Association of International Marathons and Distance Races

The home of world running™



News

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

Distancerunning To read the latest & past editions click here

Date changes Movistar Medio Maratón de Madrid

Race date for Movistar Medio Maratón de Madrid (ESP) changed

The Movistar Medio Maratón de Madrid (ESP) will take place on Sun 3 April 2022, not Fri 1 April 2022 as previously published.

Race news Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon

Beppu Oita Marathon announces strong elite field

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

While other races have started cancelling as Japan’s COVID-19 numbers climb again, the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon is set to return this year on 6 February, announcing its elite field on 14 January.

The front end is heavily dominated by runners who were part of the Miracle at Lake Biwa last year, Shuho Dairokuno (Asahi Kasei) and Tsubasa Ichiyama (Komori Corp.) leading the way at 2:07:12 and 2:07:41 from that race. Four others on the list have run 2:08 recently,

Race news Al Mouj Muscat Marathon

Less than a month until Al Mouj Muscat Marathon

200221 al mouj muscat marathon 2020 ant 8085

The wait for the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon is nearly over, with just less than a month to go. Over the weekend of 11-12 February 2022, the runners will take their place on the starting line at Al Mouj Muscat and test their endurance.

Sabco Sports have teamed up with UFC Gym Oman to offer free public training sessions every Friday morning in the build up to the race and runners of all ages have taken this opportunity to learn from professionals and improve their fitness. Taking place from 8am—9am at ABQ Seeb International School, coaches have given hundreds of runners help with training, nutrition and diet, and tips on how to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

“Excitement is building for the Al Mouj Muscat Marathon 2022 and we are delighted with the number of people across the world that have taken up the challenge to compete this year. The entire weekend will be a fun-filled festival of running which brings together communities from across the country, local schools and colleges, businesses and teams to support each other from start to finish,” says Nic Cartwright, Managing Director of Sabco Sports, organizers of the event.

The forthcoming event at Al Mouj Muscat features five different race distances to cater to a variety of fitness levels and experience and each category has received a very good turnout in terms of registrations. The 42km marathon and 21.2km half-marathon and 10km runs are certified by world-running organisation AIMS, aligning the event with World Athletics standards and adding to competitive runners’ rankings. Participants in all races will receive a commemorative t-shirt and a finisher’s medal to mark their achievement.

Registration is still open and places available in all races.

Race news Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon

Kagawa Marugame Half Marathon cancelled

By Brett Larner | Japan Running News

The city of Marugame in Kagawa has announced that February’s Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon has been postponed for one year.

Mayor Kyoji Matsunaga explained the decision, saying, “Due to the rapid rise in coronavirus infections since the beginning of the year, we made the decision to postpone the race a year.”

The Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon had been scheduled for 6 February. Every year it has welcomed 10,000 runners from over 20 countries, but due to the coronavirus pandemic the 2021 was postponed a year to 2022. Around 8000 people from across the country had entered the 2022 race, but in light of the explosion in new coronavirus cases they now find themselves in the situation of having the race postponed another year. The 2023 edition is scheduled for 5 February.

Date changes Dead Sea Ultra Marathon

Race date for Dead Sea Ultra Marathon (JOR) changed

The Dead Sea Ultra Marathon (JOR) will take place on Fri 25 March 2022, not Fri 1 April 2022 as previously published.

Date changes La Ruta de las Iglesias

Race date for La Ruta de las Iglesias (ECU) changed

The La Ruta de las Iglesias (ECU) will take place on Sat 2 July 2022, not Sat 27 August 2022 as previously published.

Race news Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon and We Are Houston 5K

Records tumble in Houston

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in spectacular and historic fashion, the Chevron Houston Marathon saw Keira D’Amato set an American record for the distance when she broke the tape in 2:19:12.

Not to be outdone, the Aramco Houston Half Marathon made some history of its own, with women’s winner Vicoty Chepngeno winning in a course-record time of 1:05:03 – the fastest women’s half marathon ever run on U.S. soil – and Sara Hall setting an American record of 1:07:15. Hall’s record came 15 years after her husband, Ryan, set his still-standing American record (59:43) at this same race.

Another national record was set when Alberto Gonzalez Mindez of Guatemala finished 11th in 1:01:18.

Ethiopia’s Askale Merachi returned to defend her title and countrywoman Biruktayit Degefa toed the line in search of a record fourth victory here, but all eyes were on Keira D’Amato as she set out on a pace to break Deena Kastor’s American record of 2:19:36. Merachi fell back early, while Degefa hung on a bit longer, but from just before halfway it was all D’Amato, a 37-year-old real estate agent and mother of two. D’Amato went through the half in 1:09:40 on her way to slicing 24 seconds off the mark set by Kastor in 2006.

“I just can’t believe this,” said D’Amato, after being greeted at the finish line by her son Tommy, 7, and daughter Quinn, 5. “I’m really tired, but I’m really, really happy. Dreams come true, you know?” D’Amato also became the first U.S woman to win here since 2005.

Finishing second and third – and given the same time of 2:29:08 – were Alice Wright of Great Britain and Maggie Montoya of the U.S. Both were making their debuts at the distance.

On the men’s side, 31-year-old James Ngandu of Kenya outsprinted Abdi Abdo of Bahrain for victory in his first-ever marathon, in 2:11:03.

“Oh yes, I’m surprised,” said Ngandu of winning his debut. “The support I had from the fans was overwhelming.”

Abdo finished in 2:11:11, with Kenya’s Elisha Barno third in 2:11:16. The top American was Frank Lara, sixth in 2:11:32. Raised in Houston, Lara returned home to make his marathon debut.

“It was awesome,” said the 26-year-old Lara. “Running the course was so special today.”

Leading all the way in the half marathon, 28-year-old Vicoty Chepngeno of Kenya never let up, breaking the tape in 1:05:03 to smash the previous course record (Brigid Kosgei, 2019) by 47 seconds. It is also the fastest time ever run on U.S. soil, and makes her the 11th-fastest woman in history.

“I wanted to run my best time,” she said of her strategy to take the race out from the start. However, she added, she was surprised to run so much faster than 1:07:22, her previous best mark.

Meanwhile, runner-up Sara Hall broke away from the chase pack after 15K in pursuit of Molly Huddle’s American record of 1:07:25, set in this race in 2018.

“It’s incredible,” she said of not only breaking the record by 10 seconds but doing so on the same course where her husband set the mark early in his career. “It’s something I’ve dreamed of doing. Our lives were never the same after that day, so it’s always a special memory here in Houston.”

Chepngeno and Hall weren’t the only two women who ran fast: six of the eight fastest times in the history of the race were run today.

For the men, 21-year-old Milkesa Mengesha, who finished 10th for Ethiopia at 5000 meters in the Tokyo Olympics, won the half marathon in 1:00:24, outsprinting John Korir of Kenya (1:00:27). Third was Wilfred Kimitei of Kenya (1:00:42), with Kirubel Erassa fourth as the top American given the same time in his debut.

Date changes Photak Marathon

Race date for Photak Marathon (THA) changed

The Photak Marathon (THA) will take place on Sun 25 December 2022, not Sun 4 December 2022 as previously published.

Date changes Zurich Marató de Barcelona

Race date for Zurich Marató de Barcelona (ESP) changed

The Zurich Marató de Barcelona (ESP) will take place on Sun 8 May 2022, not Sun 3 April 2022 as previously published.

Date changes eDreams Mitja Marató de Barcelona

Race date for eDreams Mitja Marató de Barcelona (ESP) changed

The eDreams Mitja Marató de Barcelona (ESP) will take place on Sun 3 April 2022, not Sun 6 March 2022 as previously published.

Race news 10K Valencia Ibercaja

Fast times in 10K Valencia Ibercaja

As it closed 2021 so it opened 2022; on 9 January the ‘Ciudad del Running’ played host to some fast times, although no world records were challenged.

With some bravado front-running Daniel Ebenyo slipped under 27 minutes without the services of pacemakers, while Norah Jeruto had no one but (male) pacemakers for company as she dropped the rest of the field just after halfway. She strode away to a 30:35 win, although Karoline Grovdal was closing her down quickly in the final stages.

It was Jeruto’s fourth attempt to win this race after podium finishes in her previous efforts. She started as favourite and was paced through the first half in a steady 15:18. A headwind then hit but Jeruto took it as a cue to make her break and left other contenders strung out behind her. Karoline Grovdal, chasing Paula Radcliffe’s European record of 30:21, steadied herself before upping her effort in the final stages to finish three seconds behind Jeruto.

Without a designated pacemaker it was Ethiopia’s Chimdessa Gudeta who led his competitors through the early stages and reached 5km with only Ebenyo alongside him. From then on Ebenyo took over, opening up a gap which he gradually increased all the way to the finish to record a resounding new personal best of 26:58, and seventh place on the all-time list.

Result

10km
Men
1 Daniel EBENYO KEN 26:58
2 Chimdessa GUDETA ETH 27:10
3 Jacob KROP KEN 27:23
4 Boniface KIBIWOTT KEN 27:44
5 Emile CAIRESS GBR 27:44
Women
1 Norah Jeruto TANUI KEN 30:35
2 Karoline GRØVDAL NOR 30:38
3 Gladys CHEPKURUI KEN 30:48
4 Anchinalu Dessie GENANEH ETH ETH 31:01
5 Meraf BAHTA SWE 31:22

Race news Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Frankfurt to return with new sports sponsor

Mfm by mainova frankfurt marathon

Following a two-year break because of the Corona Pandemic organisers of the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon are confident that their race will return on 30th October.

First held in the spring of 1981 with over 3,000 participants the event is Germany’s oldest city marathon. Over 14,000 marathon runners competed in 2019 when the race was last held. The former Gold Label Road Race, which is now an Elite Label Road Race of World Athletics, will have a new sports sponsor this year: Hoka One One.

Hoka One One, a division of Deckers Brands, has been named as an official sportswear partner of the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon for five years. Commencing in 2022, Hoka’s official partner status aims to enhance participants’ experience and help to further broaden interest in the event, engaging with its strong following in the running community.

The imposing Frankfurt skyline sets the stage for Frankfurt’s largest street festival with many bands and stages, presenters, and music groups entertaining the runners along the route. As they approach the finish line, participants run the red carpet into the historic Frankfurt Festhalle – a spectacular indoor finish.

The Mainova Frankfurt Marathon has been recognised as a Gold Label Road Race by World Athletics and is also one of the most environmentally friendly marathons worldwide, winning the AIMS Green Marathon Award in 2014 in recognition of this.

“In Hoka, we have found a strong partner for the further development of the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon. As experts in innovation and quality in the field of running, we are very much looking forward to working together over the coming years. We are particularly impressed that Hoka are dedicated to strongly supporting our efforts in environmental initiatives for a sustainable marathon. We are therefore very much looking forward to the partnership, from which our participants will certainly benefit. After two tough years in which the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon unfortunately could not take place due to the Corona Pandemic, we are now looking forward with confidence. The partnership with Hoka will give us new momentum for the coming years,“ said Race Director Jo Schindler.

Mike McManus, Director of Global Sports Marketing, added: “As the longest established race in Germany, Hoka is thrilled to be announcing our support of the historic Mainova Frankfurt Marathon. We are committed to bringing an outstanding running experience to the participants, and to enhancing this already world-class event with our commitment to bold innovation and our love of the sport.”

AIMS news

40 years of AIMS

By Hugh Jones

40th article

The ‘Association of International Marathons’ was officially founded at a meeting held in London on 6–7 May 1982 but the idea of such an association had been gathering momentum for some time.

Mass participation marathons run on the streets of the World’s major capitals were a recent innovation. They had previously been confined to laps of public parks or quiet country back-roads which could easily accommodate the modest fields of 100–200 committed enthusiasts. Only Boston, the grandfather of Marathons, had exceeded 1000 runners before the New York Marathon was run through the city’s five boroughs for the American Bicentennial in 1976.

This was what broke the mould. In a startling transformation space was made available for thousands of runners to flood the city centre on Marathon day, bringing a celebratory atmosphere with them. As New York’s numbers grew rapidly in the next few years other races sprang up explicitly modelled on the example that had been set. By 1980 there was a growing band of organisers widely scattered throughout the world.

The Honolulu Marathon had been started as a small event in 1973 with 150 runners but it was so successful that by 1976 there were 1400 finishers – close behind New York. Many organisers were already travelling to observe and learn from each other’s events. At a meeting in Honolulu in December 1980 a group calling itself the ‘International Marathon Race Directors’ (IMRD) was established which met again at the New York Marathon in October 1981.

The subject of discussion at the time centred around a ‘World Circuit’ of races advocated by Serge Arsenault of the Montreal Marathon incorporating an individual marathon championship for elite runners. The arrangements discussed had close similarities with what was eventually adopted by the ‘World Marathon Majors’ 25 years later. At a second meeting in Honolulu on 11 December 1981 the IMRD additionally laid plans to formally constitute the group as the Association of International Marathons which is what was done at the meeting in London.

There were 29 founding members who were paid up at the meeting and 19 of them are still members today – although in some cases they have radically transformed (for example, the two elite races in Tokyo, Tokyo Women’s Marathon and Tokyo Men’s Marathon have since been in effect absorbed by the Tokyo Marathon).

Those present approved a constitution and elected Will Cloney of the BAA Boston Marathon as the first AIMS President. Members attending this ‘Establishing Congress’ also laid down a succinct list of three main objectives: (i) to foster and promote running throughout the world; (ii) to work with IAAF (now World Athletics) on all matters relating to international Marathons; and (iii) to exchange information, knowledge and expertise among members of the Association.

Immediately after enacting the business essential to setting up the Association there followed a technical discussion on the organisation and measurement of international marathons. This emphasised the central importance of ensuring that Marathons were the correct distance. At the time there was already a reliable and affordable method of measurement being used but under objectives (i) and (iii) it became AIMS’ primary mission to spread the word so that the ‘calibrated bicycle’ method of measurement eventually became universally accepted and applied.

This was just as well, as the world governing body responsible for enforcement of rules, the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF, later to become World Athletics) was slow in seeing the potential of big-city mass-participation races. Their purpose was geared towards the elite competitive end of the sport and the new races were often seen as potentially damaging to traditional championship races.

The arbitrary but ‘magical’ distance of the Marathon had been formalised as 42195m as far back as 1924. In championship races position counted for more than time in and there had never been a concerted effort to ensure courses were accurate enough to bear comparison between different locations. The ‘calibrated bicycle’ method of measurement was enshrined in the IAAF rule book in the 1980s but it was not until 1995, at a meeting with IAAF instigated by AIMS, that an administrative system was set up by which measurements could be policed. Since that time AIMS has maintained its measurement mission in co-operation with IAAF.

IAAF resisted the recognition of world records at the marathon distance on the grounds that courses were not comparable. AIMS proposed a maximum allowable overall ’drop’ of the course and straight-line separation of start and finish so that possible assistance afforded by gravity or a potential tailwind was limited. From 2003 this became the basis on which what had been called ‘World Bests’ have since then been credited as World Records.

AIMS’ original membership remained stable, with only slight growth in the early years, but with the publication of the first AIMS yearbook in 1985 the dynamic had begun to change. The yearbook featured a race calendar. This in itself was a recognition that AIMS’ reach had to extend beyond its member race organisations to connect with the runners themselves. To this end the A5-format booklet also carried advertisements for member races and a total of 200,000 copies were circulated by member events to their runners.

Mass participation marathons were already becoming a significant market within the sports tourism sector. In 1986 AIMS membership, now approaching 50 races, was extended to include races over distances other than the marathon. The New York City Marathon in particular was attracting over 10,000 foreign runners each year – often accompanied by supporters and staying a for a full week. With runners bringing so much money in it was no wonder that more and more cities became interested in setting up races, often promoting them through their national or regional tourist offices.

More recently races like French Riviera Nice-Cannes, Athens and Valencia all experienced very strong growth spurts when they tapped into the running travel market. In many places, before the travel restrictions brought about through the covid-19 pandemic damped it down, it was the main driver of growth in the running market as runners were in continuous pursuit of new challenges in more distant and exotic locations.

The AIMS Yearbook kept track with this trend, as membership neared 100 races, by increasing frequency of publication to two editions a year in 1992. It was then re-launched as Distance Running and progressed through three editions to become (by 2003) a quarterly magazine of 84 pages in A4 format and full colour. Each edition showcased a selection of the (by then) 170 AIMS member races. No other publication could offer such a wide range of races with such a vast geographical spread. It proved an effective platform from which member races could promote themselves – and increasingly so as AIMS membership grew steadily to reach a pre-Covid peak of 470 in 2019.

The steady progress in membership numbers, in technological application and in economic impact has wrought dramatic changes to what was, within living memory, a sport for a small minority of eccentrics. But some of the greatest moments in the last 40 years since AIMS was founded were when in the words of Chris Brasher, one of the founding fathers of AIMS, the marathon could “show to mankind that, on occasions, they can be united”.

These moments may have been in celebration – after the fall of the Berlin Wall, of the Boston Marathon centenary race or the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Marathon. More tellingly perhaps it was when such solidarity lent morale and support to the victims of tragedy. After the atrocities perpetrated in New York and Washington in 2001, in Madrid in 2004 and in Mumbai in 2008 the Marathons which followed in those cities proved cathartic and helped people to find their voice again. When the Boston Marathon itself became a target for bombing in 2013 the race proved an effective means of rallying the entire city to become “Boston Strong”.

Race news Chevron Houston Marathon, Aramco Houston Half Marathon and We Are Houston 5K

Defending champions return to mark 50th anniversary of Chevron Houston Marathon

With 194,039 finishers having run 5,083,822 miles since the first Chevron Houston Marathon, the race will mark its 50th anniversary on January 16.

“When 113 runners lined up in 1972 to run loops in Memorial Park, no one would have predicted the marathon would have a Golden Anniversary at all, much less with a field of 28,000 celebrating on the streets of Houston,” said Houston Marathon Committee Executive Director Wade Morehead. “Led by some of the top marathoners and half marathoners in the world, we’re looking forward to a great day in the history of the race and the city.”

Returning to defend their Chevron Houston Marathon titles from 2020 – only a virtual race was held last year because of Covid – are Askale Merachi and Kelkile Gezahegn, both of Ethiopia. Making her seventh-consecutive appearance will be three-time champion Biruktayit Eshetu Degefa, who will renew her quest to become the race’s first four-time winner after finishing as runner-up to Merachi last year.

Among the Americans worth watching are Keira D’Amato and Frank Lara. D’Amato comes to Houston with a personal best of 2:22:56 and could challenge the 10-year-old course record of 2:23:14, while Lara – the 2014 Gatorade Boys’ High School Cross Country Runner of the Year out of Strake Jesuit College Prep – returns home to Houston to make his marathon debut.

Dan Green, the first winner in 1972, will serve as honorary starter, along with other members of the race’s Hall of Fame. In addition to marking its 50th anniversary, the race will serve as the first qualifier for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon, with its newly-toughened standards of 2:18 for men and 2:37 for women.

The Aramco Houston Half Marathon, run concurrently with the marathon, will be headlined by Kenya’s Vicoty Chepngeno and American Sara Hall. Chepngeno set her personal best of 1:07:22 in winning the Philadelphia Half Marathon last November, while Hall is the sixth-fastest woman in U.S. history at the half marathon and second-fastest in the marathon. On the men’s side, the fastest time in the field belongs to Shadrack Kimining Korir, who returns to Houston after finishing third here in 2020 in a personal best of 59:27.

This year, the elite fields for the two races will feature athletes representing 17 countries: the U.S., Kenya, Ethiopia, Mexico, Great Britain, Japan, Bulgaria, Guatemala, Peru, Eritrea, South Africa, Morocco, New Zealand, Canada, Israel and Australia.

The Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon will be broadcast on ABC-13 from 7 a.m.-10 a.m., with a race day recap at 10:35 p.m. Joining ABC-13’s Greg Bailey and Gina Gaston as expert commentator will be Des Linden, the 2018 Boston Marathon winner and 50K world-record holder. Linden made the first of her two U.S. Olympic Marathon teams in Houston in 2012.

Date changes AU Bank Jaipur Marathon

Race date for AU Bank Jaipur Marathon (IND) changed

The AU Bank Jaipur Marathon (IND) will take place on Sun 13 March 2022, not Sun 6 February 2022 as previously published.

Date changes Photak Marathon

Race date for Photak Marathon (THA) changed

The Photak Marathon (THA) will take place on Sun 4 December 2022, not Sun 14 August 2022 as previously published.

Browse AIMS news archive: 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006

Partners

For further information on our partners, click on the logos above.

Keep up to date!

For the latest race dates please consult the official online AIMS calendar.

You can also subscribe to the AIMS calendar in your calendaring application of choice, whether on your phone, tablet or computer. Simply subscribe to webcal://aims-worldrunning.org/events.ics in your calendar app.

AIMS
the home of world running™

AIMS Headquarters | OACA Olympic Complex | Av Spyros Louis, Athens, Greece | © AIMS 2022