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Liane Winter, who has died aged 78, shaped the marathon in Germany in the 1970s.
In 1974 she set national marathon records in Wolfsburg and Waldniel and later became German Marathon champion in 1979. She was trained by the “running doctor” Ernst van Aaken (Waldniel) who was instrumental in advancing the cause of women’s marathon running in the 1970s.
Liane Winter competed in a total of 50 marathons, the last one at the age of 50 in 1991. She contracted multiple sclerosis in the 1990s which later made walking impossible and forced her to use a wheelchair. She was active in handbiking events for many years and started several times in the handbike division of the Berlin Marathon.
Tom Derderian writes in his book “Boston Marathon” that in 1975 Liane Winter took the lead from the start, ahead of the later runner-up Katherine Switzer. Neither saw each other in this race. Switzer wanted to win Boston after she had entered the 1967 race against the rule that the race was not open to women. In the following years she could officially place herself on the podium, but never managed to win. Winter finished almost 10 minutes ahead of her in the 1975 race with 2:43:24 to 2:51:37.
The women had a hard time in the conservative Boston Marathon. Organisers treated the women entirely differently to the men. Fellow German runner Charlotte Teske won Boston in 1982 but the situation for women had still not changed: Teske received a grandfather clock as an honorary award (now in the Sports Museum in Berlin), and had to pay for the flight, hotel and food herself. It was not until 1983 that ‘tradition’ changed for women in Boston.
Winter only received the gold medal for her historic 1975 victory two decades later as a guest of honour at the 100th anniversary of the Boston Marathon in 1996.
The 2nd edition of the Hoka Project Carbon X2 over 100 km on a circuit in Chandler (Arizona, USA) ended with a dramatic finale as Jim Walmsley (USA) missed the current world record of 6:09:14 set by Nao Kazami (JPN) in 2018 by just 12 seconds. Audrey Tanguy (FRA) was the fastest among women in 7:40:32.
With temperatures around 15°C and an unusually high dew point of 7°C, conditions for an endurance event were again very good, apart from a refreshing wind in the Arizona desert. On a 11.11km-long circuit in the south of Phoenix where the “Marathon Project” was run in December 2020, the top group of men was on world record pace from the start. Together with four pacemakers, some of whom supported the leaders as far as 50km, a lead group of five included the favourite Walmsley, who set this record two years ago in the first edition of this event.
The (first) marathon was completed in about 2:34 and the half-distance reached after 3:04:14 when the last remaining pacer withdrew. Shortly afterwards Walmsley broke away from his two remaining fellow compatriots Craig Hunt (USA) and Hayden Hawks (USA). In a moment of high drama Walmsley cut his left shoulder on a screw protruding from a fence while lapping some women and began to bleed profusely. However, he managed to largely stop the bleeding and continue the race. At 60 km Walmsley was still on course for the record, 10 seconds ahead of Hunt and 90 seconds ahead of Hawks. His 75 km split of 4:35:05 projected to a finish time of 6:06:47 and his lead over Hunt had grown to over 5 minutes. Walmsley was still on for a record with a time of 6:08:04 at 90km. Then another, perhaps decisive, mishap occurred when the 95km split was called as 5:49:54, 25 seconds less than it should have been. He had to cover the last 5km in 18:50 and in the end he lacked the strength to do so. On the long home straight the clock ticked down relentlessly and passed the existing record time just 12 seconds before Walmsley crossed the line.
Walmsley pulverised Max King’s 2014 national record of 6:27:43. At the US Olympic Marathon Trials in February 2020 Walmsley had run his first serious marathon in 2:15:05.
In an eventful women’s race Audrey Tanguy (FRA) worked her way through the entire field and ultimately won in 7:40:36. Second place went to Nicole Monette (GBR) in 7:43:18.
The worst case scenario for the Tokyo Olympics – cancellation – has become more than just a possibility. Kansai University professor emeritus Katsuhiro Miyamoto, 76, has estimated that cancellation would result in an economic loss of over 43.5 billion USD (35.8bn EUR).
The one-year postponement from last year has already inflicted a 46.2 billion USD loss. Apart from further postponing or cancelling the Games there is also the option of staging the Olympics without spectators.
Government sources say that another postponement is not a realistic option. Tokyo has projected a direct economic effect of over 49.4 billion USD in building and maintenance of facilities and infrastructure to put on the Games. Professor Miyamoto estimates that the loss of revenue from operating expenses, participants’ consumption, domestic consumption and the like that would follow a cancellation of the Olympics would result in a loss of just under 33.4 billion USD.
Another 10.1 billion USD would disappear through losing the legacy effect of post-Olympic facility usage, education and urban development, bringing the total loss from a complete cancelation to over 43.5 billion USD or about 1% of Japan’s GDP. This would be roughly equivalent to the 40.5 billion USD spent at all department stores nationwide last year. “On top of the coronavirus, cancellation would be another serious hit to the economy,” commented Professor Miyamoto.
If the Games do go ahead, they face a rough road. In a downsized version it would be highly likely that events would be closed to spectators. According to preliminary calculations, halving the number of spectators and cutting back the opening and closing ceremonies would still result in a loss of almost 13.4 billion USD. Staging it without any spectators would bring the loss to over 23.3 billion USD. “The Olympics should go ahead even without spectators, but how other countries hit hard by the coronavirus would be able to deal with the situation remains unclear,” said Professor Miyamoto. “If the International Olympic Committee made the decision to cancel the Games, the economic and political fallout would be extremely severe.”
In preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, 42 venues in nine prefectures have almost been completed along with investment in accommodations, road improvement and other infrastructure by local governments. “80% of the economic spillover occurs prior to the Games,” commented Professor Miyamoto. A private research institute in the UK claimed that the 2012 London Olympics resulted in an economic spillover effect of around 19.3 bilion USD with 82% of the effect coming before the Games opened.
If the Tokyo Olympics were cancelled, the value of properties such as the main stadium built for the Games would be significantly reduced by not being able to apply the “Olympic” brand name to them. There is concern about additional losses to the financial burden of maintaining them under those circumstances. “The investment in preparations has already been made and they are all but completed,” said Professor Miyamoto. “If the Olympics were cancelled it would have a tremendous impact on consumer sentiment, and the value of the Olympic Village and other facilities would be significantly reduced.”
The SwissCityMarathon – Lucerne team are optimistic that by autumn running will have reverted to being a shared experience – and will guarantee your entry fee for the race on 31 October.
Should the pandemic force cancellation the organisers offer a transfer to the 2022 race or a refund (less a CHF10 (9.92EUR/11.30 USD) processing fee).
Meanwhile the RUN365 running track with permanent timing installed has been in operation on the Rotsee since 1 January. You can tackle the 6.4km route daily using the measuring points at the rowing centre or after the Seehüsli restaurant.
At the moment the Olympic Games are still the big target for elite distance runners this year – but there have been very few marathons held in the last year.
All but a handful of the usual big-city races that make up the competitive calendar have disappeared with no clear prospect of when they will become possible again. With this in mind Swiss Athletics has reverted to the old model of a federation-organised national marathon trial which they plan to hold in Belp on 14 March. The course will be the same as that used for the Swiss championships over 10km and the half marathon last autumn.
Some of the best Swiss endurance specialists have announced their participation including the already-qualified Tadesse Abraham. Qualifying times for Tokyo (or Sapporo, where the Marathons will be run) are 2:11:30 for men and 2:29:30 for women.
The race will be held with anti-covid precautions in place and starting places limited to 50. There are numerous foreign runners on the start list as well as the Swiss elite, which should enhance the competition.
The Osaka International Women’s Marathon on 31 January will be run on a multi-lap loop course inside Nagai Park.
Some of the athletes scheduled to run were notified last week of the likely change from Osaka’s traditional road course, due to the continued spread of the coronavirus and the declaration of a state of emergency by the Government. It is the first time the race will be run on a circuit course since the inaugural race in 1982.
The impact of the change on times run there remains unclear. Osaka organisers have recruited male pacers, a first for a domestic women’s marathon, to help chase the record.
Most road races over the last year have been cancelled or postponed. Osaka organisers cut their field back to just 99 athletes, about a fifth the usual number. Despite calls for the people to stay home and watch the race on TV it was inevitable that some would turn up along the course. The logistics of the race’s usual format also required a large number of operations staff for traffic control and drink stations. Many of those tend to be vulnerable elderly people. The change to a circuit course significantly reduces the number of people needed, mitigating the risk of spreading the virus.
Over the last few months a number of other races have been held inside parks instead of on public roads. October’s Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai half marathon was held on an officially-certified 2.6 km circuit course around the runway at Tokyo’s Tachikawa SDF Airbase, with 46 university teams taking part. November’s East Japan Corporate Men’s Ekiden likewise took place inside a park in Kumagaya, Saitama, with 24 teams covering a total of 76.4 km on a 4.2 km loop. Amateur races have been held using loop courses along riverbanks. Overseas, October’s London Marathon was held on a 2135m loop.
Osaka’s traditional course was certified by both the JAAF and World Athletics, but it remains to be seen what the status of the new course will be. Consisting of 15 laps of a flat 2.8 km loop followed by a track finish inside Yanmar Stadium Nagai, the prospects of running a fast time look good but first the new course must be officially certified. With just half a year left until the Tokyo Olympics this will likely be the last pre-Olympic marathon for the top women both the race is not a good simulation of racing conditions in Sapporo.
In honour of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Shekh Mujib’s centennial birth celebration, the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Dhaka Marathon 2021 marked the occasion and helped to promote Dhaka City’s cultural heritage.
The race also aims to promote a health among Bangladesh citizens, as well as to involve the country’s youth in promoting sports and a healthy lifestyle.
The event was held as part of the 100th Anniversary Celebration and organised by the Bangladesh Army, in partnership with the Army Sports Control Board, Sports Vision Ltd, and Trust Innovation Ltd along with technical partner the Bangladesh Athletics Federation and the Bangladesh Olympic Association.
The races were held in Dhaka on 10 January at 06:30, starting from the Army Stadium and finishing in Hatirjheel..Both Marathon and Half Marathon distances were contested by approximately 100 runners including elite athletes from home and abroad. Runners from all over the world are offered the opportunity to access the event through the official digital marathon app where participants can register through the website dhakamarathon.com.bd , and take part in this historical event at any time from 10 January until 7 March.
Marathon winners were Hicham Laqouahi (MAR) in 2:10:41 and Angela Jemesunde Tanui (KEN) in 2:29:04.
The IAU 24 hours World Championship, originally scheduled to take place on 22–23 May in Timisoara (ROU), has been postponed to 2–3 October by joint agreement with the LOC.
The decision to delay the event has been made to make sure that participants from all regions have a fair chance to take part. Alternative dates are limited due to the existing IAU calendar and the ever evolving situation with COVID-19. As of now, there are restrictions on travel inside and to/from Europe.
Public activities are limited in Romania and this brings additional complexity to the preparation for the LOC. There will be a separate announcement about the IAU Congress which would have been held in May at the 24H World Championships.
The LOC is considering changing the venue of the Championship to Bucharest, due to better direct travel connections.
Further information will be made available as soon as possible.
The racing season in the Czech Republic usually starts with the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon in March but this year, because of lingering safety issues, it is postponed until 5 September 2021.
That weekend will be made into a Running Festival called “The Running Games”. In addition to the Half Marathon there will be 5 km and 10 km races. Further information to follow.
The Volkswagen Prague Marathon and other spring races,will be assigned a date on the full 2021 running calendar soon, which will be available from the middle of February.
In a quick survey conducted by German Road Races (GRR) at the end of 2020 it was found that about 75% of all runs were cancelled last year and only about 24,000 runners started in real races. The lack of opportunity for larger participation is mainly attributed to the hygiene regulations of the federal states and municipalities.
The number of participants was mentioned as a particular restriction along with the need to extend the start phase into smaller waves or starting blocks. Other restrictions included responsibility for preventing spectators gathering at the start and finish area and the need to deploy many more race officials to manage the changed starting protocols.
Reasons for a cancelled or prohibited event included the ban on major events, the hygiene and distancing requirements that could not be implemented, the expense of meeting the requirements and the health risk to active people and volunteer staff.
More than two thirds of the organisers surveyed did not apply for any help from a state or municipal body, not least because none of the aid programs offered were suitable for them. Among claims made the most significant were for the short-time working allowance (13%), the emergency aid for small businesses and self-employed persons (9%), the bridging aid (5%) and aid from the respective state sports associations (8%).
The organisers did not apply for liquidity assistance from the Landesbanken. Of those organisers who applied for help 91% of applications were successful.
Organisers are willing to start again this year with the previous concepts or changed protocols: “Of course we are looking at the development of the pandemic in the first few months of this year with great concern. The quick poll shows us very clearly that many running events are at maximum risk if we cannot return to a certain normality shortly,” says GRR Chairman Horst Milde (Berlin).
“Running events cannot cope with [such] a persistent drought, especially since races held in 2020 races were largely self-funded.”
For more about the survey see: www.germanroadraces.de .
The Almaty Half Marathon (KAZ) will take place on Sun 17 October 2021, not Sun 11 April 2021 as previously published.
Despite the pending declaration of a state of emergency in the greater Osaka area the organisers of the 31 January Osaka International Women’s Marathon intend to go ahead with this year’s race.
Last year the Japanese athletics federation published strict guidelines for the staging of road races during the coronavirus pandemic. One of the requirements is that no declaration of a state of emergency be in place. On 7 January the government issued such a declaration for Tokyo and its three surrounding prefectures. Osaka and neighbouring Kyoto and Hyogo have asked to be added to that list.
If the terms of the state of emergency are the same as the earlier one for the Tokyo area, it would last until at least 7 February. This would put the Osaka International Women’s Marathon inside the emergency period, but race organisers insist it would still be held. The declaration would limit the number of people able to attend events, but in principle it would still be possible to stage sporting events. Osaka organisers have already announced that Nagai Stadium, the marathon’s start and finish point, will not be open to the public and have asked that people watch on TV rather than cheer on the course. Fewer than 100 athletes are entered and all will be required to present a negative PCR test in order to participate.
Swiss Running is initiating an innovative new concept in Lucerne on the Rotsee.
From 1 January RUN365 will offer runners a fixed route with time measurement. Participants can complete alone and independently of time or compete ‘virtually’ on an online ranking list. It starts with a pilot phase with runners, unlike in virtual races, completing the same official route so that times are comparable. Once in possession of the timing chip, the route can be completed daily.
The Rotsee offers rich wildlife – beavers and many species of birds – but is also valued by joggers as a popular training route. Beautiful riverside paths and the view of the Pilatus make for a refreshing run. The idyllic route measures 6.4 km. Two measuring points in Lucerne – at the Rotsee rowing centre and shortly after the Seehüsli restaurant – are defined as the start and finish for the Rotsee circuit.
Participation is possible via smartphone or with a timing chip. Timing is in operation between 05.00–22.00. Times of all participants will be published in the online ranking list.
Lower Saxony’s largest running spectacle, planned for 17–18 April, will fall victim to the current pandemic situation, as it did last year. The next HAJ Hannover Marathon will be held on 3 April 2022.
“We planned a number of scenarios and possibilities to implement a responsible marathon in an adapted form,” explained organiser Stefanie Eichel. “But the current infection situation makes this absolutely impossible.”
A final decision has not yet been made on a possible elite-only race over the marathon distance for the German Marathon Championships, which were planned for April in Hannover. “We are currently in talks with the German Athletics Association and our athlete manager Christoph Kopp to give the athletes a chance to qualify for the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” said Eichel.
In the previous year, almost 30,000 active participants had already registered for the various competitions as part of the 30th HAJ Hanover Marathon, which will now have to celebrate its milestone event next year.
But there is still a small glimmer of hope for autumn: “If a running event with a good number of participants can be implemented responsibly, we will hopefully be able to give the starting signal for a really nice new running experience,” promises Eichel. “The plans for this are already on the table.”
The only witnesses to the occasion were Turňa Castle, gnawed away by time, and one lone tree standing below it.
Five hundred metres beyond Turňa village, beneath this tree and beside the high road, the photographer focused on eight runners and a handful of other figures. They had all become obsessed with the idea of transforming a marathon dream into reality.
A trio of East Slovakian sports officials had returned from Paris to Košice with this dream in 1924. For it was on one hot summer’s day in the Colombes Stadium at the eighth Olympic Games that they became gripped by this most noble of all athletic disciplines.
Those men, who remain to this day captured on that wonderful old yellowed photograph in their vests and shorts had a true baptism of fire awaiting them – even though it was 28 October and late in the year. It was a trial of as yet untested strengths and abilities. Ahead of them stretched more than 42 kilometres of road through the countryside all the way back to Košice.
Halla, Tronka, Badonič and Kulcsár from the local Košice Athletics Club, Schuller from Slávia and the valiant soldiers Lenart, Zajič and Schmidt. There were no famous Olympic runners there that day, for it was only later on that they became charmed by the atmosphere of the Košice Marathon.
In the propositions issued for this race by the Czechoslovak Amateur Athletic Union and published in the local newspaper Kassai Napló, it was declared that the first across the finishing line would receive the title of ‘Winner of the Slovakian Marathon’ together with an honorary prize and a certificate.
The crack of the starter’s pistol cut through the cold autumn air exactly twenty minutes after midday, and these eight marathon pioneers ran off on their adventure.
At Čečejovce Halla had already built up a 300m lead and the spectators welcomed him with applause, but when the Tatra limousine came through with the members of the jury who were ensuring the race rules were being kept, sarcastic comments rang out: “Why aren’t you running, you lot? Sitting in a car – anyone can do that!”
By the turn-off to Malá Ida cyclists were already waiting for the runners so that they could accompany them and race on ahead to announce their imminent approach to the Košice crowds. A large number of onlookers were lining both sides of Komenský Street, while others had occupied the best places they could find on the wooden grandstand of the sports-ground at the area then called Gajdove kúpele (“Gajda Spa”).
The crowds roared a joyful welcome to the be-whiskered and fresh-looking Halla. A garland of laurel rested on his shoulders, the military band played a march, and in recognition of his victory the sky thundered with several salvoes of gunfire. It was Tuesday, 28 October 1924, a little before half past three in the afternoon.
Many years later, on the marble plinth beneath the sculpture of the marathon runner in the little park in front of the East Slovakian Museum, there appeared the name of the first hero of the Košice Marathon – Karol Halla.
At the celebration dinner following the race the organizers praised Halla’s conscientious and thorough preparation. They set their minds not only on holding a marathon in Košice every year, but also on making sure that each time there would be international participation.
The main ideas were presented by Vojtech Braun Bukovský. It was as if he had sensed back there in Paris that he would give up a good part of his life to the Marathon. He was not yet 30 years old when he congratulated Halla, but he already had vital experience in athletics, university studies, and work in his family’s retail business. The variety of his activities was remarkable. Apart from the Marathon he is recorded as being a tireless organiser of cycle races, fencing, skiing and wrestling competitions, as well as being a journalist.
The wholesale cancellation of mass marathon in Japan for the last few months appears to have piqued the appetite of the Japanese public to watch distance running events on TV.
To help reduce crowding along the course, as part of the effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, organisers of the flagship Hakone Ekiden encouraged people to “cheer from home.” This is thought to have resulted in more people than usual watching the TV broadcast.
Nippon TV’s two-day coverage recorded average ratings of 31.0% for the first day’s broadcast from 07:00–14.05 on 2 January and 33.7% for the second day from 07.00–14.18 on 3 January. Equivalent figures last year were 27.5% and 28.6%. The two-day average of 32.3% for the broadcast was the highest recorded since ratings were first monitored in 1987. The second day’s peak instantaneous viewership rating reached 41.8%.
According to Video Research’s measurements, nationwide a total of roughly 64.71 million people tuned in for some part of the two-day broadcast, approximately half the national population. Viewers 4 years or older who tuned in for at least one minute were counted in the estimate.
Marine Corps Marathon has bucked the trend by adding a new event to their race calendar at a time when most of the established races are being side-lined.
The Quantico Crucible 5km on Saturday 17 April is an in-person event in which participants aged 10+ run the distance while besting three on-course challenges and then complete high intensity fitness drills. The name and format of the event are a bow to a US Marine’s final challenge in recruit training, “The Crucible”, a 54-hour training exercise where recruits are broken down into squads before facing tasks that test their physical strength, skills and the values they learned throughout training. Only those who make it through this challenge are handed their Eagle, Globe and Anchors, symbolising the completion of the gruelling journey to earn the coveted title of U.S. Marine.
The Crucible 5km will take place in the early evening at Marine Corps Base Quantico. Each runner will receive a keepsake 8-pound (3.6kg) sandbag to be used while completing some of the physical challenges. The sandbags will feature the official event logo inspired by the gold stripes on red flash as seen in the rank insignia worn on Marine uniforms.
Registration opens on 6 January at www.marinemarathon.com. For USD 40 participants receive the official event shirt, bib and a finisher medal. Participants will be divided into small groups and runners may select from multiple start times beginning at 17.00.
After the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo were postponed for a year they are now slated for 23 July – 8 August 2021.
“We will host the games this summer in a safe way,” said Prime Minister Suga on New Year’s Day, despite the increasing number of corona infections recorded in Tokyo recently – which have exceeded 1000 in one day for the first time.
Games organisers had previously announced that the Olympic torch relay would begin on 25 March. Around 10,000 athletes will carry the Olympic flame across the country. The flame had already arrived in Tokyo from Greece in March 2020 but shortly before the planned start of the torch relay the Games for 2020 were cancelled. The flame is presently in a lantern in Tokyo. The torch relay is due to start in Fukushima, the centre of the tsunami disaster 10 years ago.
At the 9th World Congress of AIMS, held in Macau on 6-7 December 1994, AIMS announced that the AIMS Marathon-Museum of Running would be established at the Sportmuseum Berlin.
26 years have passed since then. The Museum – now called the Marathoneum – has expanded greatly and a review of its development was long overdue. For this reason ‘Document No. 5’ has been put together by Horst MIlde, Gerd Steins and the Marathoneum team to reflect back on the history of AIMS and distance running.