam is 2:05:20, 29 seconds faster than the average in London. Makau covered the last 2195m in 6:10, which is same as Ronald da Costa when he set his world record in 1998, but still slower than 6:05 Mutai took in the 2009 Eindhoven marathon. He ran his last 7195m in 20:56, two seconds slower than Haile Gebrselassie's time when he set his world record. Da Costa ran this section in 20:50, and Mutai in 20:29.
After the 2009 finish in Rotterdam, in which the third and fourth fastest times ever run were posted, the organisers quietly insured against the "risk" of a world record faster than Haile Gebrselassies existing 2:03:59. At the start this looked like a wise move as a very big group with six pace makers went out fast, with 5km splits of 14:47, 29:15, 43:56 and 58:39 - all within those Gebrselassie had run during his world record in Berlin, 2008. The group passed halfway in 1:02:08 just three seconds down on world record pace but then slowed and it seemed as if sub-2:05:00 times were beyond reach. But then came the long kick for home.

In Paris Tadesse Tola sliced nine minutes off his personal best to win the men's race in 2:06:41, while Atsede Baysa defended her title with a world-leading time of 2:22:03
 
In South America the Santiago Marathon (more) was held in the Chilean capital, and the only non-Marathon AIMS event, the Sao Paulo Half Marathon Corpore (more) took place in Brazil's biggest city.
9 April: The Big Sur International Marathon, to be held on 25 April, offers a scenic and descriptive course video tour in advance its 25th Presentation. The 15-minute video, divided into three segments, gives viewers a runners-eye perspective of the 26.2 mile marathoner’s journey. Produced and distributed by New York based RCI TV, the Big Sur Marathon video course tour is the first of several prominent race tours in development, designed to be shared in the social media arena.

“It gives us an opportunity to show why we’re known as one of the most beautiful courses in the world." said Julie Armstrong, Marketing Director of the Big Sur Marathon. The video provides useable information for runners, and a high quality, entertaining overview for all viewers. The videos also enable advertisers to serve relevant ads to a highly targeted, interactive audience, and can be embedded on any website and can be easily shared. Race organizers and sponsors are able to insert relevant clickable video ads into the stream wherever the videos are being watched. Currently Big Sur Marathon sponsors Asics and Gatorade introduce the individual segments with 5-second branded spots. For the 12,000 runners registered for the upcoming Big Sur International Marathon the video gives a preview of the course. The video can currently be seen on the homepage of the Big Sur Marathon website at www.bsim.org.

9 April: Almost 1,000 runners per hour registered for the Marine Corps Marathon (to be held on 31 October) when the entry system opened on 7 April. After 24 hours 23,793 had registered per hour, resulting in almost 80 percent of the 30,000 slots sold.

Runners from all 50 states and 48 countries are designated to run the 2010 MCM, known as "The People's Marathon." Of the nearly 24,000 registered, approximately 60 percent runners are male, while 40 percent are female.

The MCM, which is the fourth largest marathon in the United States and the eighth largest in the world, does not offer prize money; runners
participate for a variety of personal reasons, like the very first runner to register online, Isaac Yates. "The crowd support in the Marine Corps Marathon is unparalleled to any other race that I've participated in," he said. "The crowds basically lift you all the way through, especially while running near the National Mall, sometimes you cannot even hear yourself before you realize you've already run another mile."

5 April:  Mary Keitany, the world’s top female road runner in 2009, will run the BIG 25 Berlin on 9 May. The 28 year-old has entered the 30th edition of Germany’s oldest big city road race aiming to break the world 25km record. More than 10,000 entries are expected for the 25km and associated 10km race, 5x5km relay and children’s run, which all finish on the blue track inside the Berlin Olympic Stadium. Online entry is still available at: www.berlin-laeuft.de

Mary Keitany won the World Half Marathon in Birmingham (GBR) last October in 1:06:36. She finished more than a minute ahead, and missed the world record by just 11 seconds. Of the ten best times ever run at the distance, Keitany recorded four. Last year Keitany was also top-ranked in the 10km (31:04) and 20km (1:02:59). Berlin will be her first attempt at 25km, but she is likely to beat the official world record of 1:22:13, which was set by Mizuki Noguchi in 2005, as a split time in the Berlin Marathon.


Photo credit: Victah Sailer/photorun.net

The race starts in front of the Olympic Stadium with runners then going into the city centre and passing through the Brandenburg Gate, along Unter den Linden, Friedrichstraße, Gendarmenmarkt, Potsdamer Platz, the Memorial Church at Kurfürstendamm and the TV tower near the Olympic Stadium.

On 3 April, runners from Lesotho dominated the men's race in the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon (more). Mabhutile Lebopo won the 56km ultra in 3:06:18. and along with his countrymen took four of the five top places. The Nurgalieva twins again headed the women's race, with Olesya finishing in 3:41:53, 26 seconds ahead of Elena.
 
On 7 April a select group of runners ran a lap course on the polar ice cap in the North Pole Marathon (more), departing from Svaalbad (NOR, 80degN) on 5 April
 
From the highest (in latitude) to the lowest (in altitude): on 9 April the Dead Sea Ultramarathon (50km, but also offering Marathon and Half Marathon options) was run in Jordan on a point-to-point course descending from higher land to the Dead Sea shore, at 400m below sea level.

3 April: This year marks a unique celebration for marathon running. It is 2500 years since the Battle of Marathon took place in Greece, in 490 BC. To announce the Greek victory against the Persians the messenger Pheidippidis is said to have run the distance from the battlefield to Athens. Legend has it that after doing so he collapsed and died, and it was this story which gave birth to the Marathon event at the modern Olympic Games - the first of which was held in Athens in 1896. In remembrance of this history a flame is lit every year on the day before the Athens Classic Marathon at the Tomb of the Athenian Warriors on the former battlefield. A children's relay transports the flame to the start line in the town of Marathon, and at a ceremony there on 7 November last year representatives of the Vienna City Marathon received a lantern into which the flame had been transferred. They brought it back to Vienna so that the original marathon flame will burn during the Vienna City Marathon on 18 April. Runners will pass it in the finish area at the Wiener Hofburg.

2 April: Two races not due to take place for around six months open their entry systems, and expect to sell out in days.

The Dam tot Damloop race from Amsterdam to Zandam in the Netherlands will be held at Sunday 19 September. Registration opened at 09.00 local time on 1 April and will close as soon as 35,000 runners have entered. such is the popularity of the race, run over a distance of 10 English miles (16093.4m) that in past years the entry has sold out within a few days. Runners can enter via the website www.damloop.nl.

Online entries for the 35th Marine Corps Marathon, to be held in Washington DC on 31 October 2010, open from 12.00 local time at www.marinemarathon.co Entries are limited to 30,000 and are expeced to be taken up quickly. Registration costs US$90 and includes the runner bib witha B-tag timing device that gives times at 10 split locations, live results, text messaging, medical tracking, individual finisher web pages, online certificate, e-newsletter, souvenir T-shirt, goodie bag, race program, shuttle services and race day parking.

Some of those places have already been taken up by 1800 runners who secured guaranteed entry to the Marathon by finishing the Run to Register 10km and 28th Irish Sprint held on 27 March at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia. Runners from across the country, as far as Hawaii, participated in one or both of the races.

On 27 March the Hervis Prague Half Marathon (more) was run, with strong winds just preventing Joel Kemboi from breaking the course record. He ran 1:00:09 to beat pre-race favourite Wilson Chebet by 75 seconds. Tose Kosgei took the women's race in 1:09:57.
 
Next day, across the border in Poland, the 38th IAAF World Cross Country Championships (more) were held in Bydgoszcz on 28 March. Kenyan swept all before them taking all individual and team golds available, with Eritrea also showing well in the senior men's race, taking individual and team silver. Mercy Cherono won the junior women's race as she pleased, easing away on the last lap and leading her teammates to a" perfect 10" score. This feat was repeated by Caleb Ndiku in the Junior men's race. Linet Masai was the commanding presence in the senior women's race as she seemed to have dropped everyone by the last half-lap. But Emily Chebet clawed back into contention and Masai was outkicked at the line, as she was last year. Kenya's placings were 1,2,5 & 6. Apart from Masai Joseph Ebuya had the closest fight on his hands as Teklemariam Medhin held him until the final lap - but Ebuya's strength proved just too much for the 20-year old Eritrean.
 
28 March was otherwise very much one of Half Marathons, beginning with the Incheon International Half Marathon in Korea, followed back in Europe by the Poznan Half Marathon (more), The Vattenfall Berlin Half Marathon (more), and the Nis Novi Sad Half Marathon (more). The only full-length event held on the day was the Bratislava Marathon (more) in the Slovak capital. It was on the roads of Berlin that Ethiopia got some small consolation for their relatively weak showing at the World Cross, as Eshetu Wondimu broke a nine-year Kenyan stranglehold on the race, beating Peter Kirui by one second, 1:00:16 to 1:00:17. Pasalia Kipkoech won the women's race in 1:00:43.
 
The Panama International Half Marathon (more) rounded off AIMS action for the day won by Colombians William Naranjo and Yolanda Caballero in 1:06:34 and 1:14:28 respectively..

27 March: 21 000 runners are expected to line up in Cape Town for the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon (56km) on Easter Saturday, 3 April. Entries are well up on last year with just under 9000 runners doing the full distance. The half marathon has attracted a capacity field of 11 600 with entries closing nearly a month early.

Race director Rowyn James said “we are delighted to have a record field as we celebrate the event’s 41st anniversary. Interest in road running and in ultra events is still high - which is good for the sport. Many road races have seen a marked increase in numbers this year.”

80% of entries were received online; 5.4% of the field will be coming from outside South Africa, including 207 runners from Germany, 201 from UK and 108 from USA; 73 runners will get their light blue number for completing 10 half marathons. 72 runners participating in the 21km have their light blue number already; 224 runners will get their blue number for completing 10 ultras. 1 094 runners participating in the 56km have their blue number already. In the 56km 74% of the field are men and 26% are women. 34% of the ultra field will be doing the race for the first time. In the 21km, 50% of the field are men and 50% are women. Half the field will be doing the race for the first time. Of last year’s top 10 men in the 56km, eight have re-entered. In the women’s race, all of last year's top 10 have re-entered.

26 March: A record field of 23,799 runners from 94 countries will run in the 30th edition of the Vattenfall BERLIN HALF MARATHON on 28 March, The course record stands to Patrick Makau at 58:56, the sixth fastest time ever run at the distance. Two weeks ago Eshetu Wondimu ran a personal best of 59:53 in The Hague, after falling halfway through the race: “Had I not fallen I would have run under 59 minutes” he claimed - and he has a chance to prove it on Sunday. Wondimu knows the course; the last time he ran here, in 2008, he was beaten by just one second and finished in 60:01. Kenyans have won in Berlin for the past eight years and John Kiprotich, with a personal best of 59:23, is the man looking to extend the record.


John Kiprotich, Sabrina Mockenhaupt and Eshetu Wondimu (right)
with the Berlin Cathedral in the background
Photo: Victor Sailer/PhotoRun
There could be a home win for Germany in the women’s race, with Sabrina Mockenhaupt defending the title she won last year in 1:08:45 Mockenhaupt’s strongest rivals will most likely be Leah Malot (PB: 69:35) and Pasalia Kipkoech (69:56). “I plan to run the first half at a good 69 minute pace so that I will have something left in the second part" said Mockenhaupt


25 March: There is a record entry of 8,500 for the 12th Hervis Prague Half Marathon on 27 March; up 30% on last year, with runners from 67 countries writes Pat Butcher. The legacy of Emil Zàtopek lived on in the Czech capital until 10 years ago, with Robert Stefko, one of the few Europeans to get close to the one hour barrier (1:00:29), and giving the East Africans a run for the money. Now 42, Stefko is content just to "enjoy the running". “I don’t know if we can ever beat the Kenyans and Ethiopians,” says Stefko, a man who used to get very close to doing so. “Their whole lifestyle is concentrated on running. In Europe, we have too many distractions”.

Prague, one of the jewels of central Europe has plenty of distractions, but none that will tempt race favourites Wilson Chebet and Joseph Maregu of Kenya, who have run 59:15 and 59:45 respectively. Expectation is that the course record of 1:00.09, and even the one hour barrier, may be broken on the banks of the Vltava River, where the race starts and finishes.
Temperatures have been rising in central Europe this week, but for the race it is expected to be around 12C, with a possibility of rain -which is just about perfect for Chebet’s attempt at a fifth sub-60 run. “Although I have run better than 60 minutes four times, I have not won,” he said today, “I need now to win one in under the hour”.
There are few outstanding Czech runners nowadays, but retired footballer Pavel Nedved will doubtless be cheered to the echo by the roadside crowds. A winner of the prestigious Ballon d’Or, Nedved retired from football at the end of the 2009 season, and started training in order to fulfill his promise to run a marathon. That will be in Prague on 9 May, but he begins with the Half Marathon on 27 March.

Zersenay Tadese ran a brilliant solo second half of 20th anniversary EDP Half Marathon of Lisbon (more) on 21 March to record a new world record of 58:23, 10 seconds faster than that set by Sammy Wanjiru three years ago and 84 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor, Sammy Kitwara (59:47).


Tadese sets world record in half marathon
Photo:
Marcelino Almeida

Peninah Arusei won the women's race by an even bigger margin but ran 68:38, after losing time in the latter stages after a very ambitious start.

By contrast Tadese´s pace was according to plan for the first 5km (13:55) but dropped slightly behind schedule in the next few kilometers. Hanging in with a group of 15 as long as he could afford, Tadese decided soon after 8km that the pace was not enough for him, and gradually glided away from his opposition. He passed 10km in 27:53, now significantly behind schedule, but was picking it up all the time, passing 15km in 41:32 and coming home with a margin to spare.
Also on 21 March the Seoul International Marathon (more) was run in the Korean capital, followed by the Rome Marathon (more) in the "Eternal City".
 
The Jerusalem Half Marathon (more) took place on 18 March.

15 March: The 2010 Canberra Marathon and associated fun runs will not be held on 11 April. This results from an announcement made by the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory on 4 February, in which he indicated that the ACT Government will not provide the necessary approvals for the race to go ahead this year due to a legal dispute with the ACT Cross Country Club.

In the intervening period race organisers explored all possible options that might have allowed the race to be held, in order to keep faith with those who had prepared for the event: who wanted to share the celebrations associated with the 2,500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon; and who were seeking qualifying times for other events like Boston and Comrades. With only four weeks remaining before the race date it became clear that the organisers were unable to proceed in 2010.

In due course, the matter will be determined by the Court. Organisers will address the question of race entry refunds with each entrant.

The Kids Marathon will be conducted, as scheduled, on 11 April. Further details will be communicated to all entrants.

On 14 March Yuri Kano won the Nagoya International Women's Marathon (more) in 2:27:11, a minute ahead of Derartu Tulu, who had fallen off the pace at halfway and clawed her way back into second spot in the closing stages. The Kenting International Marathon also took place in Chinese Taipei, followed by the Treviso Marathon (more) in Northern Italy, and the Standard Chartered Stanley Marathon (more) in the South Atlantic outpost of the Falkland Islands.
 
Contestants in the 100km del Sahara (more) traveled out to Tunisia on 7 March and on 9 March started the first of four consecutive daily stages of 21km, 18km, 42km and 22km from the oasis of Ksar Ghilane. Thomas Wittek (GER) was first to finish in Douz on 12 March, with a total time of 8:12:33. Daniela Gilardi was the first woman home in 8:38:33.

8 March 8: Prague International Marathon (PIM) has launched its Running Circuit for 2010, starting with the Hervis Prague Half Marathon on Saturday 27 March. Entries are up by 60% compared to this time last year. Top elite contenders will be Yeman Tsegay Adhane (ETH), Guenther Weidlinger (AUT) and in the women's race Rosa Kosgei (KEN) with more names to be announced in the next few weeks.
 
Adhane will return to Prague in May for the Volkswagen Prague Marathon, and is the runner with the fastest personal best (2:06:30) yet to enter the race. He finished fourth in the World Championships' Marathon in Berlin last year. Austrian record holder Guenther Weidlinger has become one of Europe's best runners, while Rose Kosgei won last year's Prague Half Marathon in a record time of 1:09:03. Francis Karanja, a blind runner from Kenya, will again take part in the Half Marathon. The Hervis Prague Half Marathon attracted more than 6,000 runners in 2009.
 
PIM has introduced a number of new initiatives for 2010 including a project dedicated specifically to women, the PIM Women’s Challenge, aimed at motivating women to incorporate running into their daily life as a part of a healthy lifestyle, something that is a very new concept for the Czech Republic.

Running into the future – the AIMS Children’s Series

Once upon a time long distance running was for the few writes Pat Butcher. Most people, at least from my generation, would have run a mile to get away from running, and school cross-country put paid to most people’s potential enjoyment of the solitary pursuit.

Then came the running boom of the 1970s and 80s. Suddenly everyone was running, many not very fast, but they were running. And still are. Running is arguably the most popular participation sport in the world. AIMS owes it very existence to the boom.
But generations come and go, runners get older and even retire. Which is why it is incumbent on any sports authority like AIMS to nurture the next generation by introducing running to young people.

The AIMS children’s series is the result. Normally venues change every three years or so, but when you have a location like a refugee camp in the Sahara Desert, and see the enthusiasm of the youngsters in Dakhla camp, there need be no excuses for celebrating the fifth year there, with the AIMS Children’s Series 2010.
Dakhla is one of four camps in south western Algeria – the others being Smara, Auserd and El Ayoun – housing around 200,000 Saharawi refugees, displaced from the Western Sahara 35 years ago. Dakhla is the southernmost camp, near the north west border of Mauretania, and around 170k south of Smara. The camps are named after towns in the Western Sahara itself, a land that was formerly called “Spanish Sahara”. On the death of General Franco in 1975, and under pressure from a Saharawi liberation organisation known as the Polisario, the Spanish withdrew, but neighbouring Morocco and Mauretania quickly moved in, claiming the land was theirs. The Mauretanians withdrew after two years of fighting with the Polisario, but the Moroccans stayed and fought until a cease-fire was declared in 1991.

Politics aside, the children's race in Dakhla must be the most successful of any like event anywhere in the world.
Held on 25 February, three days after the Sahara Marathon was run between the other three camps, the conditions could hardly have been less favourable, with temperatures in the Dakhla camp reaching 40C earlier in the day. It was only 37C at 17.00, when over a thousand children marched down the long straight to the start of the half dozen races, which ranged from 300m for the youngest to 1000m for the early teenagers. The whole camp, it seemed had turned out for the event. Both men and women wear long scarves wrapped around their heads and faces, not from any religious conviction, but for the simple expedient of keeping the pervasive sand out of their mouths, ears and eyes. The majority of the thousands of onlookers reclined in the shade of the long wall of the school/sports centre. The starting line was dignified by three tribesmen in blue ceremonial robes on top of three large white camels. And waiting at the finish line, to greet the competitors was marathon winner Jon Salvador, from the Spanish Basque country, and an extra special guest, a Saharawi athletics hero, Salah Amaidan, who boasts times of 3:39 for 1500m, and 28:53 for 10km. Resplendent in AIMS tee-shirts, on both white and red, the children charged up the straight trailing clouds of sand dust behind them. Each finisher was rewarded with a substantial, specially struck bronze medal, and a prize of a toy.

It was hard to decide who was more enthusiastic, the children or the onlookers. But as the shadows lengthened, and a hectic hour came to a close, co-organisers (as they are of the marathon), Italian Mattia Durli and Spaniard Diego Muñoz declared the event the most successful in its five-year history.


In the Lake Biwa Marathon (more) on 7 March Yemane Tsegay ran away from the rest in the second half of the race to win the 65th edition in 2:09:34.

On the same day the Oeger Antalya Marathon (more) was run along the Turkish coastline of the Eastern Mediterranean and in an equally picturesque setting the Lago Maggiore Half Marathon (more) took place in Northern Italy. The Paris Half Marathon (more) provided the warm-up for the city's marathon to follow in a month's time, with Wilson Kiprop's 1:01:26 and Atsede Baysa's 1:11:05 taking top honours. In the Barcelona Marathon (more) Jackson Kotut won in 2:07:30 while Debele Wudnesh Nega took the women's race in 2:31:50. Five of the top six in the men's race were Kenyan, while in the women's race five of the top six were Ethiopian.

In Mexico the Lala Marathon (more) was held in the Northern Mexican town of Torreon, while far to the south the Sao Paulo Half Marathon (more) was held on the streets of Brazil's biggest city.

Even further south the Antarctica Marathon start and finish was outside the Russian base and passed by Uruguayan, Chilean and Chinese bases on dirt roads before reaching the 1 mile ascent of Collins Glacier on snow and ice. After descending the glacier, runners returned along the road and through the Russian base while heading in the opposite direction to a turnaround, finishing back at the Russian base.

Germany honours “2500 Years of the Marathon” with a festive celebration on 7 May during the Novo Nordisk Gutenberg Marathon Mainz, which incorporates the German Marathon Championships. The purpose is to honour a sport that has had great social impact, both as an elite sport and as one for the masses.
 
Celebrations will begin at 18.00 on 7 May in Mainz's “Museum of Antique Ships”. The celebration will include a lecture by sports historian Norbert Müller on the historical development of the marathon. His lecture will launch the travelling exhibition created by the Berlin Sports Museum – “AIMS Marathon Museum of Running”, “2500 Years of the Marathon”.

Masakazu Fujiwara and Alevtina Biktimirova won the 4th Tokyo Marathon (more) on 28 February in dismal conditions, recording times of 2:12:19 and 2:34:39 respectively. Fujiwara, throwing off his baseball cap and surging hard at 40km, became the first Japanese man to win the event.
 
Elsewhere in the region the Kaohsiung International Marathon was held in Chinese Taipei and the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon (more) also took place. Action then moved on to Africa, where the Kilimanjaro Marathon (more) was held in the town of Moshi, on the lower slopes of Africa's highest mountain and the  Maritzburg Marathon (more) took place in South Africa and then to Europe, with the GSO Limassol Marathon (more) in Cyprus and the Verdimarathon (more) in the composer's home town of Salsomaggiore in Italy. Concluding the day's programme the World's Best 10km (more) was run as a double crossing of the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

26 February:  As part of drive to raise funds for the charity NOAH (Nurturing Orphans of AIDS for Humanity) the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, to be held on 3 April, are auctioning a pair of limited edition autographed Usain Bolt spikes - replicas of the shoes that took him to world records and victory in last year’s World Championships. Bidding opens at R15000 (about USD $ 2,000) and will then go up in R100 increments (about USD $15) and the auction runs up until 5 April, just after race day. The winner will be announced on 9 April. 
To enter a bid go to: www.oldmutual.co.za/twooceansmarathon

24 February: Rumours were already circulating the day after the 2009 Venicemarathon, but now it's official: the route of the next Venicemarathon will go through St.Mark's Square.
A.S.D. Venicemarathon Club recently received approval from the City Council to go across the magnificent square that is the very heart of the lagoon town.
25th anniversary Venicemarathon to pass through Piazza San.Marco The marathon's technical team is studying the alterations to the route that will be necessary to make the spectacular passage inside the square possible, a passage that will only occur in 2010, for the 25th anniversary race. The finish line will be about 1000m after exiting St.Mark's Square, located as always in the "Riva Sette Martiri". The marathon route could also change in the section run on the Venetian mainland. Subject to agreement with the town administration the course may pass through Piazza Ferretto, located in the heart of Mestre, wich is the mainland counterpart of the more famous Piazza San Marco.
On 19 February the superfast course of the RAK Half Marathon (more) (UAE) did not produce any world record, but Elvan Abeylegesse led four other women under 68 minutes with her 67:07 win. Deriba Merga stepped off the course at 18km just as the men's race was hotting up. Geoffrey Mutai surged to a 59:43 win, six seconds ahead of Tadese Tola.

The Ohme-Hochi 30km & 10km (more) races took place on 21 February, followed a few hours later by the Maraton Popular de Valencia (more) In Spain's third city David Njagi came close to setting the best-ever time on Spanish territory, winning in 2:09:45 just 12 seconds short of the all-comer's record set eight years ago in San Sebastian. The next three to finish all broke the previous course record. Gladys Chebet had an isolated win in her debut marathon in 2:42:06

On 22 February the Sahara Marathon (more) celebrated its 10th anniversary run between Saharawi refugee camps in south-west Algeria. First home was the Basque Jon Salvador who set a course record of 2:42:20. Still to come is the first event of the AIMS Children's Series 2010, to be held in the Dakhla refugee camp later this week.

18 February: As part of a major fundraising effort, the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon will be auctioning half marathon and 56km ultra entries for their race on 3 April, as well as a pair of Usain Bolt’s autographed spikes. 20 half marathon and 10 ultra marathon entries will be auctioned through the website: www.oldmutual.co.za/twooceansmarathon  Bidding for the half marathon entries opens at 950 South African Rand ($125) on Monday, 22 February, giving participants who missed the entry deadline a chance to secure an entry.

The first auction is for half marathon entries and runs through until 10 March. The auction for the ultra marathon entries will open on 4 March, with the same starting price, and will also complete on 10 March. Successful bidders will be notified on a daily basis, with the eventual winners announced on 12 March 12. Winning bids will also get a product voucher worth 1450 Rand ($190).

Over 2000 entries were refused when the 11000 cut off was reached in the half marathon. According to race director Rowyn James: “Many people were disappointed at not getting an entry for this year’s half marathon, which filled up in record time and closed well ahead of the 3 March cut off.”

Also up for auction is a pair of Usain Bolt’s autographed spikes; replicas of the shoes that took him to victory in last year’s World Championships. This auction is from 22 February to 5 April, with bidding starting at 15000 Rand ($1970). The winner will be announced on Friday 9 April.

All funds raised will go towards helping the event’s official charity NOAH (Nurturing Orphans of AIDS for Humanity), founded in 2000 in response to the staggering number of AIDS-orphaned children. The currently estimated total of 1.7 million orphaned children is expected to reach 2.5 million by 2015.

Frank Brooks, sponsorship manager for Old Mutual said: “we tested the auction out for last year’s event and it was extremely successful, raising 30000 Rand ($3950) for NOAH. The auction is a novel way of providing people who weren’t able to get an entry with another chance to enter and support a worthy cause at the same time.”

After winning the Vienna City Marathon in 2007 and then becoming World Marathon Champion in Osaka a couple of months later, Kenya’s Luke Kibet will return to the Austrian capital for the 27th edition of the race on 18 April.

After his breakthrough race in Vienna three years ago, in very warm weather, Kibet went on to dominate a World Championships field packed with established stars in Osaka. In brutally hot and humid conditions he ran away from his rivals in the final 10km, finishing over a minute ahead of second-placed Mubarak Shami (QAT).

But he then suffered setbacks with injury, although he continued to perform exceptionally well in hot and humid conditions, twice winning the Singapore Marathon (2008/9). His latest win, just 10 weeks ago, showed him back in best form, breaking the Singapore course record with a time of 2:11:25.

Luke Kibet winning the 2007 Vienna City Marathon
Luke Kibet winning the 2007 Vienna City Marathon
Photo:
www.photorun.net
A year after his debut race at the Vienna City Marathon Austrian record holder Günther Weidlinger returns to Austria’s most prestigious running event. He recorded 2:12:39 in 2009, but improved in Frankfurt in October to 2:10:47, smashing the 23 year-old Austrian record. Weidlinger's next target must surely be the 2:10 barrier. Defending women's champion and national record holder Andrea Mayr recorded 2:30:43 in her 2009 debut, but will surely be seeking a sub-2:30 time on 18 April.

This year is the 2500th anniversary of the legend of Marathon when, after the battle against the Persian fleet in 490BC, the soldier-messenger Pheidippidis is said to have run about 40km from the battlefield to announce news of the Greek victory in Athens, but then collapsed and died. To mark the birth of the marathon a flame is lit every year at the tomb of the warriors on the former battlefield, on the day before the Athens Marathon in autumn. Last November representatives of the Vienna City Marathon proudly received a spark of this flame in a lantern. They brought it back to Vienna so that the original marathon flame will feature at the finish area of the Vienna City Marathon on 18th April, at the Wiener Hofburg.


The 16th Egyptian Marathon (more) took place on 12 February, starting and finishing at the tomb of Hatshepsut on a 10km lap outside Luxor that passes by the entrance to the Valley of the Kings.

At 09.00 on 14 February the XXVI Maraton Ciudad de Sevilla (more) was run from the Olympic Stadium in the Andalusian city.

After two world records in February last year, the 2010 edition of the RAK Half Marathon, on Friday 19 February, has a hard act to follow. According to All-Athletics.com, the comprehensive athletics database that compiles statistics and records of athletics worldwide, the RAK Half Marathon was recorded as being the 'top road running competition in the world' for 2009, along with being the top road running competition for men and 3rd for women. Based on results and participants, the RAK Half was also the Number 1 road running competition in Asia (2009) proof that in a mere 3 years, this race has become world class and that there is every chance of more record-setting around the streets of this emerging UAE emirate. Patrick Makau's winning time of 58:52 last year remained the quickest in the world for 2009. It was recorded in a genuine race to the tape that forced the then 23-year old to the new course record which remains the second fastest time ever. After leading through 15km in a world record-equaling 41:29 last year but eventually finishing third, it is Ethiopian front-running sensation Deriba Merga who returns to top a field of great depth and quality, while Makau sits this one out and awaits a return to form. Dogging Merga's almost certain front-running approach this year will be recent winner of the Zayed Half Marathon, compatriot Tilahun Regassa. Such is the precocious talent of this 20 year old, that Merga will have to exercise much better pace judgement this time around to stay ahead in RAK. Team mate Lelisa Desisa, who debuted with a 59:59 in Abu Dhabi, will be feeling more confident after then leaving in his wake a lot of his fellow starters lined up for RAK. The predictable Kenyan challenge (they have won each edition of this race so far), of the men's race in RAK will be led by Marathon specialist Geoffrey Mutai who surprised last year's runner up Wilson Kipsang in Valencia last November beating him in a race record of 59:30. Mutai will be joined by John Kiprotich (59:23) and Jairus Chanchima (59:44) to make it an interesting battle for East African pride. Former World Half Marathon Champion Fabiano Joseph is the sole Tanzanian, leading the rest of the challengers in a field that has no less than ten sub-60 performers. If the weather is kind and the wind stays away this rocket-fast race may add another record to its already impressive collection.

Final entries for the 85th Comrades Marathon, to take place on 30 May, closed on 30 January when 2000 "extra" places were snapped up in under 5 minutes. The race organisation would like to thank runners for their enthusiastic response to the various entry phases. Official entrants now stand at around 23000, although the official figure will be released at the end of February. Thanks are also due to the management and staff of race sponsors Mr. Price and all the retail outlets where entries were taken on 30 January.

Comrades Marathon Association Chairman Dave Dixon said that the race has been overwhelmed by the interest from local and international runners alike. The incredible support received from athletes, commercial partners, sponsors, host cities and government institutions makes the future of the event appear bright.

Comrades organisers are aware of the many disappointed runners who have missed out on the opportunity to run the 2010 Comrades race. Runners should be on the alert for announcements about the opening date for entries for the 2011 Comrades Marathon in the near future.

Meanwhile, entries for the country’s biggest half marathon, the Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, which takes place on Easter Saturday 3 April, have reached the 11000 cap. The race has processed 10501 half marathon entries, 95% of which were received online. Many other road running events around South Africa have attracted record fields indicating renewed interest in road running, particularly in ultra distances. Two Oceans' flagship event, the 56km ultra marathon, currently has 2600 entries and the race office is expecting to see that increase significantly over the next three weeks with most of the major qualifying events taking place around the country during February. Runners are encouraged to get their entries in as soon as they have completed their qualifying marathon to avoid possible disappointment. Ultra marathon entries close on 3 March.

No late entries will be taken after the cut off date but representatives will be at the Seeff Weskus Marathon in Langebaan on 6 March and at the Vaal Marathon in VanderBijl Park on 7 March. They will take hand delivered ultra entries from runners who have just qualified. There will be no online entries accepted after the 3 March cut off.

In the the Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon (more) on 7 February Daniel Gitau turned the tables on last year's winner Moguso Mekubo. After falling behind Mekubo by a few metres soon after the turnaround he came back to forge an unbeatable lead, and won by 200m. Mekubo managed to hold off the fastest of the chasing pack, Joseph Mwaniki, who had closed to within 50m as they entered the stadium with 600m to go. Nikki Chapple took the women's race from the front to record an impressive 1:08:37 winning by 400m. Elsewhere in Japan Jonathan Kipkorir won the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon (more) from Daniel Njenga by little more than 30m, 2:10:50 to 2:10:56.

In the 29th Osaka International Ladies' Marathon (more) on 31 January, Amane Gobena surged away from Portugal's Marisa Barros to win in 2:25:14 to Barros's 2:25:45 and become the first Ethiopian ro win the race. The Tainan Ancient Capital Marathon (more) took place in neighbouring Chinese Taipei. Action for the day concluded with the 21st edition of the Marrakech International Marathon (more) in Morocco, where runners passed through "alleys of palm trees, orange, and olive-trees, and also alongside the ramparts of the city".

The Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay has achieved Gold Certification for its green credentials from the Council for Responsible Sport, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising the level of environmental and social awareness in sport. To date only one other half marathon, in the UK, has earned Gold Certification and two triathlons have earned Evergreen Certification, CRS’ highest designation. The CRS standard includes 41 credits in six categories: waste, climate, equipment and materials, community and outreach, health promotion and innovation. The Big Sur Marathon Half Marathon earned 32 points. With its focused efforts on recycling, reducing materials and composting food waste, Big Sur Half was awarded all nine credits in the waste category. The maximum number was also achieved in the categories of community and outreach, health promotion and innovation.

Karen Ferlito, volunteer chair of the Big Sur Half Marathon’s Greening Committee said “we had a dedicated committee and helped educate dozens of volunteers who staffed the waste stations to ensure the landfill trash, compostable and recyclable materials were separated. Our volunteers helped the weary runners deposit their waste in the right bins.” As a result, the landfill diversion rate was 42% higher than in 2008 and 177% higher than 2007.

In addition to the recycling and composting efforts, the Big Sur Marathon introduced several new innovative programs. It provided runners with one of the country’s first-ever “Virtual Goodie Bags” to showcase sponsor and vendor products online instead of a plastic bag filled with paper brochures. It also integrated solar power for the finish line public address system, timing mats, music and awards stage, and offered ride sharing options through PickUpPal. Unclaimed clothes and running gear were donated to the Salvation Army, organic food was offered, and runners were encouraged to make donations to offset their carbon footprint of traveling to the race.

National Public Radio’s California Report featured an in-depth story on the greening efforts of the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay in early December. Publicity has helped raise awareness among runners, event organizers, and the general public about the importance of keeping sporting events as sustainable as possible.

The Big Sur Marathon team will continue its greening efforts for the 25th presentation of the full marathon in April.


The 6th GENEVA MARATHON to be run on 8-9 May 2010, will include two new events. The traditional Marathon and Half Marathon will take place on Sunday 9 May, on an unchanged route along the Geneva Waterfront. Two new races have been introduced for 2010 so that the whole family will be able to participate at their own pace in this great running festival. A 6km race reserved exclusively for women will be organised on Saturday 8 May along Geneva’s quaysides and parks. Courses for children aged 6 to 13 will also be arranged for the first time on that same Saturday, over distances from 500m to 3km.

Runners will find all the information they need on the site www.genevemarathon.ch and can register online from Monday, 8 February. Preferential offers will be made to all online registrations submitted from 8-15 February. The new arrangements are part of an ambitious development plan to make Geneva one of the 15 biggest European marathons by 2015. The theme of Water, indispensable for keeping the runners hydrated, unmissable in Geneva, and a major challenge of the 21st century for many of the international organisations based in Geneva, has been retained by the Organising Committee, which will be introducing many varied activities in future editions of the race.

Within this context a partnership has been signed between the GENEVA MARATHON and UNICEF Switzerland aiming to raise funds for purchasing the water pumps that are useful in many countries. To achieve this, 5% of the registration fees will go to UNICEF, along with all registration fees for the children's races. This partnership, which will also provide UNICEF with a showcase for all its activities, will be reflected in a change of name to the GENEVA MARATHON FOR UNICEF

GENEVA MARATHON FOR UNICEF
6th edition – 8 and 9 May 2010
Registration on www.genevemarathon.ch from Monday 8 February 2010.

On 24 January the 7th Khon Kaen International Marathon (more) was staged in northern Thailand, starting at the heat-beating time of 04.30. Seven time zones further west and six hours later, the Santa Pola International Half Marathon (more) took place just to the south of Alicante in Spain. The final AIMS race of the day, another 11 time zones to the west, was the Maui Oceanfront Marathon and Half (more), run along the Hawaiian island's coastline with scenic mountain views on one side and the chance of spotting whales on the other.

On 20 January the Corrida de Sao Sebastiao 10km (more) was held in Rio de Janeiro on the eponymous saint's day.

Haile Gebreselassie won for the third time in a row and Mametu Daska upset the favourites in the women's race in the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon (more) on 22 January.

18 Jan 2010: The Portland Marathon have created a half marathon to accompany the title event to be next held on 10 October 2010. Entries were opened this month and the race is already nearly sold out.

Event organizers believe the half marathon will add $3 million of economic impact to the local area. The overall event is estimated to have a $26 million economic impact on the Portland Metro area and has been the "largest convention-like event" in Portland for the last four years.

Limited to 3,000 entries, the Portland Marathon Half will feature all the entertainment and amenities of the full 26.2-mile marathon, which drew over 9,700 runners and walkers in 2009. Currently, participants for the half event are 76% women from 36 states and 7 foreign countries.

Registration for the half was first offered to former Portland Marathon finishers and other special running and walking groups. Registration opened to the general public on January 10 and will continue until January 31, unless the event fills earlier. Special entries are also reserved for charities and the military. Those interested in registering can go to www.portlandmarathon.org and can use promotional code PMHALF254 for a discount through January 21.

The Portland Marathon committee is excited to add another event to its roster. Course Coordinator Chris Hardman said "The Portland Marathon Half will be a fun event with a fast course and all the well known features of our Portland Marathon."

The Portland Marathon is a non-profit organization which every year donates nearly $200,000 to over 100 local non-profits, school groups, sport teams, and other charities. Using the event as a vehicle, charities also raise about $2 million for themselves. The Portland Marathon events, which include a marathon, a half marathon, a five-miler, a 10K walk, and kids’ fun run, are produced each year by a committee and over 4,500 volunteers.

On 16 January the Kinmen Marathon (more) took place in Chinese Taipei, in the National Park of the same name.

Next day, on 17 January the China Coast Marathon (more) was run on a challenging course in the New Territories of Hong Kong. In the 7th edition of the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (more) Denis Ndiso struck out for home from 25km, to win in 2:12:34 - a very creditable time in the unusually warm confitions. In the women's race it came down to a sprint finish, in which defending champion Haile Kebebush was outkicked by Bizunesh Mohamed, who won in 2:31:09. The 21st Maraton Int'l de Culiacan (more) was run next to the Gulf of California in Mexico, starting from in front of the City Hall of Culiacan.

In the Zayed Half Marathon (more) on 7 January Tilahun Regassa won with a new personal best of 59:15, ahead of Sammy Kitwara and Lelisa Desild, who also ran under the hour. In the women's race Mary Keitany won by over two minutes from Philes Ongori, with Dire Tune just behind her in third. The Tiberias Marathon was also run on 7 January along the shores of Lake Galilee in Israel. Three days later the Mizuno Hong Kong Half Marathon Championships (more) takes place, on 10 January.

The end of 2009 was marked by two contrasting AIMS races. On 31 December the St Catherine Marathon (more) in Sinai hosted a small field of enthusiasts who completed two laps of the semi-desert course through the Bedouin lands at the foot of Moses' Mountain starting and finishing just a few hundred metres from the St Catherine monastery. Several hours later the 85th Sao Sivestre 15km (more) road race was run through the streets of one of the world's largest cities, Sao Paulo, with a mass race following on the heels of the invited elite.

Twelve hours later. as the clock ticked into 1 January, 600 runners took part in the Neujahrsmarathon Zurich (more) through the Swiss financial centre in the early hours of the morning. Next day, on 2 January, Ethiopians Fayisa Lilesa and Atsede Bayisa won the Xiamen International Marathon (more) with times of 2:08:47 and 2:28:53 respectively.