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The 2021 Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) Weekend events scheduled for Friday, October 29 through Sunday, October 31 in Arlington, Virginia and the US capital, have been cancelled due to security and safety precautions currently in place.
“After exhausting all possibilities, the opportunity to safely operate and execute a live event is just not feasible at this time,” said Rick Nealis, director of Marine Corps Marathon Organization (MCMO). “Though we had high hopes to welcome home our running community this October, we are excited to still be able to celebrate the 46th running of ‘The People’s Marathon’ virtually. We are anxiously looking forward to next year when we can #RunWithTheMarines in person once again.”
“The 46th Marine Corps Marathon is now a virtual event! We are excited and look forward to seeing the results of your hard work and dedication over the past year,” said Colonel Brooks, commanding officer of Marine Corps Installations National Capital Region – Marine Corps Base Quantico. “Although we were not able to conduct a live event for 2021, we trust that each of you understand that safety for you and our great support team took priority. As Marines, we are trained to adapt and overcome, and this is a great test of your ability to adapt and overcome all things this year has presented. I ask that you run hard and with purpose, and finish strong! Be safe everyone! Semper Fi!”
Runners currently in the live MCM, MCM10K and MCM50K categories have the option to:
Further instructions and a link to the registration change form will be sent to the e-mail address provided by participants during registration.
The virtual MCM Weekend events including the MCM, MCM50K and MCM10K must be completed between October 1 and November 10 — the Marine Corps Birthday. All participants will receive via mail the corresponding participant shirt, commemorative patch, bib and finisher medal. Runners will also have access to an online event program, personalized finisher certificate and several digital engagement platforms.
The 47th MCM Weekend is scheduled for October 28–30, 2022.
Tartu City Marathon will be held on the first weekend of October with the distances of 42, 21 and 10 kilometers.
A night before the main races, Friday Night Run takes place starting from Tartu Town Hall Square.
Distances of 42, 21 and 10 km are planned on the main day of the marathon, October 2nd. This year, both the Estonian champion and the veteran champion in the half marathon will be decided in Tartu. Friday Night Run, a 4 km distance, will start on October 1st. Runners are warmed up by the NOËP DJ set.
All people 18 years and older are checked for COVID safety. There are three options for proof: vaccination certificate, recovery certificate or negative test result certificate valid on the day of the race (an antigen test is valid for 48 hours, a PCR test is valid for 72 hours). After showing the appropriate certificate people get a handband, which gives the right to enter and re-enter restricted areas (race center, start, service area in the Küüni str park). Covid safety check applies also for spectators who wish to enter restricted areas.
Oliver Kivimäe, the project manager of Tartu City Marathon, says that City Marathon will continue with an environmentally friendly behaviour and in cooperation with Eesti Pandipakend, at finish-line catering there will be reusable cups and soup bowls.
In addition to the races taking place on the main day, it is also possible to take part in the City Marathon virtually from September 24th to October 10th. In addition to the marathon, half marathon and 10 km, a marathon combo is added. It means that 42 km can be covered in several parts, each at least 4.2 km at a time.
The women’s race at the BMW Berlin Marathon on Sunday is looking increasingly like an attack on the course record.
The best time to date was set three years ago when the Kenyan Gladys Cherono ran 2:18:11. Half-a-dozen women will be on the start line who have run under 2:25 and among them is the Ethiopian Hiwot Gebrekidan, the fastest women in the world this year thanks to her personal best of 2:19:35 in winning the Milan title in April.
In the light of the continung Corona pandemic the number of starters for this year has been considerably reduced. Around 25,000 runners are expected to compete on Sunday. The BMW Berlin Marathon will take place under strict hygiene rules.
Any participant on the start line must have been vaccinated, or recovered from the virus or be able to produce a negative PCR test. Over 90% of runners entered have been vaccinated. Spectators on the course will also be requested to maintain social distance and wear a mask covering nose and mouth.
“I’ve been preparing for the BMW Berlin Marathon for a long time and want to run my personal best on Sunday,” said Hiwot Gebrekidan at Thursday’s press conference in Berlin. When pressed as to what pace she would like, the 26-year-old answered: “I’d actually like to hold back in the first half. But I nevertheless plan to go through halfway in just under 69 minutes.” Such a split at halfway would put Hiwot Gebrekidan not only in contention for the course record but also the Ethiopian national record, currently held by Worknesh Degefa with her time of 2:17:41 in Dubai in 2019.
Her fellow Ethiopian Shure Demise also has a personal best in her sights. She is a highly experienced marathon runner, having run a dozen of them. “I’ve spoken with other women runners and know what a fast course is Berlin. I have high expectations for myself and want to break my personal record,” said Shure Demise, whose best currently stands at 2:20:59 and could well go under 2:20 for the first time.
“2:20 remains a breakthrough target for women in the marathon,” said the race director Mark Milde, adding in response to Hiwot Gebrekidan’s announcement of going for a super-fast time at halfway: “We’ll have to wait and see what times are actually run. But a pace like that would certainly suit us. And a course record would be great.”
A woman who has been a late addition to the elite field in Berlin but is capable of a surprise is Fancy Chemutai. The Kenyan has a best of 2:24:27 and will be running only her second marathon. If she were able to convert her enormous potential to good effect in the classic distance she may well be in contention for the win. Her half marathon best of 64:52 makes her the seventh fastest woman at the distance of all time. No other woman on the Berlin start list has such a fast half marathon performance.
Rabea Schöneborn from the local club LG Nord Berlin will be running a marathon for the first time in her home town. The 27-year-old improved her best to 2:27:03 in April in her second race at the distance, missing selection for the Olympics by just nine seconds. This inadvertently created the opportunity of turning that preparation to potentially good effect at the BMW Berlin Marathon. “Berlin is definitely a highlight, I’m really looking forward to Sunday. Up to now I’ve only had the experience of elite marathons but now I can see and feel what’s it like to be part of a big city marathon. Having spectators will definitely give me a lift,” said Rabea Schöneborn.
The Berlin athlete hopes to take advantage of the fast course and what looks likely to be excellent weather conditions to improve her best time. “I always try to hold back a little so I can run the second half faster. That’s also the plan on Sunday,” explained Rabea Schöneborn. Nevertheless, she is still looking at a fast halfway split: “Something between 73:10 and 73:20 is the plan.”
Kenyan running great Mary Keitany announced her retirement on Wednesday 22 September after a stellar career which saw her win the London Marathon on three occasions and the New York Marathon four times, as well as triumph at the 2009 World Half Marathon Championships.
Keitany, 39, also still holds the marathon world record for a women-only race, having clocked a stunning 2:17:01 when winning the third of her Virgin Money London Marathon titles in 2017.
She commented: “After my successful 2019, when I had some good results including second place in New York, I was hopeful that I could still be very competitive internationally for several more years even though I am in my late 30s.”
“However, I’m sad to say, a back injury that I suffered in late 2019 made a decision about my retirement for me. I couldn’t get the treatment I wanted in Europe because of the pandemic-related travel restrictions last year and every time I thought I had got over the injury and started training hard, it became a problem again. So now is the time to say goodbye – if only as an elite runner – to the sport I love so much.”
Keitany first came to global attention in 2007, after local success in Kenya the previous year, with a series of good performances in European half marathons which then earned her a place in the Kenyan team at that year’s World Half Marathon Championships.
A silver medal at the 2007 edition of that event, and team gold, was followed by more than a decade among the very best of the world’s female road runners, even with breaks in 2008 and 2013 to give birth to her children Jared and Samantha.
After finishing third in New York on her marathon debut in 2010, her first major marathon win came in her next race over the classic distance when she triumphed in the 2011 Virgin Money London Marathon and further victories in the British capital came in 2012 and 2017.
She will also be remembered fondly for her three impressive consecutive wins in the New York Marathon between 2014 and 2016 before winning in the Big Apple again in 2018. Other accolades include setting a world half marathon record of 1:05:50 at the 2011 RAK Half Marathon, fourth place in the London 2012 Olympic Games marathon, and she continues to hold the women-only 25km world best of 1:19:43, set during her triumphant 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon run.
“As for the future, I haven’t fully decided on my plans but I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family. My children are currently 13 and eight. In addition, I am involved with some local charitable enterprises,” said Keitany, who added that she still intends to pay close attention to what is happening in the world of distance running.
Only a month away from the Tokyo Marathon race date Tokyo is still under a state of emergency.
Given the difficulty of forecasting the trend of COVID-19 and related restrictions on mobility the Tokyo Marathon Board of Directors has decided that the Tokyo Marathon 2021 (originally scheduled for Sunday 17 October) will be postponed to Sunday 6 March 2022.
All related events (Tokyo Marathon EXPO 2021, Tokyo Marathon Friendship Run 2021, Tokyo Marathon Family Run 2021) will be re-scheduled too take place in March 2022.
Alongside this decision it was also decided that the Tokyo Marathon 2022, expected to be held on 6 March 2022, will not take place. For all runners who have an entry to the Tokyo Marathon 2022, will be contacted with details and options soon.
In Lugano, in the south of Switzerland, AIMS member StraLugano was able to hold its 15th anniversary event in compliance with the Covid-19 rules of the federal and cantonal authorities under almost normal conditions.
Brilliant performances were achieved in the 10K City Run of Saturday, August 28 at the same time as the Swiss Road Running Championships and the Half Marathon of Sunday, August 29.
For the 30th year in a row the half marathon in the famous German pilgrimage town Altötting took place.
Not even the Corona pandemic and all corresponding restrictions could stop the motivated organizers in offering a high quality race for the eager running community.
The race, decorated with a 5-star quality award by the European Athletics Association, could not shine with its usual service as no music, free massages, free child care or even showers were allowed. Nevertheless, the organizers could offer free public transportation by train and free guided city tours at least.
The fastest half marathon held on natural surfaces had to do without elite athletes this year.
So the way for the local hero, Josef Diensthuber was free to win in 1:12:08. The fastest woman was Sophie Crisholm from Scotland who set a new personal best in 1:24:48.
Both results are far outside the course records which are 1:01:39 and 1:08:38 respectively.
And also the number of participants was far below the usual level but even 1700 registrations are a success for a small town during the Corona pandemic.
Race director Guenther Vogl who founded the the race 30 years ago not only is among the most experienced race organizers worldwide but also an authorized athletes representative. So the running business is well located in the Bavarian town of Altötting.
More than 13,000 runners from all 50 US states and the District of Columbia are now set to run live during Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) Weekend.
The reduced number of participants is part of the COVID-19 precautions taken by the Marine Corps Marathon Organization (MCMO) to safely execute a live event for runners in 2021.
Runners ranging from ages 7 to 86 in 28 countries around the world will be running the popular MCM events live on October 31. All participants who complete the live event will receive the official event shirt, a commemorative bib, a personalized digital finisher certificate and an impressive finisher medal. Runners will also have access to a digital event program, Track your Runner and MapTrack.
“This year marks the 46th anniversary of the race and we couldn’t be more excited to host the live event on Halloween,” said Rick Nealis, director of MCMO. “Coming out of the pandemic, this will be a treat, not a trick. Runners enjoy yourselves, be strong, adapt and overcome whether you run live or virtually.”
Virtual entries are still available for the 46th MCM, MCM50K and MCM10K. Interested participants can register here. Runners previously registered for any of the MCM Weekend events can still secure the MCM Trifecta by entering the other two virtually. This challenge rewards finishers with a stunning challenge coin in addition to the corresponding finisher medal.
The Siberian International Marathon (RUS) recovered from last year’s cancellation to hold a successful event on 12 September.
A total of 3306 runners took part in temperatures slightly above freezing. The race started at 9am at 5ºC.
Marina Kovaleva (RUS) won the women’s race and Alexey Reunkov (RUS) the men’s. There was a total of USD 24000 in prize money to be won.
A terrific atmosphere at the start, along the course and at the finish resulted in happy runners as they crossed the line on Münster’s Prinzipalmarkt square.
Although the organisers had not invited any elite runners, the race was won by African participants Samuel Lomoi and Monica Cheruto, who had registered and travelled to Münster at their own expense. Elias Sansar was the fastest German man, coming in third around three minutes ahead of anyone else. The fastest German woman was Johanna Rellensmann whose performance – 2:44:09 – was eagerly awaited after she ran a top time of 1:16 in the Dresden half marathon earlier in the year.
Only in July was the final decision taken to let the race go ahead. The good relations between the city council and the organisers made it possible even though Corona restrictions were changing all the time – but still all the organisation had to be done in just two and a half months, when usually much more time is needed.
The Vienna City Marathon produced two breaking news of completely different content on Sunday and none of them was about records: The race became the first major marathon worldwide with a strong international elite field and a mass race since the start of the Corona pandemic and then ended with a disqualification of the runner who crossed the line first.
Ethiopia’s Derara Hurisa wore shoes which are not compliant with the rules. While it is the first time that such a disqualification happened in a major marathon Kenyan Leonard Langat became the winner with a time of 2:09:25.
A debutant was the surprise winner of the women’s race: Kenyan Vibian Chepkirui ran 2:24:29. On a day when temperatures reached around 25 Celsius during the final part of the race hopes of records faded during the second half of the marathon.
In total organisers registered around 26,000 entries from 126 nations for the various events. 6,000 of them were marathon runners. Some of the events were already staged on Saturday. In a 10k race Julia Mayer smashed the national record with a time of 32:54, becoming the first Austrian woman to break 33:00 minutes. Andreas Vojta took the men’s race. The Austrian improved his personal best to 29:03. The Vienna City Marathon is a Label Road Race of the international athletics federation World Athletics.
Less than 45 minutes after breaking the finishing tape in the heart of Vienna in 2:09:22 Derara Hurisa looked completely distraught, sitting on the pavement in the finishing area between Vienna’s Burgtheater and the impressive town hall. He had just learnt that he was disqualified because the soles of his shoes were one centimetre thicker than allowed. The soles of road running shoes have to be no thicker than four centimetres. Hurisa was running with a model that has a sole thickness of five centimetres. He is said to have chosen the shoes for the race because he used them in training and thought they were within the rules.
Organisers explained that every runner or their manager had to fill in a form in which they have to name the model of the shoe they were going to wear. On Hurisa’s form a shoe was named that is within the rules. For some reasons on race day he wore a different one. “We also stressed in the technical meeting the rules about the shoes. Unfortunately we had no other choice than disqualifying the athlete,” said Hannes Langer, who is one of the elite race coordinators of the Vienna City Marathon. “It is the first time something like this has happened. And I am pretty sure that from now on there will be some form of checks to avoid something like this happening again in a major race.”
“Of course I would have preferred to have broken the tape,” said Leonard Langat, who became the winner and clocked sub 2:10 for the first time. “I had no clue about the disqualification until they told me. It was of course my aim to win and I thank god that in the end I did. It was a good race, but the heat was a problem.” While the leading group had passed the half marathon in 63:41 the 30k split of 1:30:33 still pointed towards a finishing time of around 2:07:30. However when the last pacemaker dropped out at 30k the race became much slower and tactical.
Once Japan’s Kento Kukutani, who came from behind, had reached the leading group with Kenyans Leonard Langat and Samwel Kiptoo plus Ethiopians Betesfa Getahun and Derara Hurisa the pace was increased again. Kukutani and Kiptoo were quickly dropped while the other three battled for victory. Hurisa had the best sprint, but with illegal shoes. So it was Leonard Lagat who became Vienna’s champion.
The women’s leaders were running well inside the course record of 2:22:12 for long parts of the race. Vibian Chepkirui and the Ethiopians Meseret Dinke and Gelete Burka passed the half way mark in 70:47. Burka had recovered from a fall earlier in the race when she stumbled at a zebra crossing where a section was slightly elevated. However neither she nor Dinke was able to hold on to Chepkirui. At the 30 k mark the Kenyan’s split time was 1:40:37 and she was already 33 seconds ahead of Dinke with Burka another 20 seconds back.
Although Vibian Chepkirui slowed in the final section her victory was never in doubt as the gaps behind her grew. “Without the heat I would have run at least two minutes faster,” said the 27 year-old. She finished with 2:24:29 and was well ahead of the Ethiopians Meseret Dinke and Gelete Burka who clocked 2:25:31 and 2:25:38 respectively. Little over a month after a superb 12th place finish in the Olympic marathon Fabienne Schlumpf of Switzerland was fourth in 2:26:31.
With the government extending the state of emergency in Tokyo and other parts of the country, as of 6 September it is all but certain that the Tokyo Marathon on 17 October will be cancelled.
The published guidelines for the 2021 race state, “In the event that a state of emergency has been issued one month prior to the event as part of the government’s efforts against the coronavirus pandemic, or if the local government has issued a request not to hold the race, the Tokyo Marathon will be cancelled.” The current state of emergency in Tokyo runs through to 12 September but as it is expected to be extended 2~3 weeks it will still be in force on the 17th. This makes the chances that the Tokyo Marathon will go ahead virtually non-existent. The event’s organisers, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation, plan to hold a board meeting in mid-September to make a final decision.
The 2021 Tokyo Marathon was originally scheduled for 7 March but in October last year, in the light of pandemic conditions, the Foundation’s board decided to postpone it to 17 October this year. In June 2021 event organisers announced that non-elite runners living outside Japan would not be permitted to run. The 2022 Tokyo Marathon is scheduled for 6 March.
With a strong quartet of Japanese elite runners headed by Kento Kikutani the Vienna City Marathon will go ahead for the first time since April 2019 on Sunday.
Austria’s major road race event sees its 38th edition and organizers have registered around 26,000 entries. This includes races at shorter distances. Around 6,000 marathon runners will compete in Vienna on Sunday. The Vienna City Marathon will be the first major marathon worldwide with a strong international elite field and a mass race since the start of the Corona pandemic. It is a World Athletics Label Road Race.
It is the first time in the history of the Vienna City Marathon that a Japanese male elite team will be on the start line. And partly this development has to do with Eliud Kipchoge. When the Kenyan Olympic Champion broke the two hour barrier in the Austrian capital two years ago the world took notice of a unique running spectacle co-organized by the Vienna City Marathon. Back in Japan Kento Kikutani, Yuta Koyama, Koki Yoshioka and Daji Kawai all watched Kipchoge’s race through Vienna’s Prater Park, which is also part of the marathon course.
“I was watching the live stream. This was a huge effort by Kipchoge. I think that good weather conditions in Vienna had a big influence on the result,” said Kento Kikutani, who has a personal best of 2:07:26 from Lake Biwa this year. He is the fastest of the Japanese quartet and wants to improve his personal best on Sunday: “I will follow to pacers and then I want to go for the win after the 30k point,” said the 27 year-old, who then hold up his watch during the press conference: “At least I already have the same watch Kipchoge used in Vienna!“
Yuta Koyama has a personal best of 2:08:46 and is the second fastest of the four Japanese. He is also ready for a fast race and possibly a personal best. “My plan is to go with the leading group,” said Koyama, who also clocked his PB in Lake Biwa this year. “Vienna is a good opportunity for me to race despite the corona pandemic.”
Koki Yoshioka and Daji Kawai feature personal records of 2:10:13 and 2:10:50 respectively. Both target their personal bests on Sunday. “I really appreciate that I am able to run here during the pandemic. My goal is to go under 2:10,” said Yoshioka while Kawai stated: “Vienna is a traditional race and I am happy to run here. As there are pacers, I think the race will have a good pace. I want to stay calm and will then decide how to react.”
“This will be the most important Vienna City Marathon since the first edition back in 1984,” said Race Director Wolfgang Konrad. “On Sunday we will send a strong message as the first major international marathon worldwide since the start of the pandemic.” He compares the situation to when he was an elite runner back in the 1980s. “After a fine Olympic season I was injured in a car crash in 1980. When I could finally start running again I had to stop after two kilometers. Four months later I ran a PB,” recalled the former steeplechaser, who achieved a fine PB of 8:17.22 in 1982. “Back then it was just about me, now it is about everyone. We were desperate to bring the race back on as early as possible. It was a disaster for us when we had to cancel on short notice in 2020. But we continued to work hard to make the race possible again.”
“We want to stage a great race that stands for joy and motivation. With this event we also want to say thank you to all those who have supported us during this very difficult time,” said Kathrin Widu, one of the Managing Directors of the Vienna City Marathon. She explained that runners from 126 nations entered the race. “Most of the foreigners are obviously from EU countries.” While over 90% of all runners are vaccinated organizers have implemented strict hygiene rules. Everyone needs to provide a negative Corona test to receive the bib number.
Fellow Managing Director Gerhard Wehr said: “We have never been out of touch regarding organizing races. Under most difficult situations we did stage a number of smaller races whenever possible. We are now experiencing a very strong togetherness from all those involved. Everyone wants the Vienna City Marathon to come back.”
Those wishing to take part in the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running have until 19th September to sign up.
The event, which takes place on Sunday 3rd October 2021, includes the Marathon, Baxters River Ness 10K, 10K Corporate Challenge and Baxters River Ness 5K.
Making its return for the first time since 2019, the event will have enhanced safety measures and Covid guidelines in place. Typically attracting runners from around the globe, this year will see participants primarily from across the UK descend upon the Highland capital for one of the world’s most scenic marathons.
The Event Village will also be back for the event weekend, with highlights including a Sports Expo and a Festival on race day with street food and a pipe band.
Malcolm Sutherland, Event & Race Director of Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running, said: “We’re so excited for the return of the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running and to welcome everyone back to beautiful Loch Ness. It’s always great to see so many different people and abilities come together to enjoy the races and this year will be even more special.
“Of course, there will be Covid safety measures in place and all participants will receive guidelines outlining these measures.
“We’re now taking the last entries for the event so if you’ve been thinking about taking part in our 5K or 10K, then get involved! There are also some charity spaces still available in the marathon, which are a great way to raise money for fantastic charities, including our official charity, Macmillan Cancer Support.
“We wish all runners the best of luck with their final weeks of training and fundraising, and look forward to seeing them on the start line on 3rd October.”
Discounted entry for the Baxters River Ness 5K is also available for schools and youth groups and clubs and is open to all ages and running abilities.
Entries close on 19th September 2021, unless race capacity is reached sooner, with limited 5K entries available on the event weekend.
To commemorate the centenary of the world’s greatest ultra-marathon, a very special hardcover publication will be released towards the end of 2021.
For the first time, a history of the Comrades Marathon will be presented in a coffee table format, reflecting the extraordinary spectacle of the event including many never-seen-before photographs.
The history of The Ultimate Human Race is celebrated, from its humble beginnings, when 34 starters ran in the 1921 race, to fields of over 20,000 nowadays which include ultramarathon runners from all around the world.
Spiced with stories of bygone days and fun anecdotes, the book also looks at everything that goes into making this massive event a smoothly-run, world-leading exhibition of the best that South Africa has to offer.
In Your Stride: 100 Years of the Comrades Marathon, 1921–2021 is a must-have for anyone who has been inspired by the race. It documents a unique ultramarathon that has set and continues to set the worldwide bar for astonishing endurance challenges, undertaken and met by ordinary people.
It is an inspirational look at the power of the human spirit, captured beautifully over the course of a century of change in scenes that echo times that have passed and a promising future to come.
Consisting of 264 pages in full colour and a matt cover finish with UV spot varnish, the book is a 280×280mm hard cover publication crammed with loads of information and imagery on the world’s biggest, oldest and most famous ultramarathon.
The book can be pre-ordered here: https://igobooks.co.za/product/product-category/in-your-stride/
The BMW Berlin Marathon will get underway on Sunday, September 26 with high quality elite fields headed by the Ethiopian superstar Kenenisa Bekele on his fourth appearance in Germany’s biggest and most spectacular marathon, while his compatriot Hiwot Gebrekidan will run in Berlin’s women’s field for the first time.
Gebrekidan is currently the fastest female marathon runner in the world this year. The BMW Berlin Marathon is part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors and a Platinum Label Road Race, awarded by World Athletics, the international governing body of athletics.
Kenenisa Bekele is 39 now and will be running the BMW Berlin Marathon for the fourth time. He won the race in 2016 but dropped out the next year and returned in 2019 to triumph once again. In both victories the Ethiopian missed the then world record by a matter of seconds.
In terms of his achievements on the track and cross country, Kenenisa Bekele is the greatest long distance runner of all time. The multiple world record holder won the 5,000m at the 2008 Olympic Games as well as at the 2009 World Championships, took the 10,000m title at the Olympics in 2004 and 2008 as well as at the World Championships in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009. In addition, he has won eleven gold medals at the World Cross Country Championships.
At the same time, Kenenisa Bekele’s marathon career has been by no means a smooth one. He has failed to finish three of his six races at the classic distance, including an attempt on the world record in Dubai in 2017 and Berlin later in the same year.
Yet on two occasions Kenenisa Bekele was able to convert his enormous potential to the marathon though there was still an element of disappointment attached, since he missed breaking the world record by a handful of seconds each time. In 2016 in Berlin he went within six seconds of the then global best, improving his own best to 2:03:03. Two years ago Bekele won again, this time running 2:01:41, two seconds outside the world record which his Kenyan rival Eliud Kipchoge had improved to 2:01:39 in the meantime. This achievement in 2019 means the Ethiopian is the second fastest marathon runner in history. It may well be that the BMW Berlin Marathon on September 26 is his last chance to break the world record at the distance. “I’m looking forward to the race in the BMW Berlin Marathon and all my training has been with this in mind. It’s gone well. I am doing everything to make sure my preparation is perfect,” said Kenenisa Bekele.
Ethiopia’s superstar will face two strong compatriots among his rivals. Guye Adola made an outstanding marathon debut in 2017 beside the River Spree with second place in 2:03:46. His time was record for a marathon debutant and Adola even put the eventual winner, Eliud Kipchoge, under pressure, leading the great Kenyan until shortly before 40 kilometres. Another Ethiopian who surprised many on his marathon debut is Olika Adugna. He will be running in Berlin on September 26 with a best of 2:06:15 from winning debut in Dubai in 2020.
The women’s field includes the fastest marathoner in the world this year, Ethiopia’s Hiwot Gebrekidan, who won the Milan Marathon in a personal best of 2:19:35 in April. Purity Rionoripo of Kenya (pb 2:20:39) and the Ethiopian Shure Demise (pb 2:20:59) should also be relied upon to offer strong challenges.
For the second year in a row the Halfmarathon Altötting in Germany will take place during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The race on 12 September is the 30th anniversary edition and the course is the fastest held on natural surfaces. The race route is mainly on forest trails and the event records are 1:01:39 for men and 1:08:38 for women.
Organisers expect around 1500 participants. This is far lower than during normal times, but due to all the Coronavirus restrictions even 1500 participants signifies a success.
Race day includes three different races (a children’s race of 1.3 km, a 6km race and the half marathon itself). Masks are required before and after the race (but not during it). There is no requirement for negative tests or proof of vaccination – everybody can run in Altötting.
All participants get a specially-created medal as well as a towel with a photo-print of the famous pilgrimage town of Altötting.
Ethiopians Betesfa Getahun and Gelete Burka will be the fastest athletes on the start list for the Vienna City Marathon next Sunday. They feature world-class personal bests of 2:05:28 and 2:20:45 respectively.
The 38th edition of Austria’s biggest road running event is the first major international marathon featuring a strong international elite field and a mass race since the start of the Corona pandemic. Including races at shorter distances a total of 25,000 athletes have registered for the event. 6,000 of them will run the marathon. The Vienna City Marathon is a World Athletics Marathon Label Road Race.
Betesfa Getahun heads the elite start list which includes ten runners who have personal bests of sub 2:10. The Ethiopian ran 2:05:28 in his debut marathon in Amsterdam two years ago. Returning to the Vienna City Marathon will be Switzerland’s record holder Tadesse Abraham, who was the runner-up here in 2019 with 2:07:24.
With a personal best of 2:06:40 Tadesse Abraham is among the fastest European marathon runners. Due to breathing problems he dropped out of the Olympic marathon in Sapporo (Japan) a month ago. While this was of course a major disappointment he then quickly decided to go for the Vienna City Marathon. “I am in form and I want to show it. I am really looking forward to Vienna as I have such great memories of this race,” he said.
The women’s field includes six runners with personal bests of sub 2:28. Gelete Burka is the fastest on the start list with 2:20:45. She achieved this time in Dubai in 2018 and then won the marathons in Ottawa (2018) and in Paris (2019). The women’s race will also feature the Swiss marathon record holder: Fabienne Schlumpf ran 2:26:14 in her debut in Bern earlier this year and then finished in a very strong 12th position at the Olympic marathon.
Gelete Burka and Fabienne Schlumpf will head the women’s field of the Vienna City Marathon, which will take place on 12 September.
With a personal best of 2:20:45 Ethiopia’s Burka will be the fastest woman ever on a start list for Austria’s most prestigious and biggest road running event.
The Vienna City Marathon will see its 38th edition next week and organizers currently have registered a total of around 25,000 athletes. While this includes races at shorter distances there will be 6,000 marathon runners. Some of the events will take place on the Saturday.
The Vienna City Marathon is a World Athletics Marathon Label Road Race and will be the first major international marathon featuring a strong elite field and a mass race since the start of the Corona pandemic. After providing a hygiene concept organizers received the final go ahead from the city a couple of days ago.
Gelete Burka has been a very successful track and cross country runner. The Ethiopian took the World Cross Country Championships’ gold medal in 2006 (short course) and won the 1,500 m final at the World Indoor Championships two years later. In 2015 she was second in the 10,000 m final of the World Championships. By that time she already had a few attempts at the marathon distance. However despite a personal best of 2:26:03 from 2014 in Houston she did not manage to transform her great potential to the classic distance. It was then in Dubai 2018 when she returned to the marathon after a four-year break and achieved a breakthrough performance: Gelete Burka improved to 2:20:45 in the Emirate.
There was more success in the marathon for Gelete Burka after her sixth place in Dubai: In May that year she won the Ottawa race in 2:22:17, then she took the Paris Marathon in 2019 with 2:22:47. A third place in the Chicago Marathon (2:20:55) followed later in the year. The Vienna City Marathon will now be the first marathon for the 35 year-old since 2019.
In contrast Fabienne Schlumpf is still a newcomer to the marathon. The former steeplechaser, who took the silver medal at the European Championships in 2018, first ran a series of national records in the half marathon. Last autumn she achieved a very respectable 13th place in the World Half Marathon Championships with an improvement to 68:38. She then took the Dresden Half Marathon this March with 68:27. Easily breaking the Olympic qualifying standard she clocked 2:26:14 in her marathon debut in Bern in April when she took second place. Fabienne Schlumpf then ran her second marathon at the Olympics in the extremely tough conditions in Sapporo. She achieved a superb 12th place in 2:31:36 which suggests that there is much more to come from the 30 year-old in the marathon. “I had already planned to run Vienna after the Olympics for a long time,” said Fabienne Schlumpf.
Gelete Burka and Fabienne Schlumpf will face a group of strong Kenyan contenders at the Vienna City Marathon. Risper Chebet is the second fastest on the start list with a personal best of 2:23:45. She achieved this time when she was fifth in Milan earlier this year, improving her PB by almost four minutes. Returning to the Vienna City Marathon will be Rebecca Kangogo and Celestine Chepchirchir. Kangogo ran her personal record of 2:24:25 here when she was runner-up in 2017 while Chepchirchir was third in 2018. She has a personal best of 2:24:48 from Seoul in 2019.
“Your best time” is a motto that could not be more apt for this year.
So it was unsurprising that many runners and cyclists attended to see the “blue line” being painted on the streets of Münster, as did passers-by and café visitors who were sitting outside enjoying the sunny weather and spontaneously applauded. Jürgen Sieme and Michael Brinkmann from the Münster Marathon organisation accompanied the route markers and their police escort for the 18th year.
The weather stayed good, which was fortunate as the best line can’t be painted in the rain. 60 litres of blue paint were needed to mark out the race route. When the pale blue line shines in the morning sun it may attract the attention of some to the marathon – motivation and a mental push for a successful run on 12th September. Starting places are still available.
The Nagoya Women’s Marathon is pleased to announce its plan to hold the Nagoya Women’s Marathon 2022 with 22,000 participants, on the same scale as before the Covid-19 pandemic started, in Nagoya city, Japan on Sunday, March 13, 2022.
Launched in 2012, the Nagoya Women’s Marathon is the world’s largest women’s marathon certified by Guinness World Records and the only women’s race granted a World Athletics Platinum Label.
The event hosted 21,436 runners in 2019, but due to the Covid-19 outbreak, it only staged the elite race with 110 athletes in 2020. The 2021 race on March 14, 2021, was held as the first mass participation road race held in Japan after the Covid-19 pandemic started and welcomed 4,704 domestic runners (In the virtual marathon held in parallel with the in-person race, 4,800 runners participated from around the world). The post-event investigation found no cases of infection among event participants within two weeks after race day. The 2021 race was recognized for setting an example of ‘new-normal’ distance race with all suitable measures against infection delivered and advice of medical professionals and local government officials followed.
The Nagoya Women’s Marathon has been paving the way for the organization of safe road racing during the pandemic by holding races with gradually increased numbers of participants of only elite athletes in 2020 and nearly 5,000 runners in 2021. Using the knowledge and expertise in infection prevention and control practice accumulated in the past two years, the organizers are determined to make thorough preparations and develop further anti-infection measures for the 2022 race to safely host 22,000 women runners.
To keep the event safe and secure for runners, volunteers, and all concerned, the organizers will establish an infection control office within the organizing committee with medical professionals and local government officials and form a precise infection control plan. All participants will be required to cooperate with the infection measures, such as wearing a mask at all event sites (except for runners while running in the race), temperature check on every site arrival, Covid-19 testing at number pickup, and submission of health condition sheet for 7 days before and 14 days after race day. If the event is forced to be downsized or canceled due to the state of emergency or event restrictions issued by the Japanese or local governments, participation in a virtual marathon will be offered as a substitution. The virtual participation option will be also offered to international runners if they cannot come to the event due to travel restrictions.
The organizers will continue monitoring the infection status closely and make the utmost effort to stage the world’s largest women’s marathon in the best and safest way possible.
Koji Kitano, Race Director of the Nagoya Women’s Marathon comments: “Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have not been able to welcome 22,000 women runners and support their marathon challenge for the past two years. As a runner myself, I understand how running fans around the world are waiting for mass races to return. We will use our experience from the past two races held during the pandemic to act in best practice to ensure the health and safety of 22,000 runners. The race entry will start in November and we are looking forward to receiving applications from many runners.”
Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw ran a new world record time of 1:03:43 at the Antrim Coast Half Marathon on 29 August which, subject to ratification, betters that set in Istanbul by Ruth Chepngetich on 4 April by 19 seconds.
Yehualaw is the first woman to have broken 64 minutes for the half marathon, improving her personal best time, set in the Istanbul race, by 57 seconds. The next woman to finish, Kenya’s Vane Nyaboke, was six minutes behind her. Only the first eight men finished ahead of her. Paced through 5km in 15:06 and 10km in 30:22 Yehualaw made the turn to pass 15km in 45:24 and looked comfortable as she pushed on to the finish.
“I have tried twice before to break the world record," said Yehualaw. "it didn’t happen, but I’m so happy it [did] today in Larne.” Yehualaw had missed out on selection for the Olympic Games in Tokyo but improved from her 4th place in the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia last October to run the second fastest time ever (1:04:46) the following month at the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon before shaving a further six seconds of her personal best behind Chepngetich’s 1:04:02 in Istanbul.
Ethiopia’s Jemal Yimer won the men’s race in a crowded sprint finish with the first four finishing within five seconds.
The Valencia Half Marathon Trinidad Alfonso EDP, organised by SD Correcaminos, has confirmed the first names of the international elite that will take to the streets of Valencia Ciudad del Running on October 24th.
After the Elite Edition last year in which a new male world record for the distance was set, 57:32 by Kibiwott Kandie, and four runners ran under 58 minutes, the Valencia Half Marathon aims to become the world’s fastest in 2021, all of this without losing sight of the challenge of the women’s world record, currently set at 1:04:02 in the hands of the Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich.
Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey, current 5000m record holder (14:06.62 at the NN Valencia World Record Day in 2020), 10,000 (29:01.03, Hengelo) and 15K record holder (44:20), will try to improve upon her bronze medal in the 10,000m at Tokyo 2020 debuting at the Valencia Half Marathon at a world–class level. Alongside her, the last two winners of the event, Genzebe Dibaba (1:05:18 in 2020) and Senbere Teferi (1:05:32 in 2019), as well as Yalemzerf Yehualaw (1:04:40), third in the last World Half Marathon in Gdynia (Poland), and who improves her personal performance in each new asphalt race she takes part in.
In spite of the immeasurable records that were registered in the men’s category in 2020, with four runners under 58 minutes and the previous world record, the Valencia Half Marathon will also set up a race of an immensely high level in the men’s category. The third classified of the Elite Edition, Rhonex Kipruto (57:49 and the current 10K road world record) will return and the Ethiopian Muktar Edris, double world champion in 5.000m on track and with a time of 59:04 in half marathon, in his only experience in road race. They will be joined by several sub 59-minute runners over the distance and some world-class debutants from the track.
Marc Roig, manager of the international elite of the race, said that “Olympic years always have a special atmosphere, but the calendar does not stop and the half marathon (non-Olympic distance) has other crowns to share out. And they want them, both those who triumphed in Tokyo and those who fell short. That’s why dreaming about the world record is possible and desired.”
The Valencia Half Marathon is working with the teams of the top elite athletes so that their training in the weeks leading up to the event will culminate in an unprecedented peak of performance in Valencia.
The 55th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, cancelled last year due to Covid-19, opened on Friday 20 August with “Zátopek”, a dramatised biography by Czech director David Ondříček about the long-distance runner who is his country’s most famous athlete.
At the Helsinki Olympic Games in 1952 Emil Zátopek won gold medals in the 5000m, 10,000m and, in his debut at the distance, the Marathon. He is still the only person to have won all three long-distance running events at one OIympic Games and is often regarded as the greatest runner of the twentieth century.
Olympic medalist Molly Seidel will make her TCS New York City Marathon debut after winning bronze at the Tokyo Games, leading what will be the strongest-ever field of American women in the race at the event’s 50th running on Sunday, 7 November.
Joining Seidel in New York in the elite athlete field will be 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials champion Aliphine Tuliamuk, 2012 Olympic silver medalist Sally Kipyego, 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials 10,000m champion Emily Sisson, and 2018 Boston Marathon winner and two-time Olympian Des Linden.
In her third marathon ever Seidel won bronze at the Tokyo Olympics. She held on to the lead pack for the entire race to finish in 2:27:46 and became only the third American woman in history (after Joan Benoit in 1984 and Deena Kastor in 2004) to medal in the Olympic marathon. In her first career marathon – the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials – Seidel finished as the runner-up in 2:27:31, becoming the youngest American woman to make an Olympic marathon team since 1992. Later in 2020, she went on to finish sixth in her second career marathon in London in 2:25:13.
“Since the beginning of 2021 I’ve had two races circled on my calendar,” said Seidel. “The Olympic Games Marathon on 7 August, and the TCS New York City Marathon on 7 November. Winning the bronze medal in Sapporo showed that I can run with the best in the world and, on any given day, anything is possible. I can’t think of a better year to run my first New York than in its 50th running.”
More than 10,000 participants united on the streets of London on 22 August – the day that the fourth edition of The Vitality Big Half took place amid a celebratory atmosphere.
Rising star Jake Smith cemented his breakthrough year by winning the men’s race in a time of 1:02:06, while Charlotte Purdue sealed a record third win, setting a new women’s course record of 1:09:51.
Speaking after his victory, Smith said: “It’s incredible to be back on the streets of London. Over Tower Bridge I couldn’t hear myself breathe as the crowds were so loud.”
Exceptionally, the race has not missed an edition due to the Covid pandemic. Usually held in early March the 2020 edition was won by Kenenisa Bekele only two weeks before a nationwide ‘lockdown’. This year’s race, purposefully fixed for late summer in order to build up towards the London Marathon on 3 October, came only a month after restrictions on holding mass events were lifted.
Joyciline Jepkosgei won the Generali Berlin Half Marathon on 22 August with a spectacular course record of 1:05:16.
The 27 year-old Kenyan smashed double Olympic Champion Sifan Hassan’s time of 1:05:45 set in 2019.
Second-placed Kenyan Nancy Meto was just five seconds behind, improving her PB by more than three minutes. With 1:05:21 she was also inside the former course record. Valary Aiyabei completed the Kenyan podium with 1:07:32 for third place.
Kenya’s Felix Kipkoech clocked a world leading time of 58:57. The 23 year-old improved his own world lead by 38 seconds. Fellow Kenyans Josphat Tanui and Philemon Kiplimo followed in second and third with 59:40 and 59:54 respectively.
A total of 15,096 starters from 130 countries had entered the 40th edition of the Generali Berlin Half Marathon. 14,508 of them were runners, 572 skaters, 14 handbikers and two wheelchair athletes.
With the announcement of the new Corona Protection Ordinance for North Rhine-Westphalia, the 19th Volksbank-Münster Marathon is now confirmed for 12 September. The new regulation accepts that facilities and services are open again to vaccinated and convalescent people.
A mandatory face mask requirement remains only for indoors and at other infection-critical locations, as well as a test requirement for non-vaccinated or recovered people at events indoors (“3-G rule”).
Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann said: “We are on a decisive threshold to normality. An ever larger part of society is vaccinated and thus almost certainly protected from serious illnesses. The state can no longer impose significant restrictions on these people. With a consistent implementation of the 3G rule, we take this situation into account – we protect the unvaccinated without restricting the vaccinated. Only vaccination brings us full normalcy. Until then the mask requirement indoors and more corona tests for non-vaccinated people are required.”
The most important rule for the Volksbank-Münster-Marathon is the obligation to submit a negative test (rapid antigen test is sufficient) for all people who are neither fully vaccinated nor recovered from an incidence (and which was conducted not longer than 48 hours before) for those areas jointly determined by the city and the organizer. In Münster this is the route from the Prinzipalmarkt to the Aegidiimarkt (a maximum of 4000 spectators) and at the Aegidiitor (maximum 500 spectators).
“We are pleased that we are able to hold our run at all,” said Gregor Veauthier from the organizational team. “After the many failures of the last 1.5 years, many runners are now longing for this challenge for which, especially in the Corona times, they have trained so much.”
In the wake of the Tokyo Olympics Video Research, Ltd. announced that the closing ceremony had a viewership rating of 46.7% in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area, slightly less elsewhere.
The company calculated that 46,997,000 people nationwide had watched the closing ceremony in realtime.
The event broadcast that earned the highest viewership was the men’s baseball final on NHK on 7 August when Japan defeated the USA. to win the gold medal, at 37.0% Second was NHK’s broadcast of the Aug. 8 men’s marathon, where Suguru Osako placed 6th, which earned 31.4% viewership in its second half. Third was the men’s soccer semi-final match on 3 August where Japan lost to Spain in extra-time, at 30.8%.
With few opportunities to race at home this autumn Japanese runners, particularly men, have sought out races in which to compete elsewhere in the world.
Despite cases of covid increasing daily the postponed Tokyo Marathon is still due to go ahead on 17 October, right in the middle of the ekiden season for both corporate men and (especially) women. The men-only Fukuoka International Marathon will hold its 75th and final running on 5 December, the traditional date that has contributed to its downfall because of the conflict with the New Year Ekiden less than four weeks later. The Hofu Marathon is two weeks after Fukuoka, even more in conflict with the New Year Ekiden, and with a World Athletics Elite Label this year it may be capitalizing on the void in women’s racing opportunities by giving something approaching parity to its women’s field.
With those being the only real stay-home chances this year, Japanese athletes are taking the risk of going overseas to race. There are usually groups of Japanese corporate league men at the Sydney Marathon and Chicago Marathon selected based on their performances at spring domestic marathons. This year a group of four will be at the Vienna Marathon on 12 September including Kento Kikutani (2:07:26 at Lake Biwa this year), Yuta Koyama (2:08:45), Koki Yoshioka (2:10:13) and Koyama’s talented teammate Daiji Kawai – a better runner than his 2:10:50 best would indicate.
Masato Kikuchi, 2:07:20 at Lake Biwa this spring and the only Japanese man to have gone sub-61 for the half marathon three times in his career, is the only Japanese entered in the Chicago Marathon on 10 October.
Running with support from Japan Running News, club runner Shiho Kaneshige will be making her Boston debut in the elite women’s field. Her only previous international performance was winning the mass start race at Chicago in a then-PB 2:33:16. Continuing Boston’s long-time tradition of inviting back past winners, Yuki Kawauchi will also make an appearance.
The only Japanese woman at the TCS New York City Marathon on 7 November will be Haruka Yamaguchi in the elite women’s race, an interesting club runner who was the first Japanese athlete across track and field and road running to compete abroad during the pandemic and ran as an Olympic torchbearer this summer. Akira Tomiyasu will likewise be the only Japanese runner in the elite men’s race off a 2:10:29 debut at Lake Biwa earlier this year. Appearing with support from JRN, both Yamaguchi and Tomiyasu are optimistic about bettering the best-ever Japanese performances at New York.
If all the races end up happening there could be a dynamic marathon season ahead for Japan, even if the by nature conservative Tokyo is unable to go ahead.
The Maraton Internacional de Juarez (MEX) has been postponed until 2022.
The next event will be held on 16 October 2022.
All 2021 dates erroneously published are invalid.
The Two Oceans Marathon (RSA) will not take place on Sat 16 April 2022 as previously published. Organisers have provisionally announced a new date of 23 April.
The Taiwan’s Rice Heaven Tianzhong Marathon (TPE) planned for Sun 14 November 2021 will be replaced by a virtual event between Mon 1 November and Tue 30 November 2021.
After a successful #restartrunning in all respects at the adidas Runners City Night and Inline Skating, the next traditional event by the organiser SCC Events is now coming up.
On 22 August runners and skaters will meet at the 40th Generali Berlin Half Marathon to celebrate #restartrunning over the half marathon distance.
Due to the current pandemic situation, there is a detailed hygiene concept this year that also means a reduced number of participants; the field of top athletes, however, is even stronger than usual at the anniversary event and there is the possibility of course records in both men’s and women’s events.
The Almaty Marathon (KAZ) will take place on Sun 26 September 2021, not Sun 12 September 2021 as previously published.
The NKolay İstanbul Half Marathon (TUR) will take place on Sun 27 March 2022, not Sun 3 April 2022 as previously published.
The Islandsbanki Reykjavik Marathon (ISL) will take place on Sat 18 September 2021, not Sat 21 August 2021 as previously published.
As the leaders in the men’s Olympic Marathon approached a water station at 28.3km into the course there was still a large pack holding together.
Competitors positioned themselves to grab a drink: Eliud Kipchoge was at the front and clutched a bottle cleanly. Several other medal contenders were right behind him and did likewise.
About sixth in line was Morhad Amdouni, running for France, who reached out for the first bottle in the neat row placed at the front of the table by the water station officials. Although it doesn’t appear so on a long camera shot bottles are deliberately placed so as to allow runners to target them individually. But Amdouni’s target did not seem to be one bottle as he trailed his hand along the front edge of the table and toppled bottle after bottle. He grasped only the last one in line for himself while the hand of the athlete behind him can be seen vainly grabbing for what Amdouni appeared to be intentionally denying him – and all other runners further behind. The water station officials quickly pushed other bottles forward so runners further back could reach them but those immediately behind Amdouni – and therefore likely to be his closest rivals – missed out on a chance to hydrate in the torrid conditions.
After some eagle-eyed viewers noticed this incident and launched it into the twittersphere Amdouni went to ground for the next day or two but then emerged to claim his act was not deliberate. Amdouni finished 17th in a time of 2:14:33.
The Sfax Marathon Olive Trees (TUN) will take place on Sun 7 November 2021, not Mon 8 November 2021 as previously published.
The Kazan Half Marathon (RUS) will take place on Sun 10 October 2021, not Sun 3 October 2021 as previously published.
Next year’s race will be on 9 October 2022.
As things stand in Austria the Vienna City Marathon will go ahead on 12th September. It is one month to go tomorrow and organisers do not expect any drastic rule changes that would limit outdoor events in the coming weeks.
Since 1st July the Austrian government has allowed all events to go ahead, no matter how many people are involved. The Vienna City Marathon could be one of the first major international marathons to take place since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Organisers, who are working closely with the city to provide the required hygiene concept, have today released a number of elite runners for the men’s event. Among those who will feature in Austria’s number one road running event are Uganda’s Solomon Mutai and Betesfa Getahun of Ethiopia, who has a personal best of 2:05:28.
It was in Vienna where Kenya’s Olympic Champion Eliud Kipchoge famously broke the two hour marathon barrier in October 2019 in a race co-organized by the same team that is in charge for the Vienna City Marathon. Almost exactly two years after this phenomenal performance by Eliud Kipchoge Vienna plans to stage a marathon again.
Adding races at shorter distances a total of 24,900 athletes have so far registered for the Vienna City Marathon, which will be spread over two days with some of the shorter events taking place on the Saturday. Online entry for this World Athletics Marathon Label Road Race is still possible until next Sunday.
“With their incredible performances and elegantly smooth running styles elite runners belong to the Vienna City Marathon. We are really happy that even in these extraordinary circumstances this year we will be able to present world-class sport on the streets of Vienna,” said Race Director Wolfgang Konrad.
Betesfa Getahun heads the current start list with a personal best of 2:05:28. The 22 year-old Ethiopian ran this time when finishing fourth in his marathon debut in Amsterdam in 2019. Since Vienna will only be his second marathon he will be eager to improve his PB. Among his rivals will be Kenyans Bethwell Rutto and Edwin Kosgei who clocked personal bests of 2:07:41 and 2:07:51 respectively in this year’s Siena Marathon. Solomon Mutai, who took a bronze medal in the 2015 World Championships’ marathon, will have the advantage of knowing the course when he returns to the Austrian capital. The Ugandan placed third in the Vienna City Marathon with a personal best of 2:08:25 in 2019.
A strong Japanese team will feature: Kento Kikutani improved his personal best to 2:07:26 this February in Otsu where he finished ninth. Yuta Koyama (2:08:46), Koki Yoshioka (2:10:13) and Daiji Kawai (2:10:50) are the other three Japanese who are currently in training for the race in Vienna.
Regarding mass participation organisers look ahead with confidence. “We are really happy with the interest runners are showing for our event. This is a great boost for all our activities. Two and a half years after the most recent Vienna City Marathon we are ready to go again. When we organized smaller running events recently we already got a great response from the running community,” said Kathrin Widu, the Managing Director of the Vienna City Marathon. A recent anonymous survey among runners entered for the race showed that over 92.7% of them will compete in the Vienna City Marathon fully vaccinated.
The Chisinau International Marathon (MDA) will take place on Sun 17 October 2021, not Sun 26 September 2021 as previously published.
The marathon will be preceded by the Kids Run Day on 16 October.
The organisers of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon have confirmed that the planning for the event is full steam ahead and that the plans have seen a major overhaul to ensure the safety of all participants.
“Following extensive consultations and detailed review with the City of Cape Town, Athletics South Africa and National Government, we developed and presented an extensive COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Plan for the event, and received their full support to go ahead with our planning of a safe and enjoyable race on 17 October,” confirms Renee Jordaan, Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Race Director.
The risk mitigation plan includes several adjustments to this year’s event format.
The final cut-off is still six-and-a-half hours, and will be based on the last group of runners starting the race.
In order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, all runners and crew will undergo COVID-19 Antigen testing in the 72 hours prior to the race. Testing will be compulsory regardless of vaccination status, and free of charge. Runners will be tested at Cape Town Stadium before entering the Expo space to collect their race numbers. Antigen test results will be available within 15 minutes.
“Due to COVID restrictions, we are sadly required to cancel the 5km and 10km Peace Runs, but the good news is that these events will take place in virtual format, and runners can run the Peace Runs along their favourite running routes, no matter where they are. The all-new 46km Cape Town Trail Marathon and 22km Trail Run will still go ahead on 16 October,” says Sanlam Cape Town Marathon General Manager, Barry van Blerk.
The 5km & 10km Virtual Peace Runs will be free of charge. Runners can simply enter via www.capetownmarathon.com to receive App Download instructions. All 5km and 10km Peace Run entrants will receive a refund, and an email with detailed instructions will be sent to all affected runners.
Says Sanlam Cape Town Marathon Chairman, Francois Pienaar: “After a trying 18 months, we are grateful for the support from our major stakeholders that allows us to work towards staging Africa’s only World Athletics Gold Label marathon and the ASA Marathon Champs. The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon attracts thousands of athletes from across SA, Africa and the globe, and has a significant economic impact on the city. Africa is our home. This is our Race. And we can’t wait to welcome all our runners to Cape Town in October.”
Runners still hoping to be part of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon must hurry, as the revised entry limits mean that the marathon field is already 50% full, and it is expected that the remaining entries will be snapped up fast. The 22km Trail Run is sold out, with limited entries still available for the Trail Marathon. Visit www.capetownmarathon.com for more information and to enter.
Peres Jepchirchir won the Women’s Olympic Marathon for Kenya in Sapporo in hot and humid conditions as temperatures rose above 30C in the final stages of the race.
She beat her compatriot, race favourite and world record holder Brigid Kosgei, by pushing on ahead of her rival just after 40km and opening up a gap which grew to 80m by the finish line. Molly Seidel, an unheralded American running only her third Marathon, came in third a further 50m behind.
Despite the change of venue, the day before the women’s race officials saw that temperatures after 09.00 were projected to rise over 31C. With remarkable speed a decision was made to pull back the start time from 07.00 to 06.00 and communicated to the runners before they slept.
88 competitors lined up at the start with the temperature already at 25C – and set to rise to 30C by the finish. It was a cautious start as the race favourites clustered at the front and passed through the first 5km in 18.02. The processional pace was maintained through 10km as a huge group of 47 tightly-packed runners passed through in 36:16 (18:14 5km split).. The race continued sedately, with 5km splits of 17:31 and 17:40, to reach halfway in 1:15:14. Up to this point the pace had been set by the race favourites which, as well as Jepchirchir and Kosgei, included world record holder for the half marathon Ruth Chepngetich and Lonah Salpeter, running for Israel, who had recorded the second-fastest time of 2020 behind Jepchirchir.
Seidel had remained in the pack and not yet made her presence felt but as she explained in a post-race interview: “We didn’t go out super-fast and I kept it very controlled at the beginning. After halfway, rather than follow, I wanted to make moves and be aggressive.” Despite the slowish pace the lead group had been reduced to 11 with Seidel now prominent among them, leading through 25km in 1:28:51 (5km split of 17.24).By 30km, reached with a 5km split of 17:13, Jepchirchir had taken up the pace and led eight others – but these did not include Chepngetich who now trailed by 5 seconds and was soon to drop out.
Seidel continued to push and by 35km, after the fastest 5km split of the race (16:54), only Salpeter and Eunice Chumba, running for Bahrain, were still with the eventual medallists. They tailed off before 40km was reached, and Seidel herself now lagged the Kenyan pair by 6 seconds, after a 5km split of 17:01.
Neither of the two Kenyans looked comfortable in the closing stages and Jepchirchir confirmed after the race that “It was so hot; it was not easy.” Even so, it was she who managed to open up a gap on Kosgei and propel herself to the finish line by channelling the realisation: “wow, I’m going to make it, I’m going to win”.
Despite the steadily rising temperatures throughout the race the slow start helped the first eight finishers to record a faster second half, with Jepchirchir’s being almost three minutes faster.
Eliud Kipchoge retained the Olympic Marathon title he first won five years ago in Rio de Janeiro and became only the third person to do so, following Abebe Bikila (1960, 1964) and Waldemar Cierpinski (1976, 1980). But he made it look simple, with an injection of pace between 30–40km that left the rest of the field scattered in his wake.
Conditions appeared slightly less unfavourable than for the women on the previous morning but the early pace was just as cautious and the eventual retirement rate, at 30 of the 106 starters, was higher.
Opening 5km sections were timed at 15:17 and 15:36 as around 50 runners formed a loose-knit pack with no clear leader to dictate the pace. Kipchoge occasionally did a stint at the front but shared the lead with several others who just seemed to want the experience – either of leading an Olympic Marathon or, perhaps, of running alongside Kipchoge. Fist bumps were seen to be exchanged.
Halfway was reached in 1:05:13, after further 5km splits of 15:10 and, from 15-20km, 15:44. Despite this being the slowest 5km section of the race the field had thinned out but still numbered in excess of 20 runners. Kipchoge was content to stay within the group but was winding up the pressure as the 5km splits got faster: 15:37 for 20-25km and 15:07 for 25-30km. The lead group thinned to just 10 and Kipchoge was now ready to make his play.
He did so at 31km with a sudden change of pace that put distance between himself and everyone else. His teammate Lawrence Cherono led the scramble to keep up which resulted in him leading the group of four that were rapidly losing distance on the leader. Kipchoge forged ahead, now in his own private race to the line. His split from 30-35km was 14:28, which put him 27 seconds ahead of the chasing group comprisingCherono, Ayad Lamdassem from Spain, Bashir Abdi (BEL) and Abdi Nageeye (NED).
This group didn’t so much chase as they lost another minute as Kipchoge floated away into the distance between 35-40km. Their attention was focussed on the endgame which would decide which two of the four would make it onto the podium. Lamdassem dropped back while Cherono drove for the line but it was Nageeye who proved strongest in the long finishing straight as he cajoled his training partner Abdi to follow him as they kicked past Cherono in the final 100m.
Organisers of the 3-Country Marathon have committed to going ahead with their race next month.
In a statement, they said: “For many, it will indeed be like their first time after this long, non-competitive break from the marathon. We want to support you in this premiere with a clear statement: The Sparkasse 3-Country Marathon will take place on 10 October 2021. In reality. Not virtual. And all of this with the full range of services in a highly professional environment.”
Register and prepare! www.sparkasse-3-laender-marathon.at
The Raiffeisen Bank Bucharest Marathon (ROU) will be held from Sat 30 October 2021—Sun 31 October 2021, not on Sun 10 October as previously published.
Frankfurt and Cologne had to pass, but Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Münster are currently still in the running.
The imponderables regarding the corona pandemic and possible higher case numbers are the reason why the organisers in Cologne and Frankfurt have now cancelled their races.
It is now the time when the organisers of the autumn races must decide whether to host and order all appropriate materials and services. This harbours the risk that in the event of subsequent, short-term cancellations due to the high number of corona cases, you will be left with the costs and in the worst case – if no existing insurance takes over – you will have to file for bankruptcy. In this respect, the cancellations are understandable at the present time. And it is to be expected that other major German races will also be taken off this year’s calendar.
The question is to what extent the incidence value will still be the decisive factor for possible restrictions in a few weeks’ time. Possibly, as in Great Britain for example, the hospital and death numbers are more decisive. According to the current status, these seem to be significantly lower than before with the currently prevailing delta variant and due to the progressive vaccinations. But the organisers need a level of reliability – and this is not there at the moment. The situation is very different from city to city. This apparently also applies to the question of spectators along the course.
Some organisers expect that many runners will not want to start in a mass race for fear of infection. According to several organisers, at least 10,000 participants are required for a large city marathon to pay off economically.
At a 10 km race in Berlin (city night on Kurfürstendamm) on 31 July the fear of a mass race was not confirmed. Of around 4500 registered runners, a good 4000 made it to the finish line. In addition, there were a few hundred that ran over 5km without timing. It was the biggest run in Germany since the beginning of the corona pandemic. And the dropout rate was very low, i.e. in the normal range.
Status of the big five German marathons:
Frankfurt: The Mainova Frankfurt Marathon was supposed to take place on 31 October but has been cancelled 3 months beforehand. “In the current situation the event cannot be projected, because no one knows what the legal situation will be on the day of the event. We need a clear planning basis now at the latest, less than three months before the race weekend. A major event with as many facets as our Mainova Frankfurt Marathon cannot be implemented in just a few weeks. Despite an extensive hygiene and safety concept and a preliminary official approval, there is no guarantee that the event will not have to be cancelled at short notice, which would endanger the continued existence of the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon.
Cologne: The Cologne Marathon planned for 3 October was cancelled at the beginning of August. “We hoped to the end and made all the preparations for the safe execution of the Cologne Marathon, but unfortunately current conditions do not allow around 20,000 people to walk through our city together this year,” said Markus Frisch, the race director. Although a hygiene concept was presented this only applies if the incidence remains below 35. The Cologne organisers do not expect this to be the case in October. The current value in Cologne has already reached 40.
Hamburg: On 12 September the Hamburg Marathon could be the first big race held over 42.195 km in Germany since autumn 2019. On request, the organisers have confirmed that they are still planning to start the marathon, although the Hamburg Senate has announced a restriction. As the “Hamburger Abendblatt” reported, only those who have been vaccinated are allowed to take part in a number of major sporting events in the city. The city has not given any permits for various planned runs in the last year and a half but has now set up a rule to specify under what conditions the marathon could take place. The Hamburg organisers must expect that they will have fewer participants if runners who have tested negative or who have recovered are not allowed to start. But according to the report Senator Andy Grote, who is responsible for sport, has promised the organisers help.
Munich: The Munich Marathon is planned for 10 October. Whether the race can take place will be decided within the next two weeks. “We had good discussions with the city, including those responsible for health,” said race director Gernot Weigl. “There is definitely a glimmer of hope. But the question is, what if the incidence values are higher on 10 October? There will be another meeting with the city. Then we will make a decision, ”said Gernot Weigl, whose team would implement the hygiene concept developed last year. “We want to start the marathon and have also planned three spectator zones to control hotspots along the route.” However, the race director also registered another problem as a result of the pandemic, German Road Races (GRR) has already pointed out that the support with voluntary helpers by the clubs is no longer as strong as it used to be. Many older volunteers in particular are reluctant.
Münster: After a final conference with the city administration all necessary facets regarding a Corona-compliant running event were discussed. All requirements were examined intensively and their feasibility explored. The OrgaTeam from the Münster-Marathon eV sees itself in a position to implement the measures recommended by the city in an appropriate manner so that the runners can get “their” Volksbank-Münster-Marathon on 12 September.
Neither the city nor the organisers can say how the number of infections will develop by the beginning of September, so it could also be cancelled at short notice. This is especially likely if the incidence value rises above 35 for 7 consecutive days. Nonetheless, those involved also hope that the federal government will take into account not only the “pure incidence figures” but also hospitality, because the increase in incidence figures and hospital admissions is now clearly contrary to the previous year.
Berlin: People in Berlin are still optimistic that the Berlin Marathon can take place on 26 September with up to 35,000 runners starting. In consultation with the Berlin Senate the race is one of a number of pilot projects in the field of sport. In this respect, the chances are better than in other cities that the largest German marathon can take place – but there are no guarantees.
After the 10km race on 31 July another 10km run is to take place in Berlin on 8 August followed by the Generali Berlln Half Marathon, with over 20,000 runners, on 22 August.
The Maratona di Ravenna – Citta d’Arte offers the opportunity to “be” at the heart of Ravenna during the days of the Marathon.
Ravenna Runners Club has launched a new initiative which is not just a virtual version of the real thing but a further opportunity for those who will not be able to come to Ravenna for the in-person event.
The Hoka Ravenna Marathon City of Art 2021 takes place on the roads of Romagna during the weekend of 14 November 2021. Contemporaneous scheduling of the virtual event allows those motivated to conquer the Marathon from their own city or country and earn the famous handmade mosaic medal, a true icon of Ravenna Marathon, in addition to the event technical t-shirt.
A site has been set up at virtualravenna.realbuzzevents.com (also reachable from the homepage of maratonadiravenna.com) where you can find all information on the VIRTUAL EDITION. Participants outside Ravenna will still be able to choose which distance to run: the Hoka Ravenna Marathon City of Art 42k, the Ravenna Half Marathon 21k or the Martini Good Morning Ravenna 10k just like those who will be in Romagna. Among the novel features is the opportunity to register for a training session in view of the event.
Thanks to the dedicated website you can immerse yourself in a virtual journey into the beauties of Romagna, a locality of artistic and culinary tradition, with particular attention to the splendid Ravenna monuments recognized by Unesco as a World Heritage Site. Registration allows each participant access to a reserved section which offers unique experiences such as the virtual tour: “Dante, the eyes and the mind”; Dante Alighieri’s last refuge, with exhibitions dedicated to the Supreme Poet at the Classense Library; the Church of San Romualdo and the MAR City Art Museum. There is also a VIRTUAL EXPO for all members with some of the main partners of the Hoka Maratona di Ravenna City of Art with unique and exclusive opportunities.
You can run the virtual race anywhere. It will be sufficient to measure the distance travelled with a GPS tracker or with one of the many Apps available for runners and then upload the result on the platform. Once registration is complete you will access a dedicated section where you can enter all the information. The virtual site has a FAQ section with answers to all the most frequently asked questions.
In short, Ravenna Runners Club continues to await runners in Romagna on the weekend of 14 November but in such a particular period we also offer a “plan B” for those who cannot really be in Romagna.
The Thunder Dragon Marathon (BHU) will take place on Sun 29 May 2022, not Sun 22 May 2022 as previously published.
Boston Athletic Association has announced the loss of Gloria Ratti, a trailblazer, leader, and loving matriarch of the New England running community.
Gloria’s infectious positivity touched thousands – and especially the B.A.A. organization. A South Boston native, Gloria (Graceffa) was involved in the BAA Boston Marathon over five decades in a variety of roles, eventually as Secretary of the B.A.A. Board of Governors.
“Gloria was the First Lady of our sport, no matter where she went,” said Guy Morse, former B.A.A. Executive Director, Boston Marathon Race Director, and a long-time colleague of hers. “Gloria cared for everyone and represented the human side of running. She strived to make the Boston Marathon a personal experience for so many and was also the moral authority that helped propel the entire organization forward.”
“Gloria had terrific stamina especially during race week,” said Joann Flaminio, the first female president of the B.A.A. and a close confidant of Gloria. “She was the first to arrive and last to leave. She spread the good word of the B.A.A. and the Boston Marathon everywhere she went.”
Gloria passed away peacefully on 24 July 2021, aged 90, surrounded by her family.
After the cancellation of the 2020 edition the next Zurich Malaga Marathon has been confirmed for 12 December 2021. 3000 participants who had entered last year have transferred their registrations to the 2021 event.
The 2019 edition attracted 7000 participants and both male and female course records were broken. The organisers are committed to growing the race by attracting runners from all over Spain, Europe and the rest of the world to a race which “offers very special prices [and the chance] to participate in an edition that promises to continue to innovate and surprise.”
This article was revised after first publication.
The 76th Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon race held on 28 February this year concluded as the best edition ever held, with the establishment of a new Japanese men’s national record and the first ever performance of under 2 hours 4 minutes by an Asian athlete.
The Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon boasted the longest history of any marathon in Japan. It has traditionally been a men-only elite race with approximately 300 entries each year. In order to catch up with the trends of the world’s major marathon races the race organisers have decided to move the race, leaving the beloved course in Otsu city in Shiga prefecture and relocating to Osaka, using the course of the present Osaka Marathon, and combining the elite race with the mass participation Osaka Marathon.
The 10th Osaka Marathon was to be held in November 2020 with 32,000 participants anticipated but had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The organisation of the event itself is perfect but until 2019 Osaka Marathon had not had attracted serious elite athletes.
On 27 February 2022 a new event had been planned, combining the 10th Osaka Marathon and the 77th Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon with a total of 35,000 runners provided. Because of the continuing impact of the COVID-19 virus this number has now been revised to 20,000.
The elite race level of the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon will be maintained on the Osaka Marathon course route. The Japan Association of Athletics Federations (JAAF), the Osaka Prefecture and the Mainichi Newspapers will be the joint organisers of the race, and NHK will continue to broadcast on TV, providing live coverage in Japan and overseas. The invited athletes will be sufficient in quality and quantity to retain a Gold Label. The Mainichi Newspapers will remain responsible for the management of the elite athletes.
With the much-hyped ‘Freedom Day’ having arrived in the UK on 19 July many restrictions have been lifted, including rules on social distancing.
Race organisers were quick to take advantage – ending months of stonewalling by local government agencies which up until then had been unwilling to shoulder responsibility for public events within their areas.
First off, on 20 July, was the Standard Chartered Great City Run, in the City of London with 1632 starters, followed five days later by the ASICS London 10km, with 7,900 starters.
The day before the 10km race the free 5km series Parkrun had been held for the first time since the pandemic started with events in 500 locations throughout the country.
As a “late entry” into the Swissalpine classic (hence the high start number 588) the German Benedikt Hoffmann was only tipped by mountain running insiders. By contrast Stephan Wenk (SUI) and Germain Grangier (FRA), wearing the “pole position” start numbers 1 and 2, were much more favoured.
“I wanted this win,” said Hoffmann, who lives in Stockach on Lake Constance and has the Alps practically on his doorstep. And he really earned this victory, taking the lead on the ascent to the Sertig Pass and holding it for the rest of the 67.6km-long route with 2606m of climb.
Hoffmann improved the course record held by the Italian Ricardo Montani (6:12:28) by almost half an hour and finished with a six-minute lead over Wenk and another seven over Grangier. It was only the fifth German victory in the 36-year history of the Swissalpine, with the wins by Charly Doll (1988, 1989) and Frank Türk (1997, 1999) in the now distant past.
After an early exit the previous year Jasmin Nunige, who lives in Davos, returned to take her eighth win on the Swissalpine ultra distance classic. The former Olympic cross-country skier finished with 6:50:36 and was no less overwhelmed by her success than Hoffman. Her time was nine minutes faster than the 2020 winner Marcela Vasinova. After two foot operations in September and March Nunige had a late start to her Swissalpine preparations. “It was a tough way back, so this win is the greatest reward for me,” she said. Fifteen minutes later, the 48-year-old congratulated the runner-up Natascha Baer, who looks set to step into Nunige’s shoes after her K43 victory last year and debut in the 67.6km classic race this year.
Davos will have to get used to a new name in 2022. Under the direction of the new OC President Tarzisius Carviezel, the high mountain spectacle will be restyled as the “Davos X-Trails”.
“We will stick to the four races K68, K43, K23 and K10, because these are extremely popular with the runners,” said Carviezel. “But there is a lot to optimise – and we will create a character for the event in the future that has become lost a little over the years.”
RunCzech has cancelled the popular Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon and the Birell Prague Grand Prix, planned for 4-5 September, as well as the Prague Relay planned for 25 August. This is because social distancing and other limiting rules are still in place for mass participation events, as well as uncertainty surrounding new virus mutations.
Staging a world class event requires months of preparation, which the organisers don’t have, and RunCzech prizes quality too much to jeopardise it, said the organisers.
Organisers would have been required to stagger the start of those races and, with tens of thousands of runners participating, the events would have dragged on endlessly. Staggered starts would have left runners standing around for hours. It would have been a burden on the volunteers and it would have shut down the city for far too long.
According to RunCzech President Carlo Capalbo: “the citizens of Prague enthusiastically support what we’re doing here. They celebrate with us. But closing the city for whole weekend and keeping everyone waiting that long would be unfair to the runners and to the locals.”
Registered runners who have paid the entry fee can either transfer their registration to 2022 or convert the registration fee into a voucher for the e-shop www.allrunnersarebeautiful.com or donate their amount to the project ‘Get up and run’ for improving sports facilities in high schools.
Meanwhile RunCzech is still planning to stage its next regional events, the Generali Česká Red Run on 24 June and the Mattoni Olomouc Half Marathon on 14 August, which are in line with the health and safety measures and are feasible to take place.
Starting from August and lasting until the end of October, the organisers offer a free virtual running challenge called Mattoni FreeRun Run & Plog. The project is linked with the Plogging Cesko association and together will inspire runners to collect waste while running and make their region greener.
The destiny of the Volkswagen Prague Marathon and the events in Usti nad Labem, Liberec, and Ceske Budejovice is being discussed and monitored daily. The organizers will release further information in August.
The organization is hopeful that, with more people receiving the Covid vaccine, their regular race schedule will resume soon. In the meantime, Carlo Capalbo has a simple message of hope for runners: “You keep training. And we’ll keep thinking.”
With NYRR having started to run races with several thousand participants, prospects for races throughout the US are looking up.
Grandma’s Marathon in Minnesota had 2777 runners finish the race on 19 June.
Road Race Management reports that comparing registration numbers between 2021 and the same part of the year for 2020 shows in-person races clawing back numbers from virtual events: A year ago most races were virtual – now in-person races have a significantly larger share of participants, even approaching 2019 levels.
Sri Lanka has been climbing up the Covid ladder in the last couple of months moving the the Sri Lankan Government to take strict measures concerning travel both to and within the country.
This is having a huge impact on the country’s economy – especially in the tourism and the sports sectors to which LSR is so heavily committed. We have the feeling of repeatedly being stampeded by the virus with its different variants.
More positively Sri Lanka has embarked on a speedy vaccination programme in which 1.42 million citizens (6.5% of the population) have been fully vaccinated. It is hoped that by the end of this year at least 60% of the eligible population will be fully vaccinated.
The Government is taking various steps to improve conditions by relaxing rules on the advice received from the Health Authorities but large crowd gatherings for any event are strictly prohibited. Travel restrictions are still in place for certain countries and for certain areas within the country.
This situation has forced us to cancel the annual Sri Lanka T-Cup Road Cycling Event which is under the sanction of the UCI and, several other events which were jointly organised with the Ministry of Youth & Sports as well. This being the situation the LSR Colombo Marathon Management Team have now decided to cancel the 2021 event previously scheduled for 3 October.
The Siberian International Marathon (RUS) will take place on Sun 12 September 2021, not Sat 7 August 2021 as previously published.
The Maratón Medellín (COL) will start on Sat 4 September 2021, not Sun 5 September 2021 as previously published.
For the last 18 years the Hamburg half marathon has been known by the name hella hamburg halbmarathon. The organiser, BMS running association, has now officially announced that this will continue next year.
The North German soft drink manufacturer Hansa Mineral Springs has extended the partnership of its brand hella with the Hamburg events company.
When the cooperation with hella began in 2004, the event had around 2,500 participants. Nowadays there are five times as many registrations. Before the pandemic, the event through the streets of the metropolis on the River Elbe was one of the biggest of its kind. The record was set in 2018 when a total of 12,320 running fans joined the “21km party”. That year only Berlin attracted more runners to a half marathon course.
Increasing numbers of participants have also led to greater challenges for the organisers. BMS founding partner Karsten Schölermann looks proudly at the development of the race and remembers the beginning of the partnership: “From the very beginning the engagement was of extraordinary quality and scope. We are delighted to have had a reliable partner who has accompanied us on the journey.”
In the coming year they hope to carry on this success story. Due to the pandemic the hella hamburg halbmarathon had to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021. Nonetheless, people still ran: with the aid of an app, the event were held in a digital form. Participants could run a distance of their choice and upload their result online. Starting numbers, medal, shirt and other accessories could be ordered if desired. Of course, the starter box included a bottle of a hella drink.
In 2022 all participants should finally be able to start together in the centre of Hamburg. BMS’ general manager Steven Richter is optimistic: “Especially at times like this it is of great significance for us to know we have a stable partner at our side. We are pleased that hella has supported us throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so through future challenges.”
At hella they are delighted at the continuing co-operation. “We value the many years of collaboration with BMS greatly and are looking forward to actively supporting the hella hamburg halbmarathon – to shaping it and to refreshing it with tasty hella drinks,” says Annette Kreidler, marketing manager of Hansa Mineral Springs.
How exactly the 28th hella hamburg halbmarathon will take place, will be known on Sunday, 26th June 2022. Registrations are already open.
Two-time Olympic medallist Galen Rupp and America’s second fastest female marathon runner ever, Sara Hall, will head this year’s elite field at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on 10 October.
In a year that marks a global comeback for road racing Rupp stands out as one of the most decorated runners on the track and in the marathon. Hall aims to rewrite history by breaking the American women’s marathon record of 2:19:36, set in 2006 by Deena Kastor.
“We are thrilled to welcome Galen and Sara, two of the most talented runners in U.S. history, to our start line this fall,” said race director Carey Pinkowski. “This is a celebratory moment not only for U.S. running, but for the global running community. The resilience and determination that Galen and Sara have shown throughout their careers is the same kind of resilience and determination that lives within every runner showing up in Grant Park this fall.”
Rupp, a four-time Olympian with a bronze medal in the marathon and a silver medal in the 10,000m, will make a quick turn-around to Chicago after going for gold in Tokyo. In 2017 Rupp became the first American male since Khalid Khannouchi to win in Chicago. Shortly after his performance in 2018 (2:06:21, 5th place) he underwent surgery to correct Haglund’s Deformity. In 2020, on an unrelenting hilly course in Atlanta, Rupp dominated at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon trials to make his fourth Olympic team. If Rupp wins he will be only the seventh man in to win the Bank of America Chicago Marathon twice.
Hall started out as a middle-distance specialist and slowly migrated to the roads. She finished 10th in Chicago in 2015, But her achievements in 2020 were oof a different order. Failing to finish at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Hall refocused to record 2:22:01 as runner-up at the London Marathon last October (one of the only elite events in 2020). Eleven weeks later she won ‘the Marathon Project’, with a personal best of 2:20:32. Hall enters this year’s Chicago Marathon with the goal of breaking Deena Kastor’s 15-year old American record.
The 43rd annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon will take place on Sunday 10 October.
The Vienna City Marathon is on course to take place in September 2021, after the cancellation of its 2020 event as well as one planned for spring this year.
“We are incredibly grateful to the runners,” says VCM organiser Wolfgang Konrad. “Many have carried over their start from 2020 and many have newly registered so that almost 23,000 participants are already on the start list.
“Thanks to the continued support of all our sponsors and partners and the very good cooperation with the responsible ministries and authorities, all participating municipal departments of the City of Vienna as well as police departments and offices in Vienna, we are in the best possible position economically and organisationally.”
With the lifting of the maximum number of participants for events from 1 July a central legal basis for the implementation of major events has been restored. “All interested parties can be assured that we as a professional organiser are ready to organise the VCM in a safe and at the same time atmospheric way. We are well on schedule in all areas that we can influence through our work,” said Konrad.
Local authorities intend to ask spectators to stay away from the Olympic Marathon.
At a road work and budgetary special committee meeting on 1 July, with regard to spectators at the Olympic Marathon and race walks, Hokkaido governor Naomichi Suzuki commented, “With a basic principle of asking people to refrain from watching along the course, we would like to seek guidance on effective safety measures [from the organising committee].”
The Tokyo Olympics marathon and race walk competitions are scheduled to take place in central Sapporo, Hokkaido, from 5–8 August.
The Manulife Danang International Marathon (VIE) has been postponed.
The event will take place on 20 March 2022, not 8 August 2021 as previously published.
“Vietnam is currently going through the 4th wave of COVID-19 and it’s the biggest one that we’ve experienced so far. With the advice from local government, we’ve recently made the decision of postponing the 2021 race to next year,” said organisers.
The organisers of Cardiff University Cardiff Half Marathon have announced that the event has been postponed to a new date in 2022.
The Cardiff Half Marathon was due to be run in the Welsh capital on 3 October and has now been re-scheduled for 27 March, 2022. It is the third time the event has had to be postponed due to the pandemic, the last race being in October, 2019, when the Kenyan Leonard Langat emerged victorious from a field of more than 25,000 runners to win in a course record 59 min, 30 sec.
Run 4 Wales, the company that promotes the races, made the announcement “with deep regret”.
Matt Newman, R4W Chief Executive explained the thinking behind the postponement:
“Run 4 Wales (R4W) has been working closely with the Welsh Government and Cardiff City Council to understand the potential timeline for the safe return of events in Wales, including the Cardiff University / Cardiff Half Marathon (CHM).
“Whilst the vaccine rollout in the UK continues to provide cause for optimism, the situation in Wales remains uncertain, with the Welsh Government currently setting a maximum outdoor event capacity of 4,000, including event-related spectators.
“At present there are also no plans to relax the 2 metre social distancing rules, which provides significant operational challenges for mass-participation event organisers. An event of this scale requires a significant planning phase and we have now entered the critical period. The Welsh Government’s 21-day review cycle means that R4W cannot predict the prevailing restrictions which will be in force this autumn, so a decision needs to be made now.
“Due to this uncertainty and in agreement with Cardiff City Council, circumstances dictate that we must now postpone the 2021 CHM to the spring of 2022. The health and safety of race participants, their supporters, event volunteers and the Run 4 Wales staff team is at the forefront of our decision making and we hope that everyone understands the reasons for this decision.
“Cardiff has the experience of successfully holding two half-marathons in one calendar year and in 2022 an autumn edition will also take place as usual on the first Sunday in October.
“In addition, we will mark the October 3 2021 date with an inclusive new ‘Virtual Cardiff Half’, which will provide an opportunity to celebrate everything that is great about the CHM. This free event will give everyone a chance to walk, jog or run the 13.1 mile distance ahead of the return of the live event in March 2022.”
All runners who had a space in the event have been contacted with more details and entry options.
The Zurich Maratón de Sevilla (ESP) will take place on Sun 20 February 2022, not Sun 14 November 2021 as previously published.
In a press release dated 29 June organisers of the Village Roadshow Theme Parks Gold Coast Marathon Festival announced that:
It is with the utmost regret that due to the increasing threat of COVID-19 to the community and the subsequent restrictions, including the three-day lockdown enforced by the Queensland Government, Events Management Queensland has been left with no choice but to cancel the Village Roadshow Theme Parks Gold Coast Marathon.
The ongoing health risks, impacts on workforce/volunteers, disruptions to travel and uncertainty ahead dictated drastic action to ensure there were no further threats to the health and wellbeing of participants, stakeholders and the wider Gold Coast community.
This decision has not been made lightly given the experience of the 2020 cancellation and comes with heartfelt disappointment from the team at Events Management Queensland.
The Tokyo Marathon organising committee, along with the COVID-19 Investigative Committee, and other local partners and experts have been closely monitoring the COVID19 situation worldwide in preparation for the event [scheduled for 17 October 2021].
With the strict border controls of Japan currently in place we have made the difficult decision to announce that our overseas runners will not be able to participate in the Tokyo Marathon 2021. For all runners who have been preparing and looking forward to race day, we understand your disappointment and we express our sincere apologies for the situation we are in and the necessary decision we have had to make.
All overseas runners who were registered for 2021 will have the option to defer to the 2023 event. More information on this will be shared in the coming weeks and months. We look forward to the day when we can unite safely, and be together again at the Tokyo Marathon. We thank you very much for your continued support of our team and our event.
Tokyo Marathon 2021 Schedule
- 23-30 June: Event fee payment due
- July (DTBD): Elite and Wheelchair Elite athlete registration
- 5 August – 5 September: Virtual Tokyo Marathon 2021 registration
- Mid-September: Board of Directors Meeting, 3rd Go/No-Go announcement (1 month prior to race day)
- 18 September 18-16 October: Virtual Tokyo Marathon 2021
- 14-16 October): Tokyo Marathon 2021 Packet Pick-up/EXPO
- 16 October Tokyo Marathon Friendship Run 2021
- 17 October: Tokyo Marathon 2021 Race Day
COVID-19 counter-measures for the Tokyo Marathon 2021
While taking in the advice set forth in the Japan Association of Athletics Federations’ “Guidance for Return of Road Races”, the Tokyo Marathon Foundation has also established the COVID-19 Countermeasure Committee and the COVID-19 Investigative Committee (comprising infectious disease experts, race management, medical team, administrative entities, etc.) for the Tokyo Marathon 2021 (17 Oct) to examine relevant countermeasures for the event.
Creating an environment to avoid the “Three Cs” (Closed spaces, Crowded places, and Close-contact settings) and managing the health of runners and staff are the basic approach against the disease.
To further enhance safety it is decided that PCR testing prior to the race day will be conducted for runners, volunteers, and athletics referees. As written in the regulation upon entry to the event, runners have agreed to the possible COVID-19 safety fee separate from the entry fee. With the decision that the testing will be required, the COVID-19 safety fee of 6,800 JPY (tax incl.) will be required from the runners upon payment of the event fee. Further details on testing will be announced as soon as determined.
Note that outlined information is subject to change depending on the situation surrounding COVID-19. We thank all the runners and volunteers participating in the Tokyo Marathon 2021 for their understanding and cooperation.
Kenenisa Bekele’s manager Jos Hermens has responded to an enquiry by confirming that Bekele will not compete in the Tokyo Olympic Games Marathon to be held in Sapporo on 8 August.
The highly-anticipated duel between him and defending champion and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge will not take place. The Kenyan is the hot favourite for the Gold medal.
Bekele missed the Ethiopian Olympic elimination race over 35km on 1 May but there was still a possibility that the Ethiopian Olympic Committee would nominate the 39-year-old for an Olympic place. A year after Kipchoge set his world record in the 2018 Berlin Marathon Bekele all but equalled it, running only two seconds slower. Sisay Lemma is likely to be the runner who fills the selection spot..
Bekele will now be able to prepare for an autumn marathon. All six races of the big-money “World Marathon Majors” series are currently planned to be run between 26 September and 7 November.
With a new title sponsor, a total of 3000 runners took part in the 49th edition of the Mastercard New York Mini 10km.
A women-only event which has been held since 1972 – this year with an elite field of around 30 athletes.
The starting section, in the southern part of Central Park, had been slightly modified due to Covid precautions. After the race started at 06.40 12 runners quickly got away. After passing 5km in 16:15 the lead group thinned out until only three were left at 7km and after 8km it became a head-to-head between the in-form Sarah Hall – who had won the previous (2019) edition of the race – and Viola Cheptoo. Hall kicked away with 200m to go to win by six seconds.
The first of a series of NYRR events to resume with a mass field, the Mini 10km was the first step towards the ambitious target of having 33,000 runners start in the TCS New York City Marathon on 7 November.
The Düsseldorf Marathon, originally scheduled for 11 April but then postponed to 24 October, has now been cancelled. The next race is scheduled for 24 April 2022.
The five largest German marathons – Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Cologne and Munich – are currently planned for September and October. By contrast the early cancellation of the Düsseldorf marathon is a surprise although sceptical statements have circulated about the race for a long time.
“The planning situation is still uncertain. As organisers we cannot plan comprehensively with all the necessary service providers,” explained race director Sonja Oberem. As last year a virtual version of the Düsseldorf Marathon is planned.
Following the Quebec City municipal authority’s decision to withdraw support for fifteen major events, including the Quebec City Marathon, Gestev and Quebec Running Events Corporation have announced that this year’s big event planned for October 1–3, 2021 will be cancelled.
Organisers said they had been committed to delivering a safe and secure event in the strictest compliance with public health measures, especially in light of the recent relaxing of the rules set out in the Government of Quebec’s reopening plan announced on May 18, which gave the green light to sporting activities and competitions effective June 25.
Registered entrants will have the option to transfer their registration to the Lévis Half-Marathon, scheduled for the weekend of August 28–29. As well as moving from May to August this year, this event will be held over two days instead of one to comply with public health regulations stipulating how many participants are permitted to be in a given place at one time. This change will make it possible to accommodate a maximum of 5,225 entrants for the 21.1K half-marathon, 10K, 5K and 2K Kids Race distances. Entrants who would prefer to receive a refund will be able to choose this option instead.
“This is just another rain check for the Beneva Quebec City Marathon, a healthy invitation from Brunet. The event will be back in October 2022,” said organisers.
The Belgrade Marathon triumphed over adversity simply by being held this year.
Originally scheduled for 16 May it seemed touch and go as to whether covid restrictions would allow it to go ahead. In the end, after deliberation by the Government’s Crisis Management Office it suffered only a three-week delay.
The Crisis Management Team is responsible for Covid precautions – usually involving the imposition of restrictions. Three of the team attended the event and observed that because they look “with different eyes” there would always be challenges but that they were very satisfied with the conduct of the event.
There were 1000 runners in the Marathon and 4000 runners in the Half Marathon. “This was our limit,” explained race director Dejan Nikolic. “We set runners off in waves of 300–500 at 90-second intervals, maintaining 1.5m distancing. It went smoothly with no problems. There was never any place that became crowded. It was a lot of work for a lot less than normal – no fun run, no children’s race. Missing these supporting events also had financial impacts. But it was worth it. It seemed like life was back to normal – or at least the hope of it was. Ordinary people saw the Marathon as a strong message.”
Confidence, a lot of confidence, currently reigns in Berlin after the hybrid press conference that just took place there called “The long-awaited restart of running together. Of course, safely!”
Restart Running is the name of an announced pilot project that is intended to guarantee the return of major running events.
By staging the adidas Runners City Night, the GENERALI BERLIN HALF MARATHON and the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, the aim is to gain know-how and create perspectives in the period from the end of July until autumn of 2021. The knowledge gained will then be incorporated into decision-making processes for the gradual reopening of public life including major sporting events.
The lynchpin of the pilot project is the health and hygiene concept developed by the organizer SCC EVENTS, which is almost 150 pages. Jürgen Lock, managing director of SCC EVENTS, presented the main features of the impressive concept. For more than nine months Jürgen Lock has been working on the draft with a highly competent committee of experts and summed it up: “Since the beginning of April, based on our concept and implementation analysis we are confident that the path we have chosen for our Restart Running is the right one. The concept is based on three elements — recovered, vaccinated, tested. The participants will have constant support through all the phases of the event so it will be easy and almost like a normal event.” The pneumologist and Medical Director of the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, Dr. med. Matthias Krüll, who was also present, confirmed the high scientific standards of the hygiene concept and emphasized its enormous practicality.
The fact that viable hygiene concepts and clear framework conditions are a key to how large sporting events can be held safely and responsibly in times of a pandemic was also mentioned by the Senator for the Interior and Sport of Berlin, Andreas Geisel. For the senator, participation for runners on the basis of “tested, vaccinated or recovered” seems quite possible. Sports Senator Andreas Geisel: “The traditional running events bring together top-level and amateur athletes in our sports metropolis. With pilot projects, we gain know-how and create perspectives on how to conduct major sporting events safely and responsibly in times of a pandemic. We are taking the first steps back to normality. Things are looking good at the moment, but we see look into the future. Everything depends on the development of the infection statistics, including the question of whether spectators can be admitted.”
Dr. Florian Kainzinger, expert for hygiene concepts and test scenarios, referred to the great advantage of outdoor events in contrast to indoor events or seated concepts. Studies from the past weeks had shown that virus infection is an indoor problem. Physicist and aerosol researcher Dr. Gerhard Scheuch even went one step further and spoke of “open air instead of lockdowns” to further push the drop in incidences, because almost no infections occur outside closed rooms.
Marcel Altenburg (crowd management expert at Manchester Metropolitan University) is jointly responsible for the safe management of crowd flows at the world’s largest top sporting events. The academic, who was connected via livestream, was visibly impressed by the hygiene concept presented, expressed his excitement about collaborating at the upcoming running events as part of the pilot project and described his experiences of the last few months: “Since autumn 2020, we have been supporting events worldwide (more than 50 events) through the university – all events were successful and were assessed as safe in retrospect. This shows above all the enormous influence that organisers can have on the movement of people in a controlled environment. The system in Berlin will be set up so that individuals will always have enough space to feel comfortable and be able to comply with applicable recommendations. By moving forward, each runner is constantly creating space for the next runners. This has to be coordinated. The fact that cooperation with the local authorities is also indispensable in this regard was brought up again by Jürgen Lock.
The TV broadcasting rights for the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON remain with ARD/rbb.
Finally, Katrin Günther (Head of Contentbox Sport and Deputy Program Director of the rbb, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg) conveyed the good news that the rights agency SportA and SCC EVENTS agreed to continue their cooperation for several years. This is another clear sign of the optimism surrounding the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON. The TV broadcasting rights for Germany’s biggest marathon will thus continue to be in the hands of ARD and rbb. ARD sports coordinator Axel Balkausky: “We are proving our stamina and are pleased to be able to continue our partnership since 2013 with the organisers of the Berlin Marathon, for at least two more years. We will continue to support this event, which always has top-class participants, on the great course in Berlin with competence, experience and passion. Our athletics fans can continue to expect a mix of international, national as well as regional flair in combination with top-class sport in the broadcasts on ARD and rbb television from the German capital”.
Christian Jost, in his function as Managing Director of SCC EVENTS, added: “The most beautiful thing about sport is the emotion. And you want to be part of the action, whether as an active athlete or a spectator. Unfortunately, you can’t always be there live. Therefore, it is all the more important for an organizer to have a reliable partner at his side who can transport the excitement through images with high journalistic quality. With SportA as the responsible sports rights agency of ARD and rbb, we have further secured this by extending a multi-year commitment.”
Hans-Peter Zurbruegg, Senior Vice President Personal & Corporate Fitness at Infront, said after SCC EVENTS authorized its long-term exclusive partner Infront Sports & Media AG to negotiate with SPORT A and to negotiate the present contract: “The BMW BERLIN-MARATHON is one of the top races in the world and has seen four world records on its track in the past ten years. We are pleased that the German fans will experience more memorable moments for the next two editions thanks to the extension of the media rights with SportA. This contract renewal builds on a trusting basis in challenging times and we look forward to continuing our successful cooperation."
At the Ethiopian Olympic trials – on the track rather than for the marathon – 5000m world record holder Letsenebet Gidey was more than a minute clear of the competition in a time of 29:01, a new world record.
The trials were held on the Hengelo track in the Netherlands. Gidey surpassed the time run by Sifan Hassan (NED) on the same track only two days before by five seconds. The ratified record of 29:17 was set by Almaz Ayana (ETH) at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic 10,000m final in 2016.
Gidey, who set the 5000m world record of 14:06.6 last year, passed through halfway with Abebel Yeshaneh (who was to drop out later) in 14:42, paced by the ‘wavelight’ technology. Without the impediment of lapping runners she might have run under 29 minutes, as she hinted in her post race interview.
“I expected to run a world record,” she said. “I’d like to try to break 29 minutes.” Gidey is the first woman to hold both 5000m and 10000m world records since Ingrid Kristiansen did from 1986–1993.
Just as the Covid situation had improved enough to stage the XIII Lago Maggiore Half Marathon and 10km scheduled for 19 June (www.LMHM.it), another disaster befell the small town of Stresa which hosts the start of the event.
On 23 May a cable car running from Stresa to the summit of the nearby mountain Mottarone crashed to the ground when a cable snapped about 100m from the summit. The cable car fell into the wooded slopes below, killing 14 people and seriously injuring one child.
In the Half Marathon on 19 June all participants will have a heart with the number 14 inside on their running bib. Race director Paolo Ottone said: “Together we will make our best efforts to get over Covid and also this tragedy. Sport is for sure one of the best ways to do so.”
The Victoria Marathon Society is excited to announce that there will be an in-person Half Marathon and 8K race on Sunday, 10 October.
Registration for these races will open on Tuesday, 8 June. Individuals who register for the full Royal Flush Virtual Series of five events will have the option of running the Half Marathon or 8K on 10 October at no additional charge.
“We are very excited to return to an in-person race and know that runners will be equally thrilled to get to a start line and experience the excitement that builds prior to the gun going off,” says Cathy Noel, GM & Race Director. “Participating in the Royal Flush Virtual Series during the summer and then the in-person race in October is a great way for us to get back to a sense of normality in our community. Many of our enthusiastic volunteers are returning and will be cheering everyone throughout the race.”
The Marathon distance will not be held this year but will return in 2022, assures Jonathan Foweraker, President of the Victoria Marathon Society.
“The Marathon has traditionally attracted participants not only from Victoria and Vancouver but across Canada and abroad. Not knowing exactly what travel will be like in the fall we would prefer to stage the 41st Royal Victoria Marathon in 2022, when we can truly celebrate a return to running,” he says. “This announcement is a great way to celebrate Global Running Day and I know lots of people will be excited to start training for their first in-person race for over 18 months.”
The CHEK Charity Pledge Program will be run for the 17th year. To date the program has raised over CAD 2 million (1.36 EUR) for local charities.
The event will be dependent upon the Public Health Orders in place at the time.
The organising committee of the Kobe Marathon have announced that this year’s 10th running on November 21 has been cancelled.
It is the second year in a row that Kobe has been cancelled. Organisers had planned to stage the race with a field of 20,000 participants but have decided to postpone the 10th edition one year to November, 2022.
Organisers cited the lack of a foreseeable end to the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting difficulty of securing adequate medical staff and volunteers.
The inaugural edition of the ‘Battle of the Teams’ in Prague early on 30 May, started in glorious sunshine on the Charles Bridge.
Incorporated into the elite-only Prague Marathon, the competition produced fast racing, a team result in doubt till long after the individual winners had crossed the line and Tokyo Olympic qualifying times for two elite Czech women.
The Battle of the Teams involved four carefully balanced teams of eight athletes, but eventually there could be only one individual winner in the men’s and women’s races, and only one team could come out on top.
The Men’s race was won by Kenya’s Benson Kipruto with a surge over the final 5km. Earlier reluctance to push on didn’t result in fast times, but did provide a delicately balanced race with a result in doubt till the final stages.
In contrast Kenya’s Purity Rionoripo, after an already quick first half, applied pressure at the front of the women’s race at 25km, breaking loose and building an unassailable lead. As the last of the thirteen 3km laps unfolded, she pulled further and further clear, surging to the line in 2:20.14, with Ethiopia’s Guteni Shone taking second in 2:21.46.
Rionoripo’s win was the performance of the day, though her great run and points contribution to her Volkswagen team, could not stop rival Team Birell, from taking the team title. The scoring format, with six runners per team to count, saw times converted to points, but importantly ensured that the last finishers for each team, could change the team positions dramatically.
Eventually it was the two personal bests by team members, that ensured Team Birell’s comfortable winning margin, their squad’s times converting to 7,152 points, over Team Volkswagen’s 6,887. Team Mattoni were third with 6845, with Team Skupina CEZ on 6765.
Extreme weather struck a high-altitude section (2000m-3000m) of a 100km race held in the scenic Yellow River Stone Forest in north-west Gansu province on 22 May, killing 21 of the 172 competitors in the cross-country mountain race.
Among the dead after hail, freezing rain and high winds had hit competitors between kilometres 21–30, were elite Chinese ultrarunners. It later emerged that six competitors had been saved from the deadly conditions by a local shepherd who had guided them to shelter.
The race, in its fourth successive edition, was staged by the Baiyin City government and the Chinese Athletic Association. The national authorities, in general very supportive of the health benefits of distance running, responded five days after the race by cancelling or postponing more than 60 marathons and cross-country races throughout the country. These include the Lanzhou International Marathon, an AIMS member race, which was due to be held in Gansu province on 13 June.
China’s top sporting body called upon organisers to improve the safety of their events.
The construction of an International Marathon Center took a major step forward this week when the town of Hopkinton, Massachusetts (USA) announced that it had signed a 99-year lease with the 26.2 Foundation, granting the Foundation a 19-acre site on East Main Street for the IMC’s development.
The site is located on the Boston Marathon route, less than two-thirds of a mile from the Marathon starting line.
First envisioned by the 26.2 Foundation more than a decade ago, the IMC will offer state-of-the-art educational and cultural facilities centered upon a marathon museum and hall of honour. The centre will include conference facilities and an auditorium, as well as research space, classrooms and function rooms.
The construction and management of the center will be privately funded, through individual, foundation and corporate philanthropy. The 26.2 Foundation’s plans call for it to open in the spring of 2024.
With the lease agreement finalised, the 26.2 Foundation is now engaged in the permitting process.
RunRepeat has reported on a survey of 3961 current runners and found that 29% of them started running during the covid-19 pandemic.
Questions posed by the survey revealed that:
- they are 20% less likely to participate in ‘live’ events over the next 12 months
- they are more than twice as likely to favour ‘virtual’ runs
- 72% of “new-pandemic runners” run for health and not competition, 18% more than runners dating from pre-pandemic days
While this confirms the common observation that running has increased in popularity during lockdowns and when movement has otherwise been restricted it does not tell us much more. In particular, are ‘new pandemic runners’ any different from ‘new runners’ at any other time, apart from being more numerous?
New runners have for decades started running for reasons of health rather than to participate in races, but at a later stage they very often do so. The ‘virtual race’ option has only become available during the course of the pandemic and may well provide a crucial stepping stone for ‘health runners’ to become engaged in live races. Certainly many race organisers view virtual races in this light and in no way see virtual racing as in conflict with live competition.
Ron Hill, a former European and Commonwealth Champion in the Marathon, died on 22 May 2021 aged 82.
Sometimes known as “Mr Marathon”, Ron held together a streak of running at least one mile every day which lasted for more than 52 years. He was not just a world record breaking marathon runner but a true innovator in a sport which had been bound by tradition for decades.
He was the second man to break 2:10 in the marathon. He set four world records at less-recognised distances but never laid claim to the marathon world record. He could have done so through his 2:09:28 win at the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh as there was always serious doubt over the accuracy of the course in Antwerp on which Derek Clayton had recorded 2:08:33.4 the previous year.
While he was competing at the highest level, but at a time when there was no financial reward for performance, he graduated from the University of Manchester with a PhD in textile chemistry and pioneered production of specialist clothing for runners through his Ron Hill Sports company.
In common with many British distance runners of the time Hill started by running cross country in the winter and track in the summer. In 1963 he equalled the British record for six miles at the Amateur Athletic Association (AAA) championships with a time of 27:49.8.
He competed at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo finishing 18th in the 10000m (29:53) and 19th in the marathon (2:25:35). He set his first world record by running 1:15:22.6 for 25km, more than a minute faster than the previous best by Emil Zatopek. He set a world record of 1:12:48.2 for 15 miles ‘en passant’ during the same race.
Hill finished 12th in the 1966 European Championships Marathon in Budapest. On the UK domestic scene he dominated the 10-mile event by winning the AAA championships every year from 1965-1968 and in the 1968 race setting a world record of 47:02.2. That summer he finished seventh in the Marathon at the 1968 Mexico Olympics before again lowering the 10-mile world record to 46:44.
Hill won the 1969 European Championships Marathon on the classic but notoriously tough Marathon-to-Athens course. The following year he was at the peak of his powers with his sub-2:10 Commonwealth win preceded by victory in the 1970 Boston Marathon with a new course record of 2:10:30, an improvement of three minutes. In Edinburgh Hill passed through 10km in 29:24, a pace described as ‘suicidal’ (projected as 2:04 for the full distance).
On the strength of his Boston and Edinburgh wins Hill was ranked by Track & Field News as top marathoner in the world for 1970. The next year he was honoured with the Order of the British Empire for “services to athletics”. His final Olympics was at the 1972 Munich Games where he finished sixth in the marathon at the age of 33.
Hill had graduated with his PhD in 1970 and established his company. It started to put out a range of innovative new items of clothing that very quickly became adopted as standard requirements: “Freedom” shorts; the iconic string vest that he had worn in competition; waterproof running tops with reflective strips; and the enormously popular ‘Ron Hill tracksters’ which, along with Hely Hansen thermal tops, passed into the British running vernacular. Hill says he founded the company “because I was running to and from work in the dark in winter and wondered what I needed to stay safe.”
Sales at one point topped £6 million but Hill ran into financial difficulties in the early 1990s and sold out. He later founded another company, ‘Hilly Clothing’, which among other items specialises in technical socks.
Ron Hill started running when the conventional wisdom was that good nutrition consisted of a pre-race steak. Yet he developed the carbohydrate bleed-out and boost diet for Marathon runners to raise muscle glycogen levels in the week before the race. The popular legacy of his innovation survives in the pre-race pasta parties of today’s mass marathons.
According to Hill’s running logs he started training on consecutive days on 20 December 1964 and did not default on it until 30 January 2017, 52 years and 39 days later. He defined a run as covering at least one mile at any pace. His streak included post-operative workouts on crutches. By April 2014 he claimed to have run 159,106.5 miles. His ‘streak’ ended in 2017 with the announcement on his Facebook page that “Due to ill health Ron has decided to take a day off”.
He reached his goal of racing in 100 countries before his 70th birthday with races in Panama and the Faroe Islands. His final marathon was the centennial Boston Marathon in 1996. He completed 115 marathons and recorded 21 marathon victories.
In November 2019, in the 50th year since his European Championships victory, Ron Hill attended the Athens Marathon and the AIMS ‘Best Marathon Runner’ Gala as guest of honour and was moved to tears by the enthusiastic and sustained standing ovation he received.
This article was revised after first publication.
The oldest marathon in Europe will take place for the 98th time on Sunday, October 3, 2021.
If you want to be part of it, sign up now and enjoy the unique atmosphere of this running feast. Breathtaking history, enthusiastic spectators and a fast course make this marathon one of a kind.
The Košice Peace Marathon offers many other projects and activities throughout the year. One of them is the large charity event called VSE City Run.
This time we’re going to run for the Mental Health League. It provides irreplaceable services and therapy for those who need to seek help for their soul.
This year, VSE City Run will take place in virtual form. Thanks to the latest technologies, namely the iWatt mobile app, you will be able to participate in this event from anywhere in the world from June 6 until June 20, 2021.
All runners will collect kilometers to reach the common ambitious goal of 400,000 kilometres. Ten times around our planet. And if that goal is met, it will be turned into financial aid for the Mental Health League.
21 former Comrades Marathon winners will participate in the 1921 Comrades Marathon Tribute Run, a symbolic re-enactment of the 1921 Comrades Marathon which saw 34 starters take off from the Pietermaritzburg City Hall 100 years ago on 24 May 1921.
The 1921 Comrades Tribute Run will take place on Monday, 24 May 2021, exactly 100 years to the day, as part of the Comrades Centenary Celebrations, preceding an exciting line up of Centenary festivities on the day.
Covering a distance of 2.2km, the Tribute Run will finish at Comrades House and will include the participation of former Comrades Marathon Winners, Quadruple Green Number male runners and Triple Green Number female athletes.
The 34 runners are:
These 34 participants will be set off by Msunduzi Mayor, Cllr Mzimkhulu Thebolla at 09h00 outside the Pietermaritzburg City Hall and will proceed down Chief Albert Luthuli Street which becomes Alan Paton Road and then turn left into Connaught Road, covering the 2.2km long route.
CMA Race Director, Rowyn James said, “This is a symbolic race and is being run in honour of the very first Comrades Marathon that was held on 24 May 1921. We expect this race to finish by 09h30 and will precede an exciting line-up of items on the celebrations programme to mark our Comrades Centenary.”
James adds, “Thanks to CMA sponsor, Mr Price Sport, our 34 athletes will be outfitted in running kits which take us back all the way to the 1920’s. It promises to be quite a show. It is also noteworthy that this will be the largest gathering of former Comrades Winners since 1983 when a reunion was held of all 25 living winners at that time.”
The 1921 Comrades Marathon Tribute Run will be overseen by Msunduzi Traffic Management Services and the Department of Transport (RTI).
The arrival of the 34 runners at Comrades House will herald the start of the formal Comrades Centenary Celebrations which will include the unveiling of a Centenary Monument, entertainment, formal addresses from dignitaries, less-formal speeches by special guests, more entertainment, and the cutting of a giant birthday cake.
The occasion’s activities will be live-streamed, and we invite Comrades runners and supporters in South Africa and around the world to follow the day’s proceedings from 09h00 – 15h00 on our website www.comrades.com, or on Facebook @ComradesMarathon.
The Marine Corps Marathon Organisation (MCMO) has announced that the 2021 Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) Weekend will be held live and in-person on 29–31 October.
“Throughout my many years heading the MCM Organisation, we have faced various challenges and hurdled them all, often repeating the Marine Corps mantra to ‘adapt and overcome’.” said Rick Nealis. “The MCM’s mission is to highlight the high standards and organisational excellence of the United States Marine Corps and we are excited to showcase that as we plan to safely gather and celebrate the 46th MCM in person.”
To prioritise the health and safety of our running community, the MCMO is taking preventative measures and implementing safety guidelines in accordance with local jurisdictions, including reducing the size of the field and dividing runners into scaled, social-distanced start times beginning at 07.00. The MCMO will continue to review event operations and protocols in conjunction with Marine Corps leadership, local government and public health officials. Any procedural changes or updates will be announced.
The 2021 MCM Weekend includes the live 46th MCM, MCM50K and MCM10K on Sunday 31 October with all three events being offered as virtual options as well between 1 October and 11 November.
Runners currently registered for the virtual MCM Weekend events or those who deferred from the 2020 events will have the first opportunity to transition to the live version in October. Further instructions will be sent to the e-mail address provided by participants during registration. At this time, access to the virtual event is closed. General entries to the live event will be made available to the public on Wednesday 26 May.
Ambitious runners may also pursue the Trifecta, a unique opportunity to participate in and complete all three MCM Weekend distances through a combination of virtual or live MCM, MCM50K or MCM10K.
The Village Roadshow Theme Parks Gold Coast Marathon will be the largest mass-participation event in Australia since COVID-19 decimated the event and festival industry across the nation more than 12 months ago.
Entries are continuing to roll in ahead of the 4 June closing date and with the international borders remaining firmly shut, entrants are distinctly Australian and are travelling from every state and territory in the country.
With the lure of an all-Aussie line-up on the podium this year the elite athlete participation is looking exceptional with qualifying opportunities for World Championships 2022 and Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at stake.
Australians haven’t enjoyed a win in the Gold Coast Marathon since 2009 when Lauren Shelley took out the female 42.195km event and in 2006 when Lee Troop won the men’s event.
Tourism and Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe welcomed the return of the Gold Coast Marathon.
“We know big events like the Gold Coast Marathon are important for supporting local jobs and our economic recovery,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“The Gold Coast Marathon is shaping up as significant national event which is great news for accommodation providers and the Gold Coast’s many world-class holiday experiences.”
Events Management Queensland CEO, Cameron Hart said they were anticipating between 16 – 20,000 runners this year for an event that might look and feel a little different to previous years, but it would be a fitting celebration of the return of community and mass participation events.
“We have had to make some changes to accommodate the implementation of a COVID-safe plan however, I think people understand the need for some precautions in the best interest of everyone’s health and wellbeing.
“One of the biggest changes has been moving the ASICS half marathon from Sunday morning to Saturday morning. This means the number of people in the precinct and on the course is considerably less with the Village Roadshow Theme Parks Marathon still kicking off on the Sunday morning, but a little earlier than in previous years.
“I am delighted that we have already attracted some of Australia’s greatest marathon and wheelchair marathon and half marathon athletes. With their sights on wearing the green and gold in 2022, we are set for some very serious racing.”
Destination Gold Coast and Events Management Queensland Chairman, Paul Donovan said whilst they would certainly miss the international competitors at this year’s event the fact that Australians had really embraced the opportunity to compete again would make it a spectacular experience that will revitalise the event industry.
To accommodate the mailing of all participant race kits and cater for changes in supply chains entries for the Village Roadshow Theme Parks Gold Coast Marathon and associated races will close at 11:59pm on Friday 4 June 2021.
Until the beginning of the 1990s Vladivostok, with 600,000 inhabitants, was still a restricted military area.
This, the Galaxy Vladivostok Marathon is AIMS-certified and also offers a “half”, a 10- and 5-kilometre route as well as a family and children’s run over 1km. It will take place for the fifth time on 25 September 2021 after paying tribute to the corona pandemic in the previous year. The “inventor” of the easternmost Russian running event was the former Vice President of the Siberian Primorske region, Konstantin Bogdanenko.
During a visit to Europe he took part in the Trieste marathon and was enthusiastic about the flair and the organisation. When he returned, he said: “We can do that too!” Together with committed colleagues like Olga Gaeva and Polina Kupchick, they developed the first international marathon event in Vladivostok in 2017. There were 800 participants at the beginning, with the fourth edition receiving more than 4000 entries from 25 countries, mainly from Asia.
The attraction is the bridges. Running or walking over them is only possible on the day of the Vladivostok Marathon, otherwise these are strictly reserved for motorised traffic. Of course, many locals don’t miss this either. The “Russki” bridge, which leads to Russki Island, is the starting point for 42.195km and 21.097km. The “Solotoi”, the Russian “Golden Bridge”, is bridge no. 2, from which the runners have a unique view of the huge port city.
The running movement has developed enormously in the East Siberian area in recent years , not least because of the marathon attraction. Races have become commonplace every week, and thousands have decided to go jogging and walking. Even in winter there is running: 1000 and more take part in the traditional Vladivostok Arctic Marathon.
We’re celebrating a small anniversary this September,” happily Olga Gaeva and Polina Kupchik , both involved in the organisation team. Olga was even appointed race director, while Polina is responsible for public relations and international contacts.
They think it is important to encourage regular running and thus a healthy lifestyle for the Siberians before and after the “marathon of bridges” . “We also focus on families,” says Polina. We have family and children’s races, 1 kilometer for ‘little heroes’. "
The marathon event offers still water, bananas and dates every 5 km . Anyone who gives up will be picked up in a special car. A special transfer brings all participants to the respective starting point. Changing and storing personal clothes are organised. Everyone receives a special t-shirt and a finisher medal. There are freebies and a “beginners package” with surprises. The day after the marathon sponsored by Samsung Galaxy, the traditional Siberian Tiger Day will be celebrated in the historic centre of Vladivostok.
The Vladivostok Marathon, still almost unknown to us, is developing into a Far Eastern attraction. It will soon be followed by a tiger marathon, says the inventor of the bridge marathon, Konstantin Bogdanenko. North of Vladivostok, where the taiga (sub-arctic forest) begins.
Anyone interested in one of the vacant spots on a runner’s trip to Irkutsk, Lake Baikal, Trans-Siberian Railway, Vladivostok Marathon and three-day taiga tour can contact: Christel Schemel via email@example.com .
Over 9000 runners who bettered the time qualification for the cancelled 2020 Boston Marathon failed to make the cut for the postponed 2021 race, reports Road Race Management.
Those who made it into the covid-restricted field for the 125th edition of the race, currently scheduled for 11 October, had to beat the qualification time by almost eight minutes to assure themselves of a place.
JAAF has released an extension of a study it had previously released last year researching the number of incidences of COVID-19 among participants and officials at track meets and road races.
The full study covered the 2020-21 fiscal year from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 and included 1044 track meets and 74 road races that took place during this period.
Out of 750,389 participants and officials at these 1118 events, the JAAF study documented two cases of people being diagnosed with COVID-19 within two weeks following the event they had attended. The track meet component of the total included 568,271 participants and 147,942 officials, out of which one person tested positive for COVID-19. Presumably this was the same lone case reported in last fall’s version of the study.
The road race component included 25,936 participants and 8240 officials, with one case of COVID-19 reported. These numbers were in line with those reported by the Nagoya Women’s Marathon which found no cases of COVID-19 among almost 5000 participants within two weeks after its March race date. Over 50% of both the track meets and road races were held without spectators, in the case of road races this mostly taking the form of requests from race organizers for people not to turn out and cheer along the course.
With vaccinations in Japan having begun in mid-April, 2021 for only the oldest, most at-risk people and general vaccine access still a distant dream sometime in the fall or winter, maybe, the numbers do not include any kind of substantial effect of vaccination.
But despite the good news in this report, it’s important to understand that it does not show that track meets, road races and other outdoor events pose no risk. It shows that even when vaccines are not part of the equation, events like these have a very low risk of spreading infection when held with a low baseline rate of infection, strict and effective protocols at the event, and a cooperative and responsible population.
Japan has all those advantages. That’s a plus for the chances of this summer’s Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games going ahead in a safe manner without the kind of doomsday outcome predicted by fear-mongering articles such as appeared in the New York Times this week. Likewise for the fall marathon season, especially if the Suga administration gets vaccinations rolling. The numbers are on the side of staying optimistic, even if it’s not easy.
The International Thessaloniki Night Half Marathon, 10K & 5K (GRE) will take place on Sun 17 October 2021, not Sat 16 October 2021 as previously published.
Titus Ekiru won the Milan Marathon in 2:02:57 to become the fifth fastest marathon runner of all time in Milan.
The 29-year-old, who is not nominated for the Olympic Games, clearly undercut the last year’s best time of world record holder and Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge who ran 2:04:30 in Enschede. In positions two and three, the Kenyans Reuben Kipyego and Barnabas Kiptum also ran world-class times with 2:03:55 and 2:04:17 respectively.
There was also a new world-leading time for women. Ethiopia’s Hiwot Gebremaryam won 2:19:35 ahead of Racheal Mutgaa (Kenya / 2:22:50) and Eunice Chumba (Bahrain / 2: 23:10).
The PKO Bialystok Halfmarathon (POL) has been rescheduled again.
It will take place on Sat 19 June 2021, earlier than the September date previously announced. The event had originally been planned for May 2021 but was postponed until later in the year.
Exercise can help the immune system, says a new report.
In a review of studies on the “Effects of Regular Physical Activity on the Immune System, Vaccination and Risk of Community‑Acquired Infectious Disease in the General Population”, published in Sports Medicine magazine (online version 21 April 2021), the authors concluded that:
Regularly engaging in moderate to vigorous physical activity
i) is associated with a 31% risk reduction of community-acquired infectious disease.
ii) is associated with a 37% risk reduction in infectious disease mortality.
iii) is associated with increased strength of the mucosal immune barrier and higher concentration of immune cells that prepare, orchestrate, regulate and effect immunity.
iv) can strengthen the effect of vaccination campaigns.
Olympic marathon qualification and nomination is often an opaque procedure in the two running superpowers of Kenya and Ethiopia.
While Kenya made nominations at the end of February, officials each put four athletes on the list for three starting places. World record holders Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei can safely assume that they will start in Japan. For the Ethiopians the situation has been unclear for a long time.
A qualifying race on 4 April in Hawassa in the south of the country was relocated to Geneva. But Coronavirus conditions made the Swiss option too complicated and in the end, on 1 May 20km south of Addis Ababa, a 35km elimination race at an altitude of 2200m was held just three months before the Olympic races.
Last October’s London Marathon winner Shura Kitata won the men’s race in 1:46:15, one second ahead of Lelisa Desisa and with Sisay Lemma a further two seconds back. Tigist Girma (1:59:23), Birhane Dibaba (1:59:45) and Roza Dereje (2:00:16) were the fastest three women.
Only six out of 12 men started the trial. Many runners did not believe in such a race: over 35km, in cool temperatures and at high altitude it was the opposite of what can be expected at the Olympics in Sapporo.
Kenenisa Bekele was among the athletes who did not start but because officials reserved the right to be able to award the third Olympic place regardless of the trial result in Sebeta, the three-time long-distance Olympic champion was not yet out of the race: at a press conference of the National Olympic Committee of Ethiopia it was announced that Kenenisa Bekele was nominated for the Olympic Marathon.
The Mastercard New York Mini 10K on 12 June will increase numbers from 1200 to 3000 expected finishers. The Front Runners LGBT Pride Run two weeks later (on 26 June) and the Achilles Hope and Possibility 4M on 10 July will each have 4250 expected finishers.
The 2021 Mastercard New York Mini 10K, the world’s original women-only road race, will be the first regularly scheduled and largest NYRR race to take place since the COVID-19 pandemic began and will follow comprehensive health and safety guidelines and procedures.
All events taking place in Central Park will operate under NYRR’s Return to Racing guidelines. Health and safety procedures were developed under the guidance of public health officials and medical experts and in partnership with the City of New York and the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation.
The Guidelines include an increased number of staggered starts, self-hydration options, hand sanitation stations, and limiting race amenities to uphold adherence to social distancing.
Source: RUNNING USA
The Vienna Marathon team is organizing the “Vienna Calling 21K” half marathon in Vienna on Sunday, 16 May starting at 08.00.
This officially approved run is a VCM test event for the implementation of Covid-19 prevention strategies.
The race starts on the Reichsbrücke, and finishes in the Prater. The race incorporates the Vienna Championships and takes place in accordance with Section 15 of the Covid-19 Protective Measures Ordinance.
Almost 200 participants are registered, which is the legal upper limit. Austria’s marathon record holder Peter Herzog, already qualified for the Olympic Games, will use the race as training under competitive conditions and run sections at a marathon tempo after recovering from a torn muscle.
“This is important for the running scene as a whole,” said Herzog. “For me, too, it’s about picking up speed again.” The women’s favourite is half marathon national champion Julia Mayer.
“For our big goal of running the Vienna City Marathon on 12 September, we need smaller events in advance to test and practice processes,” said race organiser Wolfgang Konrad. “We also want to give the runners motivation and an impetus for training.”
Exactly four months before the date (12 September) over 20,000 runners have already registered for the marathon, half marathon and relay marathon.
At the Vienna Calling 21K Half Marathon on 16 May everyone involved must upload a valid antigen or PCR test in advance. Self-tests are not recognized. A digital “Safe Guest Management Tool” is used as a pilot project to record the test evidence. The starting process takes place according to the “Keep in Flow” principle.
Access to the start and finish area is only possible for the people involved in the event. In the event area, FFP2 masks are compulsory. The run itself is without masks.
The route “in the footsteps of Eliud Kipchoge” is suited for fast times. After starting on the Reichsbrücke, the course leads into Lassallestrasse, Praterstern and the Hauptallee. There are two laps of the full length of the Hauptallee, between Praterstern and Lusthaus, each with two turns. The finish line is on Hauptallee at the stadium.
In the starting phase from 07.00 to 08.15 the Reichsbrücke carriageway leading out of town will be closed. From 08.15 all traffic measures will end and the event will then take place exclusively on the Prater Hauptallee, a closed road.
The Japanese Federation has announced that the Moroccan El Mahjoub Dazza has been stripped of his victory at the 73rd Fukuoka International Marathon held on 1 December 2019.
A short time after the race Dazza was found to have violated anti-doping regulations and the Athletics Integrity Unit suspended him for four years. Following a rejection of his appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last week all of Dazza’s results after 4 May 2019, including his Fukuoka win, were disqualified.
For that reason all athletes who finished 2nd and lower in the race will be elevated one position, making runner-up Taku Fujimoto the winner and giving the Toyota corporate team and head coach Toshinobu Sato two-straight Fukuoka victories, following teammate Yuma Hattori’s 2018 win.
The Fukuoka International Marathon is known worldwide as one of the most prestigious traditional races and last year was selected as the recipient of World Athletics’ Heritage Plaque. Nevertheless, in March this year the JAAF announced that this year’s 75th running on 5 December will be its final edition.
Dagmawit Amare has been appointed as the new General Manager of Great Ethiopian Run, taking over from Ermias Ayele who has been the GM for the past 11 years. Dagmawit becomes the third GM in the company’s 20-year history and the first female to lead the company.
Speaking about her appointment, Haile Gebrselassie, Patron of the Great Ethiopian Run, said: “This is a great opportunity for Dagi to lead the company. She is a very humble person, but she is also very smart. She has a wonderful gift of empowering others to do their work well. We are lucky to have her to lead us in the next phase of our work.”
Having started to work for the company 17 years ago, Dagmawit is also Great Ethiopian Run’s longest-serving employee. Over many years she has masterminded the company’s work of mobilising large numbers of participants to register for their races. As a passionate lover of Ethiopian music, she has also been instrumental in bringing live music bands to the events and two years ago worked with an Ethiopian dance group to introduce a unique dance routine as part of the participant warm-up for the international 10km.
Former General Manager Richard Nerurkar recalls how Dagmawit has also been passionate about making a success of the annual women’s run: “From her earliest years she was totally committed to seeing this race grow into what it has now become. She loves creating enjoyment for our participants. Another example of this is our annual Pasta Party which nowadays has the feel of a special Gala Dinner. But what I value most about Dagi is the way she takes care of others. For the past 17 years she has been the glue which has kept us together as a happy and successful team.”.
The same point is made by Dagim Teshome who as Operations Director has worked closely with Dagi for the past 14 years. “With Dagi, nothing she does is about herself. It’s about our races and our team. It’s about us as an organisation and about us doing something for Ethiopia.” Ruth Duncan, who has worked as part of the Event Hospitality Team for the past 17 years, said: “Dagi is the perfect person to take over the driving seat at Great Ethiopian Run. Her friendly professionalism and passion for sharing Ethiopia’s running culture have been central to the way in which our races have sent out so many positive messages about Ethiopia and its welcome to the outside world.”
Dagmawit’s popularity outside the office has also been evident in tributes made by those who know her both as a person and as an event professional. Chachi Tadesse, one of Ethiopia’s well-known singers who regularly attends races organised by Great Ethiopian Run, commented: “Dagi is a wonderful person to be around – always positive, totally committed and incredibly humble. I’m excited to see how she will lead the organisation and the new ideas she will bring to her work.” Hannah Gebreselassie, an Ethiopian sports journalist, was equally upbeat when she heard about the appointment. “I was over the moon when I heard this news. Dagi will have her own special style of leadership and will want to help others do their work well.”
The Jungfrau-Marathon (SUI) will take place on Sat 11 September 2021, not Fri 10 September 2021 as previously published.
The Greifenseelauf Uster (SUI) will take place from Wed 15 September 2021—Sat 18 September 2021, not just on Sat 18 September 2021 as previously published.
International athletes who competed in the Tokyo Olympics test event half marathon in Sapporo on 5 May gave high marks to the event’s coronavirus protocols.
Dutch athlete Bart Van Nunen said, “The measures against COVID-19 were perfect. I didn’t feel there were any problems.” International athletes were not allowed to go out in public or use public transportation and were required to eat in their hotel rooms. “I felt that this just showed the kind of measures they were taking,” said Van Nunen.
Men’s winner Hillary Kipkoech of Kenya commented, “It was very tough with the strong wind, but the course itself was excellent.”
Translator’s note: In contrast to the athlete comments here, a story published on Saturday by Inside the Games on COVID-19 countermeasures at Olympic test events this week, which for whatever reason didn’t mention the marathon test event, selected only negative quotes from athletes, who were quoted as complaining about not being allowed to hang out with others, go sightseeing, or go out eating.
The test event for the Tokyo Olympics Marathon went off as planned on 5 May in Sapporo on a course mirroring the first half of this summer’s Olympic course.
Strong winds from the south meant a slow start over the first 8km, super fast splits from the turn to the north just before 10km until after 15km, and a technical finish into the wind over the narrow and winding last few km through the Hokkaido University campus.
After a slow start Olympic marathon women’s team members Ayuko Suzuki and Mao Ichiyama plus alternate Mizuki Matsuda took it out hard with pacing courtesy of one of Ichiyama’s male coaches. They stayed together on 1:08 pace until almost 18km before Suzuki slipped behind, Ichiyama kicking to win in a 1:08:28 PB and Matsuda closing hard in 1:08:32 for second, likewise a PB. Ichiyama’s time moved her up to 6th all-time Japanese with Matsuda picking up the seventh spot and knocking her coach Miwako Yamanaka out of the top ten in the process. Suzuki, already all-time number four, hung on for third in 1:08:53, almost a minute off her best but a huge sigh of relief after over a year of injuries.
Olympic trials winner Honami Maeda spent most of the race alone in fourth before getting caught just before the finish by Germany’s Katharina Steinruck. Steinruck ran a PB 1:10:43, impressive considering she ran a marathon PB just two weeks ago in Enschede and had to deal with international travel and COVID-era immigration restrictions in between. Maeda took fifth in 1:10:50.
Fresh off a 27:35 road 10km best last month, Kenyan Hillary Kipkoech had no trouble pulling away over the second half after taking advantage of the course’s main uphill at 8km to break free. Kipkoech ran most of the race solo to win in 1:00:46, with Japan-based Kenyan Simon Kariuki also mostly alone for second in 1:01:11. Shin Kimura emerged from a Japanese chase group of eight to take third in 1:01:46, 10 seconds up on Olympic marathon team alternate Shohei Otsuka.
The only member of the Tokyo Olympics men’s marathon team to run, Yuma Hattori (Toyota) was pleased with a 1:02:59 for 24th after saying pre-race he planned to run in the 1:04 to 1:05 range. “The course was faster than I expected, so I was able to run faster than planned,” he said post-race. “This gave me a lot of confidence.”
The top women also said that the course was faster than expected and that it meant speed would be more of an issue at the Olympics than on the original course in Tokyo. The hill at 8km is early enough that it shouldn’t be much of an issue, but the series of sharp turns on narrow paths through Hokkaido University near the end of the main loop and two following short loops could end up being one of the key tactical parts of the Olympic course.
The world’s running elite delivered a series of exceptional performances this Sunday in Geneva at the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef.
Shumi Dechasa (BRN) set the all-time fastest time for the Marathon distance in Switzerland and the new race record in 2:06:59. Maureen Chepkemoi (KEN) set the women’s all-time fastest time for the Marathon distance in Switzerland and the new race record in 2:24:19.
Henry Wanyoike, the triple Paralympic champion in the 5,000m and 10,000m and World Record Holder in the blind marathon, qualifies for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
In light of the ever evolving pandemic situation in the world, the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef organising committee is proud to have hosted the 16th edition of the race. Offering elite athletes the chance to compete – and achieve their goals – in a secure environment.
It wasn’t until last Thursday that the organisers revealed the exceptional elite line-up for this unprecedented 16th edition. The global running community were able to follow a livestream online, whilst the fight for victory took place behind closed doors.
Toeing the start line at 7am under the watchful eye of Geneva’s Jet d’Eau, both the elite men and women rose to the occasion, setting new fastest times on Swiss soil on a flat course on the shores of the lake. Triple Paralympic champion Henry Wanyoike and his guide rounded off an incredible morning of racing by confirming their qualification for the Tokyo games.
The men’s race was won by the Bahraini runner Shumi Dechasa – who set the new fastest time on Swiss soil (and broke the event record by nearly three minutes in the process), crossing the line in a lightning fast 2:06:59.
In the women’s field, the performances were just as impressive with Kenyan Maureen Chepkemoi also setting the fastest time on Swiss soil in 2:24:19. In doing so, she also set a new women’s record for the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef. (the previous record was 2:29:11).
Led by the pace setters at a speed of 20km/h for the first 30 kilometres, the frontrunners ran together for most of the race. Gradually, the runners dropped off the back of the group one after the other leaving just four runners to fight for the victory. It all came down to the last lap when Barheini, Shumi Dechasa ran off the front to take the win. He had already competed in Geneva in 2019, finishing in second place. In addition to breaking records with a memorable time of 2h06’59, he also took his first victory in Switzerland. Second over the line was the, Kenyan, Kennedy Cheboror in 2:07:42, then the Ethiopian Fikire Workneh rounded out the podium with a time of 2:07:58.
On the women’s side, the race was also very tight, notably between the two Kenyans Maureen Chepkemoi (2:24:19), Lucy Karimi (2:24:24) and the Ethiopian Tigist Memuye (2:24:23). They ran together from the start to the finish, with the result only decided in the final straight. The youngest of the three, Maureen Chepkemoi (KEN) won a memorable sprint to the line.
Henry Wanyoike (KEN), triple Paralympic Champion in Sydney and Athens and World Record Holder in the blind marathon with a time of 2 hours 31 minutes 31 seconds, has achieved a tremendous feat at the age of 46 by securing his selection for the Tokyo Paralympic Games. "I am very happy to be able to participate for the first time in the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef, which is very important to me, as an ambassador for Light for the World and thus qualify for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Especially in this time of pandemic, an event like this sends out strong positive signals and represents hope and optimism.”
Benjamin Chandelier, Event Director said: “Despite this particular context, an historic edition for professional athletes has just taken place and we will remember it with a smile. The elite race will now give way to the open races over the rest of the month and I wish all the participants good luck. On behalf of the entire organisation, I congratulate each runner for their performance and all the running enthusiasts who followed the athle.ch livestream sponsored by our partner Generali. This event could not take place without the commitment of our volunteers. I would also like to thank the authorities and the administration of the Canton and the City of Geneva for their unfailing support as well as our loyal partners for their support.”
Beyond the elite race, the Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef has opened its popularchallenge with an adapted version which is open to all until Sunday 30th May.Participants start from the Jardin Anglais, individually, to take one of the six challenges: Marathon, Half-Marathon, 10km Run, 10km Walking, 10km Nordic Walking and 5km La Genevoise #LikeAGirl by Always, which this year is also open to men. All challenges are open to wheelchair athletes. Each individual challenge can be run on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in May, at the times set by the organisation and in compliance with the health regulations in force on the day of the event.
The short-course, downsized-field Ethiopian Men’s and Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials were held on 1 May 20km outside Addis Ababa.
The top-3 finishers in each trial are due to be selected to represent Ethiopia at the Olympic Games Marathons in Sapporo in 13 weeks’ time.
Kenenisa Bekele was a notable absentee from the men’s race, citing the short time until the Olympic race as a reason for his non-participation.
The Milton Keynes Marathon & Half Marathon (GBR) will be Sat 26 June 2021—Sun 27 June 2021, not Sat 1 May 2021—Mon 3 May 2021 as previously published.
Who could have imagined it three decades ago? After the 1st Egyptian Marathon in 1994 the media all over Egypt had to explain the word “marathon” to their readers and listeners again and again.
But then the running movement in the land on the Nile became unstoppable:
The Luxor races have been joined by races through the desert in 20 years, in Sinai on Mount Moses, in Sharm El Sheikh and in the Egyptian spa town of El Gouna on the Red Sea.
In December 2012, the successful sales manager Ibrahim Safwat said goodbye to Bosch in Cairo. and devoted himself to a dream. He founded the “Cairo Runners” with friends. This marked the beginning of a new era of running in Egypt that is deeply impressive.
Christel Schemel spoke to Safwat.
CS: How did you come to the decision to found a running club in Cairo?
Ibrahim: The idea was that we wanted to bring something new to the streets of our capital. The “Egyptian Spring” took place a year earlier, and we too got something from this wind. Many young people were given a boost and courage to try something new. So many bold plans arose. I met friends and shared my thoughts that we could start a running group to jog through the streets of Cairo together.
CS: Was this rational, with all the traffic in the 21 million city?
Ibrahim: My friends were skeptical at first, because walking in Cairo is almost impossible. And we also wanted to attract women to run. That was and still is something unusual for us. We initiated a model. From now on we wanted to meet every Friday morning, because Friday is the day off of the week in Egypt. The start should always be at 07.00 because there are few cars at this time of day. We selected appropriate places and streets for the first Friday runs. It began with 4km in the Zamalek district, near the banks of the Nile. Zamalek thus became the cradle of our running history. Then we extended the distance by 1km from Friday to Friday. Soon the ten of us ran in a row and gradually learned to run a half marathon. After half a year we had achieved our goal. The group had grown to more than 1300 half marathon runners, including many women.
CS: How did it go then?
Ibrahim: To avoid boredom we changed the training locations. In this way participants were able to get to know their huge city, discover sights and make friends at the same time. We always announced the routes and the starting points in good time by mobile phone. Our meetings thus remained very lively and interesting for everyone. After a year we saw our basic idea as fulfilled.
CS: So you wanted to quit after a year?
Ibrahim: The project was only intended for a year. Everyone had their job, their studies, their own life. We were good friends and relatives and thought that such a project can only be carried out on a voluntary basis for one year. But over the course of the year we also learned that the runners had identified themselves very much with the new idea. For many it became a passion that they never let go. Even sponsors made friends with our idea. So we went on and learned from time to time. Today we know a lot about running event management and caring for runners.
CS: How is the situation at the Cairo Runners today?
Ibrahim: We now run an office with eight employees. When we organised our first Cairo marathon in April 2019, we had more than 600 volunteers and 60 employees for the organization office. The response was enormous. Despite Corona, the running meetings continued to take place every Friday. 40-50 voluntary helpers were essential for this, as hundreds came to training on Fridays and there are now 2,500 and more running fans.
CS: Which routes do you offer, how are running women viewed in Cairo?
Ibrahim: Our running movement includes around 65% men and 35% women. Most are between 18–39, but there are also runners over 70 years of age. Families come with their children, which we are very happy about. We offer routes of 2 km, 5 km and 10 km. We also organise half marathons and marathons. People with disabilities also have the opportunity to be actively involved. The women are fully integrated. You run with us within the group. If they are molested, our men talk to such a person. Then we continue walking with the women. The training group always stays together. So our running women always feel protected.
CS: Where have the Cairo Runners run in their history so far?
Ibrahim: We run in all districts of Cairo. Our philosophy remains that all participants should get to know their city from the perspective of a runner. But we also leave Cairo every now and then for training runs and competitions in Luxor, Aswan, Alexandria, in El Gouna on the Red Sea or in the beautiful Sinai. Our Cairo half marathon with its 7000 participants was one of the largest running sports events in Egypt. On that day we also held a 7km run and a 1km fun run for families. With it, many people enjoyed the sport on the one day. We also love spectacular events such as treasure hunt runs, obstacle runs and training camps. The Cairo Marathon through the old town two years ago was the most beautiful run in our history with 3000 participants. We are so proud of it. Everyone walked happily through historic Cairo along the Nile. A dream run!
CS: We already imagine being part of the Cairo Marathon in October 2022…
Ibrahim: You are cordially invited. Maybe we will take you on an Egypt running tour with stops, Cairo and El Gouna and culture in Luxor and Alexandria! Let’s stay in contact.
Further information in the new illustrated book “Laufen in Ägypten” by Klaus Weidt / Christel Schemel, can be ordered for 15 EUR through German Road Races
The Generali Milan Marathon will offer a select group of up to 120 elite runners a last-gasp opportunity to meet the Olympic Marathon qualifying standard on 16 May – less than 3 months before the Olympic Marathons will be staged.
The time to beat is 2:11:30 on a fast course in downtown Milan consisting of an introductory lap of 4695m and 5 laps of 7500m.
In contrast to the recent races on the airfields of Siena and Twente-Enschede, this time it will again be on a course through a city centre.
The Houston Marathon Committee (HMC) will open its first window of registration – Guaranteed Registration – for the 2022 Houston Marathon Weekend of Events this Saturday, May 1, with Open Registration available to all runners on June 2, 2021.
The in-person race for the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Chevron Houston Marathon and the 21st annual Aramco Houston Half Marathon will take place Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, with the We Are Houston 5K presented by Aramco and Chevron on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022.
“We are grateful for the continued support from our running community throughout the past year and look forward to safely welcoming back our runners to the road in Houston,” said Wade Morehead, Executive Director of the Houston Marathon Committee. “Through thoughtful planning alongside our city partners, we are confident that 2022 will be an event year that successfully celebrates the history and camaraderie of our runners, volunteers, race partners, and spectators – all who have made this event possible for the past 49 years.”
Having such depth of marathon running talent as Ethiopia does can pose its own problems – like how to choose three of them who may best represent the country at the Tokyo Olympic Games in three months’ time.
The plan was for select men’s and women’s fields to fight it out in a trial in a small-scale race in Switzerland on 2 May but this has now been revised to a similar race just outside of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, (at 2400m altitude) on 1 May. The first three finishers in the trial are due to be selected. In order to limit the damage racing a marathon flat-out so soon before the main event is due the race distance will be limited to 35km.
It is anticipated that the field in each race could feature as few as six runners. Even then, injury concerns over some of the foremost talents (Kenenisa Bekele, Mosinet Geremew and Birhanu Legese) – and the possibility that they might withdraw – has led to Mule Wasihun, Getaneh Molla and Kinde Alanaw being added to the field alongside Sisay Lemma, Lelisa Desisa and Shura Kitata.
The women’s field is expected to comprise Roza Dereje, Birhane Dibaba, Degitu Azimeraw, Zeineba Yimer, Tigist Girma, and Ashete Bekere.
Anyone who looks closely at today’s calendar will find that April 29 bears the adjective “European Day of Solidarity between Generations.”
Well, to be honest, we would hardly find a better example of such fellowship in people’s leisure activities as a marathon, or running events in general. It is almost the only sports discipline in which all generations of athletes will meet at the same starting line. And there is much more to it. They compete in a fair play manner, encourage and advice each other, and selflessly hand over a glass of water.
There is no more astonishing view than the one on the finish line, which, with a big smile as a manifestation of inner satisfaction, is being passed by the young, those in their prime and even those whose wisdom and balance are apparent even without their silvered hair.
Family cohesion and generation unity has been tested the hard way in recent months. But they sticked together the same way they will stick together again, facing the challenge of overcoming a marathon. All over the world. And on October 3, definitely in Košice as well.
The Copenhagen Marathon due to take place on 16 May 2021 has been cancelled.
Organisers said: “We unfortunately see no other option than cancelling this years version of the Copenhagen Marathon. The reason is that we are still awaiting the official guidelines for mass participation events, and we are getting so close that we are running out of time in regards to be able to organize and complete productions for the race.”
With a recent upsurge in the number of covid cases in Japan, and in particular the Tokyo Prefecture, the Tokyo Olympic Organising Committee of the Olympic Games faces a decision on how many domestic spectators will be allowed into Games venues.
It was previously announced that no one from outside of Japan would be allowed into the country as a spectator at the Games.
A decision on local local spectators had been imminent but, with the developing situation, has been put off as long as possible but will likely have to be made in June with the involvement of the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo metropolitan government.
“We want to get the Münster area moving,” says the organising team of the Volksbank-Münster-Marathons, which is planned to take place on 12th September.
With the slogan “Run into May” the marathon organisation also offers a time-limited competition, just for fun or as preparation or motivation for participation in September.
“Run into May” is intended as a warm-up for the running season. Companies encourage their staff to walk or jog as far as possible between 3rd and 30th of May 2021 – and they can see how they measure up against other firms.
Münster-Marathon e.V. will evaluate the performance and report on its homepage as well as Facebook und Instagram week by week on each firm’s progress. Kilometres will be counted for each sporting activity, e.g. a distance run or a walking event.
The best three companies will be awarded prizes, grouped by company size.
The number of companies is limited to a maximum of 15 per category. Places are assigned in order of registration. A small registration fee dependent on th size of the company is invoiced to cover costs.
After the latest meeting of the organisation team at the start of the week, the organisers repeated their intention to carry on planning this year’s marathon. All plans are in full swing. The deadline for a final decision on cancellation or confirmation is 30th June.
The Sarmang Dehradun Marathon (IND) will take place on Sun 3 October 2021, not Sun 5 September 2021 as previously published.
Kenyan marathon maestro Eliud Kipchoge returned to the top of the podium by claiming victory in the NN Mission Marathon in Enschede on 18 April courtesy of a slick world leading mark of 2:04:30.
In the women’s race, German Katharina Steinruck produced a dominant display to wipe almost a minute-and-a-half from her lifetime best and clinch an impressive win in 2:25:59.
Running in overcast conditions at Twente Airport the race billed ‘the fastest way to Tokyo’ lived up to expectations as 25 athletes dipped under the Olympic automatic qualification standard (15 men and 10 women).
For Kipchoge, victory in Enschede was a welcome return to form after the 36-year-old suffered his first marathon defeat in seven years in London last October. Paced through halfway in 1:01:43 – running alongside his training partner and fellow NN Running Team athlete Jonathan Korir – Eliud made his winning strike around 33km when the marathon great accelerated ahead of the field.
The remainder of the race was a demonstration of Eliud’s marathon masterfulness as he picked up the pace from 35km and proved he is back to his formidable best. Korir, was rewarded with a five-second PB, recording 2:06:40 for second – with Eliud giving his close friend a post-race hug in celebration.
Goitom Kifle of Eritrea also produced a splendid performance to trim two seconds from his lifetime best to take third in 2:08:07. Philemon Kacheran – who acted as one of Eliud’s pacemakers – continued to the finish and was rewarded with fourth in 2:08:47.
Eliud said of race victory: “It is mission accomplished. The conditions were really good. The NN Mission Marathon was a real test before Tokyo. It was so good a marathon happened a few months before the Olympics to test our fitness. I thank the great men and women who organised this race in less than 10 days. To organise this in the middle of a pandemic and show that people can still run and deliver their best race before the Olympics is very important.”
In the women’s race, Steinruck, running in race tights, hit halfway in 1:12:58 before kicking clear of her rivals in the second half of the race. Behind, the vastly experienced Sara Moreira of Portugal was rewarded for a patient display to take second in 2:26:42 with the fast-finishing German Rabea Schoneborn scalping more than a minute-and-a-half from her PB to take third in 2:27:03.
The race was originally set to take place in Hamburg on 11 April but Covid restrictions forced the race organisers – NN Running Team, Hamburg Marathon and Global Sports Communication – to postpone the event and secure a different location. Thankfully organisers of the Enschede Marathon helped out to organise a specially designed eight-lap course at Twente Airport, to ensure the race would go ahead.
Angela Tanui (KEN) broke her personal best by five minutes to post a world-leading 2:20:08 at the Xiamen Marathon and Tuscany Camp Global Elite Race in Siena on 11 April.
In the men’s race Eric Kiptanui also ran a personal best in winning this specially-organised elite-only event designed to allow athletes to achieve qualifying marks for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
It was organised with the co-operation of the Italian Athletics Federation, World Athletics and the Xiamen Marathon, which was unable to accept overseas entrants to its own race this weekend due to pandemic restrictions. Despite rain and wind the flat lap circuit and comprehensive pacing plan allowed 20 men to break 2:09 and six women to go under 2:25.
Both races took decisive shape after 30km with Tanui going clear at that point with fellow Kenyans Gladys Chepkurui and Delvine Meringor along with Ethiopia’s Gebiyanesh Gedamu. Tanui then broke away and continued to move clear to win by more than two-and-a-half minutes from her compatriot Purity Changwony, who came through to finish second.
In the men’s race a group of 26 were together at halfway and the leaders hit 30km in 1:29:38. With 5km remaining Kiptanui and Ethiopia’s Abdi Fufa Nigassa moved clear. Kiptanui kicked ahead to win by 10 seconds from Nigassa as Morocco’s Othmane El Goumri improved his PB to finish third. Nine runners finished inside 2:07.
The good working relationship that RunCalgary enjoys with The City of Calgary and Alberta Health Services (AHS) allowed the successful planning and execution of an event last fall.
The most recent plan, which was collaborated upon by Alberta race directors and uses data and research from around the globe, has been positively reviewed by both the provincial government and AHS. RunCalgary has applied for permits based on these principles and in early April was encouraged by decision makers to continue planning for summer and fall events.
But it could be up to 14 days prior to the event before express permission is given to proceed or not. Even after being permitted an event can be cancelled at any point should conditions warrant. Run Calgary is committed to transparent communication with all stakeholders and participants. RunCalgary asks for understanding while we navigate the systems and processes required in order to get back to in-person races. If approval is not given by 10 days before the start of each race, it will be converted into a virtual event. If this happens registered participants will be contacted and switched to virtual.
An official decision to cancel the mass-participation 10km race – planned to take place 5 May in Sapporo, Hokkaido as part of the Sapporo Marathon Festival Olympic test event is expected soon.
The half marathon Olympic test event, a half marathon on the Olympic Marathon course with around 160 elite participants, is still scheduled to go ahead. 2500 amateur runners had been entered in the 10km, which covered one lap of the 10km northern half of the course for this summer’s Olympic marathon.
In response to the increasing numbers of cases of infection with variants of the coronavirus, city and prefectural officials have extended their policy of asking residents of Sapporo to refrain from going out unnecessarily and from traveling to and from other area until 14 May. As the Sapporo Marathon Festival’s date fell within this period, the decision was made to cancel the mass-participation race.
Last week student leaders at Hokkaido University also delivered a petition with 7000 signatures to the university protesting the administration’s decision to ban all student athletes from competing anywhere while at the same time allowing the Sapporo Marathon Festival mass-participation race to run through the university’s campus.
With nearly 2500 entries taken up for the Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge virtual race on 13 June, the Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) has issued the provincial entry statistics.
The lion’s share of entries hail from Gauteng, followed by KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.
The #ComradesCentenaryHopeChallenge follows the hosting of the CMA’s inaugural virtual event #RaceTheComradesLegends last year which saw 43,778 entrants from 102 nations participating in one of the world’s biggest and most successful virtual races.
On Sunday, 13 June 2021, runners, running club members and their families will once again be able to join in the celebratory spirit of The Ultimate Human Race by participating in the Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge from any time between 00:01am and 23:59pm on the actual challenge date, within their local time zone globally.
The Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge will comprise 5 distances, being a 5km, 10km, 21.1km, 45km and 90km which will all be run virtually, meaning that athletes get to run their own race, along their select route anywhere in the world.
All that participants need to do is go to the official Comrades Marathon website; register for the Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge; select their distance; support their Comrades Marathon Official Charity if they so wish and make payment.
For more information on the Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge and to enter, please click through to www.comrades.com
The campaign slogan for the Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge is ‘Ithemba – Hope Is’, which aims to contextualise each runner’s hopes, what the feeling means to them and to further inspire other athletes to dig deep and discover their own hopes and dreams for a better future and the new normal in a world ravaged by Covid-19.
Diverse findings on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 viruses via the air were published and summarised in a position paper in winter 2020 by the Society for Aerosol Research: "Unfortunately, up until now, the essential findings of research work have not been translated into practical action. Instead, more symbolic measures such as the requirement to wear a mask when jogging are issued, which do not have any significant impact on the infection process.
“The central building block must be consensus in the science: The transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 viruses takes place almost without exception indoors. Outdoor transmissions are extremely rare and never lead to ‘cluster infections’ as can be seen indoors ”.
The position paper comprises 162 pages. We hope that with the “position paper” the hygiene concepts for running events can be revised and that the knowledge of the scientists will finally be acknowledged by the authorities deciding approvals.
Mariko Yugeta (62), women’s 60+ marathon world record holder, bettered her own 2:52:13 record at the Itabashi Trial Marathon in Tokyo on 11 April.
The race was part of a nationwide series of professionally-operated uncertified micro-races that has popped up during the coronavirus pandemic. The Itabashi Trial Marathon covered almost 17 laps of a flat 2.5km course along the Arakawa River on Tokyo’s northern border.
Yugeta went out at just under 4 minutes/km, passing halfway in 1:24:04 and making it to 30km in 2:00:08 before her pace started to slip. Ultimately she ran 2:52:01. She was first of 21 female finishers and 14th overall. “That’s it for marathons for this season,” she told Japan Running News after the race. “I didn’t make it to sub-2:50, but I’ll be training hard to go for it at the Tokyo Marathon this fall.”
The Kharkiv Nova Poshta Liberty Marathon (UKR) will take place on Sun 29 August 2021, not Sun 24 October 2021 as previously published.
Battle of the Teams is the brainchild of RunCzech, organisers of the Volkswagen Prague Marathon and other running events in the Czech Republic and Europe.
While the world suffered through the pandemic the team at RunCzech focused on finding ways of keeping the running community energized and engaged. Virtual runs were set up and races were staged in unconventional locations where safety protocols could be maintained – such as the airport and a brewery. The latest breakthrough is the Battle of the Teams concept, because it makes the marathon a more strategic, complex and engaging spectacle.
The idea is to assemble four teams, each made up of eight marathoners chosen from among the best in the world (four men and four women) with each team supported by a different corporate partner. Runners will be assembled and “drafted” into teams based on their personal bests over the past four years, so that their collective abilities would be evenly matched.
The Battle of the Teams race isn’t over until the last runner crosses the finish line. As in Formula 1 every teammate earns points based on his or her performance. This keeps fans on the edge of their seats until the very end.
The first event will be on 30 May 2021 in Prague, with runners lining up at one of the city’s most cherished landmarks, The Charles Bridge.
According to race director, Carlo Capalbo, “When the world shut down because of Covid-19, people were desperate, in wanting to continue to see great team competition. This event was designed to satisfy that hunger. This new twist also makes the sport vastly more interesting for people with a casual interest in the marathon, and for runners themselves.”
Desiree Linden (USA) knocked seven minutes off the existing 50km world best time and became the first woman to run under three hours for the distance, running 2:59:54.on 13 April using a specially-designed out-and-back lap course on a cycle path in Oregon.
The pre-existing record of 2:07:20 was set by Alyson Dixon (GBR) during the 2019 IAU World 50km Championships .
Linden, a previous winner of the Boston Marathon, was paced through the half marathon distance in 1:15:47 and through the Marathon in 2:31:12. The official name of the event was the Brooks Running 50km & Marathon and was organised by Linden’s agent.
On an episode of the BBC series Antiques Roadshow, aired from Enfield in London on 16 March, a 113-year old cast iron fingerpost sign was brought for valuation.
It was the “18 miles” sign from the 1908 London Olympic Marathon run from Windsor Castle to White City Stadium in west London. The sign was in fact placed 8.2 miles into the course, at 18 miles to go and bears the ‘5-diamond’ emblem of Polytechnic Harriers, the club given the task of organising the race. Such signs were used for the entire length of the course but the only one previously known to be still in existence was the “25 miles” [to go] sign at Eton Bridge (see picture).
It is not clear where the 18 miles sign might have been fixed as the bridge where it would have been located was rebuilt during WWII.The length of this particular race, signposted in both miles and ‘kilos’, eventually became fixed as the Marathon standard of 26 miles 385 yards or 42.195 kilometres. Before then marathons had usually been approximately 25 miles (40km) but could vary considerably in length. The significance of this race was due to the dramatic finale played out on the track inside the stadium.
The Italian leader, Dorando Pietri, collapsed repeatedly and was ‘assisted’ to his feet by race referee Jack Andrew before a last dash to the finish line. He got there 32 seconds before the American, Johnny Hayes, but the Americans protested and Hayes was awarded the victory. Public sympathy was with Pietro and Queen Alexandra, who had witnessed Pietri’s desperate last-lap struggle, awarded him a special commemorative cup.
The race stoked a marathon frenzy and ‘re-runs’ attracted huge betting interest. Pietri and Hayes met up in many different locations in the following years, both indoors and outside, where the only constant was the distance they had to run. In 1924 the world governing body, the IAAF, formalised the Marathon distance as that run from Windsor to White City in the 1908 Olympic Marathon.
Football rivalries – especially those between clubs from the same city – usually generate feelings ranging from rivalry to hostility. Marathons, on the other hand, are especially helpful in cultivating feelings of solidarity.
In Belgrade, where rivalry between the clubs Red Star and Partizan is acute, it has been solidarity which has won people over.
For the third time, Belgrade Marathon has secured the participation of both clubs in a sale of the jerseys worn in the local 164th “eternal” derby match on 7 April to raise funds for charity. From match day until the 34th Belgrade Marathon race day on 16 May the shirts’ sale will raise funds for improving conditions for people with disability so that they are better able to participate in sports and recreation activities.
This initiative of the Belgrade Marathon, with the support of the management and players of Red Star and Partizan as well as the Association of Football Clubs of the Super League, is to raise awareness of the challenges faced by people with disability on a daily basis. Under the slogan “Without Barriers” the intention is to create conditions for removing the mental and physical barriers for people with disability so that they are included in everyday life as effectively as possible. Partners in this project also include the Belgrade Sports Association of People with Disabilities and the Serbian Philanthropic Forum.
Partizan and Red Star have twice previously co-operated with the Belgrade Marathon with similar sales of match jerseys. Following the 116th derby in April 2001 and before the 14th Belgrade Marathon the “I Run for Children” campaign raised significant funds for the reconstruction and erection of homes for children without parental care. Then after the 126th derby in April 2006 funds collected were used for the “School without Violence” campaign in Serbia supported by UNICEF and with the active participation of the Belgrade Marathon through organisation of the Children’s Marathon and the 19th Belgrade Marathon.
The NN Mission Marathon is on something of a mission itself: to find a place where it can be run.
Originally scheduled for 11 April in Hamburg, the City authorities withdrew permission after a rise in perceived risk of coronavirus infection.
Postponing by a week to 18 April was no help for the location in Hamburg but it allowed the organisers to scout another venue. This was going to be in Vienna’s Prater where in October 2019 Eliud Kipchoge had run his celebrated 1:59:40.2 time for 42195 metres under “assisted” conditions.
The venue has now changed again to Enschede in the Twente province of the Netherlands. A closed circuit at Twente Airport has been confirmed for the course. Organisers are expecting about 70 elite runners – including Kipchoge in his first Marathon since suffering his first marathon defeat since 2013 last October in London.
Frank Thaleiser, race director NN Mission Marathon says: “We are very happy that NN Mission Marathon can take place on 18 April in the Netherlands and we are very much looking forward to working with the Enschede Marathon team. We would like to thank the national and regional authorities for their support in this process.”
Sandra Melief, director of the Enschede Marathon, said: “It really is a dream come true: the absolute world’s best on Enschede territory. I am really proud! We welcome the athletes with open arms and with our Twente hospitality we will do everything we can to ensure that they have a top time as relaxed as possible on a flat and fast course."
Niels van den Berg, alderman for sports at the municipality of Enschede, said: “We are incredibly proud and honoured that the event is taking place in Enschede, in a race where the best of the international marathon athletes can also qualify for the Olympic Games.".
Most marathons have been moved to the fall, which means that the calendar is almost empty in the spring. The parties involved are happy that with this race they can contribute to realising the Olympic dreams of the athletes.
Nearly 2000 participants have signed up for the Comrades Marathon Association’s (CMA) virtual event, the Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge, since being launched two weeks ago.
With two consecutive editions of the traditional Comrades Marathon having been cancelled, owing to Covid-19, runners the world over will have the opportunity of joining in the celebratory spirit of the Comrades Marathon Centenary via its 2nd virtual event in the race’s 100-year long history.
Come Sunday, 13 June 2021, runners and their families will be able to participate from any time between 00:01am and 23:59pm on the actual challenge date, within their local time zone globally.
The Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge will comprise 5 distances, being a 5km, 10km, 21.1km, 45km and 90km which will all be run virtually, meaning that athletes get to run their own race, along their select route anywhere in the world.
For more information on the Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge and to enter, please click through to www.comrades.com
The campaign slogan for the Comrades Centenary Hope Challenge is ‘Ithemba – Hope Is’, which aims to contextualise each runner’s hopes, what the feeling means to them and to further inspire other athletes to dig deep and discover their own hopes and dreams for a better future and the new normal in a world ravaged by Covid-19.
1961 ranks among the most memorable years in the rich history of the Košice Marathon, thanks to the participation of the Olympic champion Abebe Bikila.
Bikila is considered by many to be the best marathoner of all time but he only began training seriously at the age of 24. Despite the late start he still achieved twelve victories, two of which were in the Olympic Games.
After winning the first of them in Rome in 1960, running barefoot, the world wanted to see him in other races. In the year following his Olympic triumph, he ran in Athens, Osaka and finally in Košice, where marathon enthusiasts were dying of curiosity. He won everywhere he went and recorded his best time of the season in this small town in eastern Slovakia. This was certainly helped by strong competition from athletes from four continents that came to the race.
Bikila had trained diligently. He attacked Sergei Popov’s course record but after 25km became thwarted by the warm weather. Some 30,000 spectators were waiting at the stadium and tens of thousands of others created corridors along the city streets. The crowd ‘escorted’ 88 runners to the finish line, among them the best runner from Košice itself, Tibor Biskup, who finished 22nd.
The strict amateur rules of the time did not permit Bikila to be paid any financial reward, so he was at least pleased with the local brand running shoes he received from František “Buben” Kapcár, still living today and now 98 years old. And perhaps this champion was able be enjoy something aside from the victory that day: the warm reception and the memories, which remained in this city in the form of a bronze bust made by Arpád Račko, the celebrated artist behind another iconic work: the statue of the marathon runner.
Bikila later enjoyed his second Olympic triumph in Tokyo in 1964. He died as a result of a car accident in 1973.
With the Hamburg city authorities withdrawing consent for hosting the elite-only ‘NN Mission Marathon’ in the city on 11 April a search for alternatives was launched.
Vienna City Marathon organisers were quick to come forward with the suggestion of using a circuit in Vienna’s Prater based on that previously used by the NN team in the “1:59 Challenge” of October 2019 in which Eliud Kipchoge ran an “assisted” 1:59:40.2 for the marathon distance.
A half marathon with 200 starters was already planned for 18 April and this will still take place, after the elite race,, from 12 noon. Vienna City Marathon race director Wolfgang Konrad said: “It is a great honour for us to welcome Eliud back to Vienna. We are also pleased that in these difficult times of the Covid19 pandemic we can assist the Hamburg Marathon and Global Sports in the organisation of a top-level event with this first-class location."
Scottish triathlete Beth Potter posted a time of 14:41 in the Podium 5km on 3 April.
Only Jociline Jepkosgei, has ever run faster (14:32) but that was back in 2017 before World Athletics made 5km a world record distance on the road, The existing world record stands at 14:43, run in Monaco on 14 February by Beatrice Chepkoech and arrangements at the Podium race were not such that will allow Potter’s performance to be ratified.
While the Nagoya Women’s Marathon was run with 4700 runners without a single case of covid being detected as a result the optimism this raised does not apply throughout Japan.
As a result of the resurgent spread of the coronavirus in Miyagi prefecture the organisers of the Sendai International Half Marathon announced on 5 April that this year’s race, which had been scheduled to take place on a reduced scale in May, has been cancelled. It is the second year in a row that the race has been cancelled. In normal years the race is a major event, drawing over 10,000 people from across the country to run through the fresh green streets of the ‘City of Trees’.
This year’s race had been scheduled to have only 4000 entrants as one of the countermeasures planned against the spread of the coronavirus. But with Miyagi prefecture currently leading Japan in the number of new infections per capita, most of them in Sendai, the decision was made to cancel. Miyagi was one of three prefectures placed under a limited state of emergency on 5 April in relation to the spread of the virus.
Ruth Chepngetich won the N Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon on 4 April in a new world record time of 1:04:02.
It was her third win in this race, after victories in 2017 and 2019, as she finished 200m ahead of Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw. Hellen Obiri came in third with 1:04:51 – the fastest ever debut at the distance – making it the first time three women have run under 65 minutes in the same race.
Eight women passed 5km in 15:07 and five went through 10km in 30:21. Marathon WR holder Brigid Kosgei then started to tail off followed by her compatriot Joan Melly. The lead trio passed 15km in 45:29 but, approaching 18km, Chepngetich moved ahead of Yehualaw to pass 20km already 22 seconds clear. The first seven finishers all surpassed the 2021 world-leading time.
World record-holder Kibiwott Kandie won the men’s race in a course record of 59:35 after Benard Ngeno led for much of the race but faded to seventh at the finish.
Throughout the pandemic and against all odds RunCzech has found dozens of creative ways to stage safe, small running events, along with other ways of keeping the running community engaged. But finding an opportunity to stage its signature event—the internationally acclaimed Volkswagen Prague Marathon—has eluded them until now.
Health and public officials feel that moving the race to the autumn will make it possible for RunCzech to safely host a large-scale event, and accommodate the thousands of fans and volunteers who will come out to support the participants on 10 October.
Starting numbers will be in high demand. The capacity of the event will be determined with health and government officials with the priority being runners‘ safety and health. Runners who registered in 2020 will have the option of transferring their registration to 2022.
RunCzech will also stage a bonus event, the Volkswagen Prague Virtual Marathon from 3–31 May, limited to 10,000 participants. Priority will be given to those who entered the Volkswagen Prague Marathon 2020.
The Nagoya Women’s Marathon 2021, the largest women’s marathon in the world, was held on Sunday, 14 March 2021 – the first mass participation road race to be held in Japan since the Covid-19 pandemic started.
From top elite athletes to general runners, a total of 4,704 women runners participated in the race and experience the joy of running on the city streets of Nagoya.
To prevent the spread and transmission of Covid-19, various measures were taken at all event sites throughout the event period. We established the Covid-19 Control Office with medical professionals, local governments of the City of Nagoya and Prefecture of Aichi, and the Japan Association of Athletics Federations (JAAF) within the Marathon Organizing Committee, and formulated and implemented an infection control plan in accordance with the JAAF’s Guidance on Resumption of Road Racing and advice from medical experts and local government officials. We would like to share some of the key measures as below.
- The field was reduced from 22,000 to 11,000 (domestic residents only) at the time of race entry
- An option was given to all registered participants to switch from in-person racing to virtual racing after a state of emergency was declared by the Japanese government in Aichi Prefecture in January 2021.
- The state of emergency was lifted on February 28, 2021, and the Nagoya Women’s Marathon 2021 was held with the 5,000 participants who chose to run the in-person race.
- Runners residing outside Japan were accepted only for the virtual race due to international travel restrictions.
- Wear masks at all times (except for runners during competition)
- Sanitize hands frequently (on arrival, after finish, before and after using the toilet, etc.)
- Check temperature at home and on arrival (Anyone with a fever of 37.5 degrees Celsius or higher are refused participation)
- Monitor, record and submit health condition and body temperature (via a web form) for 7 days prior to race day
- Monitor and report any poor health condition or positive Covid case for 14 days after race day
- Runners must wear masks before start
- Social distancing at the starting blocks (> 1m between runners)
- Gradual start by each starting block
- Covered water at water stations to prevent droplets
- Individually packaged food at refreshment stations and hand sanitization before taking them
- Hand sanitization and face masks distributed after finish
- Social distancing at the dressing area and limited use to 15 minutes.
- All volunteers were provided with face masks, face shields, and portable alcohol disinfectant, as well as additional equipment (e.g., globes) depending where they were assigned.
- Booth setting, flow design, and entry restriction to avoid the ‘Three Cs’: high risk situation of COVID-19 transmission defined by Prime Minister’s Office of Japan and Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare: Crowded places with poor ventilation, Close-contact settings and Confined spaces.
All visitors were required to provide their name, address and contact information via an admission form at the entrance (for contact tracing purposes)
- Establishment of a crisis management plan for potential scenarios
- A private emergency vehicle was stationed for transport of suspected Covid-19 patients
- Public announcements made on TV and in newspapers to discourage cheering and spectating along the roadside
It has been more than two weeks since race day, but thankfully we have not received any report of infection or suspected case as of 29 March. This year’s race was an extremely challenging event to prepare, coordinate and realise. We have deepest and most sincere gratitude for runners who participated and volunteers, sponsors and all the concerned personnel for their support. We wish good health to all and the earliest possible end to the pandemic.
Tuscany Camp is an elite athlete training centre in the hills surrounding Siena. On 28 February a half marathon event was held there in which some world-leading times were set by Felix Kipkoech (59:35) and Lonah Salpeter (1:07:09). On 11 April a similar multi-lap elite-only event will be held to offer athletes a chance to post qualifying times for the Tokyo Olympics.
To give the full title the “European Olympic Marathon Qualification Race – Xiamen Marathon & Tuscany Camp Global Elite Race” will be held on a flat (+/– 10m/lap) 5km lap on roads surrounding the Airport of Ampugnano, in Siena. The event will be delivered under strict sanitary protocols to mitigate any COVID risk.
Pacing will serve multiple objectives aimed at the men’s all-comers Italian record (2 pacers to halfway in 62 mins), a 2:08 time standard, the men’s Olympic qualifying time (2:11:30), 2:22 – 2:24 for the leading woman, a 2:26 time standard and the women’s Olympic qualifying time of 2:29:30.
Top domestic talents entered are Daniele Meucci and Valeria Straneo.
In a fast-becoming-typical elite-only style race on a 12-lap course within the enclosed environment of London’s Kew Gardens Chris Thompson and Stephanie Davis ran within the qualifying time for the Tokyo Olympic Marathon.
Thompson bided his time, lagging behind the early lead group as they went through halfway on 2:09:30 pace, but breezed past them when the pace started to drop after 30km. The 39-year old finished 40 seconds inside the 2:11:30 qualifying time. He joins Callum Hawkins and Ben Connor in the Olympic Team, both of whom had earlier run qualifying times. While Hawkins had already been selected, and acted as a pacemaker in the trial, Connor secured his Olympic place by finishing second in the Kew Gardens trial.
Running strongly in the second half of the race Davis set a personal best with her 2:27:16 time, the only woman to finish inside the qualifying standard of 2:29:30.
The 2021 Fukuoka International Marathon will be the race’s 75th and final edition. The men-only race has been known since the 1960s as one of the fastest courses in the world.
The Japanese Federation (JAAF), which takes charge of the event, cited a loss of sponsors and the high cost of producing the television broadcast as factors contributing to the discontinuation of the race. The JAAF plans to make an official announcement soon.
Translator’s note: Following the end of the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon last month Fukuoka International is the last of the purely elite-only men’s marathons left in Japan. Lake Biwa will be incorporated in name into the Osaka Marathon starting next year, like the Tokyo International Marathon was incorporated into the current Tokyo Marathon in 2007. The Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon remains but opened up to mass-participation runners and women years ago.
On the women’s side the Nagoya International Women’s Marathon likewise opened up to mass-participation runners years ago, rebranding itself as the Nagoya Women’s Marathon. The Tokyo International Women’s Marathon was pushed out by the Tokyo Marathon, relocating to Yokohama before being pushed out again by the mass-participation Yokohama Marathon and relocating to Saitama before being discontinued last year.
Fukuoka’s passage means that January’s Osaka International Women’s Marathon will be the last-remaining race in Japan’s once-proud circuit of elite-only races. With the Osaka Marathon moving to the end of February next year, four weeks after Osaka International’s traditional date, it’s hard not to see the writing on the wall.
The Marine Corps Marathon Organization (MCMO) has launched the Four Star Diplomat program under which applications to participate as a social media influencer will be accepted.
Diplomats must be enthusiastic about running, proud to participate in MCMO events and identify with the Organization’s mission to promote physical fitness, community goodwill and showcase the organizational skills of the Marine Corps.
The MCMO will collaborate with a select team of runners to be designated as “Four Star Diplomats” to promote a healthy and active lifestyle through fun, authentic and inspiring social media content that shines the spotlight on MCMO events and the Diplomat’s personal passion for running.
To be considered for this volunteer role, MCMO Diplomats must be over 18 and able to commit to the program from 1 April – 31 December 2021.
Applications will be accepted through 31 March 2021 at www.marinemarathon.com.
Diplomats will receive exclusive access programming, special swag and more.
The MCMO thrives on its diverse and inclusive community of participants. Diplomat Influencers are not required to have any military background or affiliation or any particular running accolades. The program will include runners selected from the applicant pool boasting different running journeys, experiences and complementary set of skills such as: content creation (photography/videography), community outreach, social following, road race participation, etc.
The 16th N Kolay Istanbul Half Marathon will take place as scheduled on 4 April 2021 with numbers limited to 4000 runners.
A strong field of elite athletes including Kibiwott Kandie, Geoffrey Kamworor, Brigid Kosgei and Yalemzerf Yehualaw are confirmed to run the race.
Corresponding virtual races are being staged. On 27–28 March Turkey’s highest participation virtual event will take place offering distances of half marathon 5km, 10km and 15km.
On 8 November last year, while most marathons were cancelled or only for a small group of elite athletes, the 42nd edition of the N Kolay Istanbul Marathon went ahead with a completely different start and finish area and on a course radically changed to meet the threat of the pandemic. 4000 runners took part in that race.
The Moscow Marathon (RUS) will take place on Sun 26 September 2021, not Sun 19 September 2021 as previously published.
Despite freezing and windy conditions Simon Boch ran a strong debut marathon at the Itelligence Citylauf Invitational in Dresden on 21 March. The German winner clocked 2:10:48 – inside the Olympic qualifying standard. Poland’s Anna Bankowska took the women’s race in 2:31:16.
In the half marathon Fabienne Schlumpf broke the Swiss record with a time of 1:08:27 while Germany’s Richard Ringer won a highly contested men’s race with 1:01:33. Richard Douma of the Netherlands and Katharina Steinruck of Germany were the winners of the 10km races with times of 28:55 and 31:59.
The Itelligence Citylauf Invitational was an elite-only race staged on a 2500m lap in a large park area in Dresden. It was organized by “Laufszene Events” and Berlin’s elite road running management ISS of Christoph Kopp.
With temperatures little above freezing point and a considerable head wind on the back straight of the course conditions were not easy for the runners. But it became worse for Simon Boch, when his sole pacemaker dropped out early around 12.5km. Training partner Tim Ramdane Cherif was supposed to lead the debutant until 25km. After an initial 10km split time of 30:34 Boch was able to hold on to the pace as planned during the first half. He reached halfway 1:04:36. Despite his courageous race the 26-year old, who had improved his half marathon PB to 1:01:36 at last year’s World Half Marathon Championships, did slow during the second half.
Boch was the only one to break the Olympic qualifying standard of 2:11:30. Behind him two more debutants took second and third: Belgium’s Soufiane Bouchikhi ran 2:12:39 and Tom Hendrikse finished in 2:13:03.
“My goal was to run 2:09. However I could not have done any better in these conditions. It was extremely tough. Regarding the Olympics I now have to wait and see what happens in Hamburg,“ said Boch, who currently is in third position in the race for the three Olympic places.
In the women’s race Polish runners Anna Bankowska and Aleksandra Brzezinska were on course to break the Olympic qualifying standard. Bankowska then moved ahead around 25 k mark. But both women slowed. While they clocked personal bests of 2:31:16 and 2:34:24 respectively they missed the qualifying time of 2:29:30. Germany’s Miriam Dattke had to withdraw at short notice due to a muscle injury.
Richard Ringer could be in a position to retake third spot in the German Olympic qualifying race when he will run the elite-only marathon in Hamburg scheduled for 11 April. He won the half marathon which boasted a fine European field. In a tight race with the first ten finishing within 32 seconds Ringer had the best finishing kick. He clocked a personal best of 1:01:33 to deny debutant Nils Voigt (1:01:35) and fellow German Amanal Petros. The German marathon record holder ran 1:01:37. Belgium’s European Marathon Champion Koen Naert and Norway’s Sondre Moen followed with 1:01:38 and 1:01:42. Apart from Moen all of the first ten clocked personal bets. "It is a pity that it was that cold. I tried to run a faster pace but when no-one followed it made no sense,“ said Richard Ringer who feels confident regarding the Hamburg Marathon. “My goal will be to run sub 2:10.”
Defying the conditions Fabienne Schlumpf clocked a Swiss national record, improving her own mark by 11 seconds. Preparing for her marathon debut in Bern on 3 April she ran 1:08:27. Schlumpf was well ahead of second-placed Domenika Mayer, who broke 70 minutes for the first time (1:09:52). Mekdes Woldu of Eritrea followed in third with 1:00:50.
“I am used to running in cold conditions so I was not too bothered by the weather“ said Schlumpf, who will target the Olympic marathon qualifying time next month.
Katharina Steinruck, who is targeting the Hamburg Marathon, won the 10km race in a personal best of 31:59. She edged out Sweden’s Sarah Lahti who was given the same time.
The organisers of the Tokyo Marathon held a special board meeting 19 March to discuss plans for staging this year’s race on 17 October.
As a measure to combat the spread of the coronavirus, the decision was made to reduce the field size from 38,000 to 25,000 participants. The race’s slogan will be “The Day When Tokyo Once Again Becomes One.” Entries will be open March 22 to 31.
Rough guidelines were also established for the process by which the final decision on whether the race can go ahead will be made. If a state of emergency is declared within a month prior to the marathon, it will be cancelled at that time. “Holding a safe and secure event is our number one priority,” commented an official. International entries will be accepted.
Because the 2020 edition of the race was held with only elite athletes, mass-participation runners were given the option of transferring their entries to either the 2021 or 2022 editions. Roughly 7000 people opted to run 2021, meaning about 18,000 further entries will be accepted. Part of the course will be changed, and there will also be an uncertified 10.7km run.
This year’s Tokyo Marathon was originally scheduled for 7 March, but amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis organisers decided last October to postpone it, prioritising holding it close to its usual capacity over holding it on-schedule with a drastically reduced field again. Because Tokyo was rescheduled for October when elite marathons are scheduled to take place around the world and Japanese athletes are in the middle of ekiden season, it is expected that there will be problems with attracting elite athletes from abroad and within Japan. Race director Tadaki Hayano commented, “With the Paris Olympics on the horizon I hope that young athletes and newcomers will come into sight.” With Kengo Suzuki having set a new men’s national record at the Lake Biwa Marathon last month at age 25, hopes are high for a race where the next generation will shine.
The Ethiopian Athletics Association has decided at short notice to select the team for the Olympic Marathon on the basis of ‘first three past the post’ in a trial race in Hawassa, 260km south of Addis Ababa and at considerably lower altitude (1700m).
The Hawassa Half Marathon, an AIMS member event, has been run in the city since 2011 and this course would form the basis of any trial event.
Almost all of the top Ethiopians are said to be ‘committed’ to competing, although Tirunesh Dibaba is currently scheduled to take part in the Hamburg Elite Marathon on 11 April.
The provisional men’s list includes Kenenisa Bekele, 2020 London Marathon winner Shura Kitata and Mosinet Geremew, Berhanu Legesse, Sisay Lemma, Lelisa Desisa and Mule Wasihun.
In the women’s race Ababel Yeshaneh, Birhane Dibaba, Mare Dibaba and Tirunesh Dibaba line up alongside Zeineba Yimer, Roza Dereje, Ruti Aga and Ashete Bekere.
The World Athletics Council has approved the reinstatement of the Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) programme for clean athletes from Russia which will commence in time for the 2021 outdoor competition season.
The Russian Taskforce Report, with two amendments from the Council which are listed below, states that for the remainder of 2021, no more than 10 Russian athletes will be granted eligibility to compete as ANA athletes at any championship competition, including the Tokyo Olympic Games, World Athletics Series events and the 2021 European U23 Championships.
The Russian Federation (RusAF) may choose which 10 athletes are able to compete from those who have been granted ANA status, but it must prioritise the selection of athletes who are in the International Registered Testing Pool.
There is no cap on the number of Russian athletes who may compete at other international competitions, provided they have ANA status.
Russian athletes in the under 15 age group may continue to compete in under 15 international competitions as neutral athletes without applying to the Doping Review Board.
However, these provisions may be revoked at any time if World Athletics’ Russia Taskforce advises that satisfactory progress is not being made against the milestones and Key Performance Indicators set out in the Reinstatement Plan.
The World Athletics Council will review the ANA programme at its final meeting in 2021 to determine if it should be renewed or revised for international competition in 2022.
As precautionary hygiene measures the event had not been announced in advance and was limited to an elite field of a 20 male runners and one female, Lonah Saltpeter.
Along with three pacemakers a 10-man group reached 10km in 30:40 where two of the pacers withdrew. The group reached halfway in 1:04:06 and it was only after 30km (1:31:37) that they split up as Maru Teferi, together with Girmaw Amare and Godachaw Belachaw, broke away.
The three of them had a lead of 25 seconds at 40km and this increased dramatically in the final kilometre as victory was fiercely contested. Teferi ran 6:17 for the final 2195m to win the race in 2:07:44, a Europe-leading time foor 2021. Teferi came to Israel from Ethiopia as a 14-year-old and has recently increased his level of performance considerably. Close behind him the two marathon debutants Girmaw Amare and Godadaw Belachew finished in 2:07:50 and 2:07:54 respectively.
Lonah Salpeter was the only female participant to complete a successful test run over the full marathon distance. She passed 10km in 33:53 and halfway in 1:11:31 and recorded a negative split of 1:11:06 for the second half. Her final time was 2:22:37, third fastest of the season and a Europe-leading time.
Former Dutch national road running coach Wim Verhoorn, who was a Board member of AIMS from 1997–2007, passed away on the evening of 16 March at the age of 79. Verhoorn was KNAU national coach from 1981–1990 and was one of the great promoters of road running from 1980–2000.
He played leading roles in major running events such as the City- Pier-City [half marathon] and the Enschede Marathon which both became members of AIMS. Working with the Twente authorities he brought the 11th World Congress of AIMS to Enschede in June 1997.
Asics Global Sport Marketing Manager for Track & Field, Jacques Valentin, writes:
“Wim started to get involved with running when the ultrarunner Jan Knippenberg asked him to coach him. I lived in the next village to Wim and rode my bike to his house in Hoek van Holland to asked him to help coach me at the beginning of my running career. We started a relationship, as a coach and as a friend, that lasted until his passing.
“He became my mentor and he taught me always to think out of the box. His passion and creativity were key drivers. More and more he became involved with other runners on all levels including well known singers, politicians, captains of industry and members of our Royal Family. While he was national coach he guided Gerard Nijboer to the European title in Athens in 1982.
“He was a visionary and quickly saw the potential of women’s running, running tourism and coaching platforms to grow the sport.
“His main passion was travelling the world bringing runners to events and expanding his unbelievable network. He had this great ability and the character to open doors everywhere. He received a royal decoration for his great contribution in promoting running in the Netherlands.”
Wim Verhoorn visited the “AIMS Marathon Museum of Running” in Berlin (now ‘Marathoneum’) several times, always arriving with luggage from his numerous trips to running events all over the world. He brought back souvenirs of all kinds which he donated as exhibits for the museum.
SEGAS (the Hellenic Athletics Federation) and the City of Athens have announced that the 2021 Athens Half Marathon event will be staged on 23 May.
This decision regarding the staging of the Athens Half Marathon event in late May, and not during the third weekend of March as usual, was taken after detailed study of all sanitary parameters and factors that are changing daily, taking into account already announced competition timings for 2021, and with priority to public health and the health of the event’s participants.
In case the conditions related to the covid-19 pandemic in Greece do not allow, even then, the staging of the 2021 Athens Half Marathon on 23 May – something we surely pray not – the 2021 Athens Half Marathon will definitely be held on 12 September, two months before the usual date of Athens Marathon. The Authentic.
The Nagoya Women’s Marathon 2021 went ahead as scheduled on Sunday 14 March. The World Athletics Platinum Label road race and the largest women’s marathon in the world was the first mass participation distance race to be held in Japan since the Covid-19 pandemic started. Despite the unfavourably strong wind 4704 women, from top elite athletes to general runners, participated in the race through the streets of Nagoya.
Mizuki Matsuda, a reserve for Japan’s marathon team for the Tokyo Olympic Games, headed the race throughout and won her first victory in the race in 2:21:51. 4650 finishers filled the venue with smiling faces when they received the Tiffany & Co.’s event-exclusive finisher pendant, known as the symbol of the Nagoya Women’s Marathon.
A total of 15,000 personnel were involved in the event, including runners, volunteers, medical professionals, race officials and staff. To act in best practice to seek to ensure everyone’s health and safety, we the organizers took all possible measures against Covid-19 throughout the event period. Our event would have not been possible without each and everyone’s support and cooperation. It gives us greater joy than anything else that we were able to stage the event, at a time of great challenge for all, with all suitable precautions delivered.
Alongside the in-person race, a global virtual race has also started in which the participants may run the race anytime and anywhere before the event ends on 30 April 2021.
The Nagoya Women’s Marathon 2021 was held in the ‘new normal’ style and made a ‘new start’ thanks to all parties concerned. The Covid-19 infection status still requires caution, but the 2022 race is expected to be on the usual scale, enabled by vaccinations becoming available around the world so that the pandemic ends as soon as possible.
Despite the positive evolution of the pandemic situation in Portugal, delay in the vaccination process led the Maratona Clube de Portugal, the health authorities and the official event partners, to review the calendar of events organized by the club, namely the “EDP Lisbon Half Marathon”, “Vodafone 10K” and “5K Women Race – EDP Lisboa, a Mulher e a Vida”.
Current calendar for 2021:
12 September – 5K Women Race – EDP Lisboa, a Mulher e a Vida (previously scheduled for 6 June)
17 October – EDP Lisbon Marathon (42K), Luso Half Marathon (21K) and EDP Mini Marathon (8K)
20 November – Vodafone 10K* and Luso 7K (previously scheduled for 11 September)
21 November – EDP Lisbon Half Marathon (21K) (previously scheduled for 12 September)
12 December – EDP Christmas Race (10K)
*Vodafone 10K, formerly Mini Marathon, will take place this year, exceptionally, on a Saturday in order to reduce the number of participants at the start line, on the “25 de Abril” bridge. The Vodafone 10K race will take place on Saturday, 20 November and the EDP Lisbon Half Marathon race, on Sunday, 21 November. The option of separating these two races is a preventive measure, due to the uncertainty of the pandemic situation on the dates of the races. We are positive that at that time, the pandemic will be under control. The organisation will make all efforts to guarantee a safe race to all runners and staff. In 2022 both races will take place again together, on the same day.
The dimension and popularity of the EDP Lisbon Half Marathon deserves our utmost care in terms of planning and organisation of the event. “Vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel, I hope that we will soon return to a “close to normal” situation" said the Maratona Clube president, Carlos Moia. “The rate of vaccination varies from country to country, so the new dates give us more guarantees and security to accommodate international runners registered for our races. The EDP Lisbon Half Marathon brings thousands of foreign runners to Portugal and we are also thinking about them.”
Currently all the signs and predictions are good for the second half of the year: increased vaccination rate in the populations, low incidence in late summer, better weather and widely available testing allows the organisers of the Volksbank-Münster-Marathon to be confident that the 19th edition of the popular marathon will be able to take place on 12 September as planned.
The entire environment of the race is favourable – it is an ideal mix of city and countryside. The route takes the participants through the Old Town and quickly into the green belt, the long promenade which encircles the city, and finally passes the quarters Nienberge, Roxel and Gievenbeck. This allows for a generous spacing between runners and also between spectators.
The new promotional t-shirt has been designed, which carries the motto of this year’s marathon: “Volksbank-Münster-Marathon – Deine Best(e) Zeit” (Your best time). Although the shirts have not been delivered yet, there are already pre-orders from enthusiastic runners.
The number of registrations has increased in the last few weeks – for the marathon, the 6km health run or the 10km charity run. The relay is already completely sold out. The date of opening of the registration portal for the kids’ marathon will be announced shortly.
The Nagoya Women’s Marathon is delighted to announce that the Nagoya Women’s Marathon 2021 will be staged in Nagoya city, Japan on Sunday, March 14, 2021 as planned.
Launched in 2012, the Nagoya Women’s Marathon is the world’s largest women’s marathon and is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year after having hosted a total of 160,000 women runners under the theme ‘the day women play the starring role’. The event is known for the exclusive Tiffany & Co. finisher pendant presented to each runner who crossed the finish line and has enjoyed popularity among women runners around the world for producing countless smiles and emotional moments.
Nagoya has been awarded a World Athletics Platinum label, the highest ranking in the World Athletics’ classification system for road races and is the first ever event to hold the world record of the largest women’s marathon of all time certified by Guinness World Records.
Due to the global pandemic of COVID-19, the number of participants was halved from the past years from 22,000 to 11,000 at the time of race entry. Considering the further infection status in Japan, the marathon decided to accept requests from the registered entrants who wished to switch their entry to a virtual race, the Nagoya Women’s Online Marathon 2021, which in the end made the in-person race an event of 5,000 participants. Although it was a hard decision to make, Nagoya accepts overseas runners only in the virtual race this year.
The organizers are committed to take all possible measures against infection to hold the safest and most secure event possible for participating runners, volunteers and all concerned. The event’s infection control plan was determined in accordance with the Japan Association of Athletics Federations’ Guidance on Resumption of Road Racing and following advice of medical professionals and local government officials. The plan mandates all parties to wear masks (except for runners during competition), sanitize hands, have temperature checked, and monitor health conditions for 7 days prior to and 14 days after race day. The event will also practice physical distancing with enlarged space per person and reduced capacity of the event areas, supply covered water and packed food at refreshment stations, and station private emergency vehicles for suspected infection cases.
Nagoya will be the first mass participation distance race to be held in Japan since the coronavirus started to spread. Even on a global level, it will be the first World Athletics Platinum label road race to be held in person with both elite and non-elite runners on this scale.
The Nagoya Women’s Marathon 2021, to be held in the ‘new normal’ way this weekend, will serve as a ‘new start’ and pave the way for the return of full-scale marathon races in the future.
Teddy Okamura, Race Director of the Nagoya Women’s Marathon comments: “To fulfill our responsibility as a World Athletics Platinum label road race and a stage for athletes to compete and go to larger international competitions, we have spent a long time in examining how we could ensure safe and secure participation of runners, volunteers and all parties involved. By taking every possible precaution at the ‘new normal’ Nagoya Women’s Marathon 2021, we hope to make a ‘new start’ for the future with all concerned parties.”
62-year old Mariko Yugeta plans to beat her own world record in the Nagoya Women’s Marathon on 14 March.
See Brett Larner’s interview with her in Runner’s World magazine:
In the third edition of the ‘out of the woods’ Berlin 10km Invitational Daniel Ebenyo (KEN) set a world leading time of 27:50.
In the elite-only race, which took place on a flat pendulum course in the southeast of the city without spectators and under strict hygiene conditions, around 125 athletes were divided into several races. Because Ebenyo missed his start in the A race by a few seconds Samuel Fitwi (GER) was the fastest runner in the world for around an hour, with a time of 28.00. The previous fastest was 28:20, set at altitude in Addis Ababa by Abe Gashahun in January.
Miriam Dattke won the women’s race with a personal best of 31:38 minutes which is also a world leading time. She finished ahead of Bojana Bjeljac, who set a Croatian national record with 32:12, and Laura Hottentrott. Dattke became the fourth fastest German runner of all time over 10km. The Australian Lisa Weightman held the fastest time of the year so far with 31:50.
Daniel Ebenyo finally started in the C run and won it by over two minutes.
The Marine Corps Marathon Organization (MCMO) has announced that registration for the 46th Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) opens on Wednesday 10 March at 12.00 Eastern Time.
At the moment the 2021 MCM Weekend is scheduled as a virtual event with runners from across the country participating in the MCM, MCM50K or MCM10K between 1 October and 11 November. Runners registered for the virtual event will have the first option to participate in any event that is ultimately approved to host a live, in-person version in October in accordance with local guidelines.
The organisers of the Nagoya Women’s Marathon on 14 March have announced that Ayuko Suzuki, a member of Japan’s marathon team for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, has withdrawn due to inflammation of a tendon in her left leg.
Nagoya was to be Suzuki’s first marathon since finishing second at the Marathon Grand Championship Olympic trials race in September 2019. Suzuki suffered injury last year as well but was able to run the 5th Stage at November’s National Corporate Women’s Ekiden, helping her team to a second national title.
Translator’s note: The other two members of the Tokyo Olympics women’s marathon squad, trials winner Honami Maeda and women-only marathon NR holder Mao Ichiyama both ran Osaka in January. On the men’s side trials winner Shogo Nakamura withdrew from last weekend’s Lake Biwa Marathon with injury and second-placer Yuma Hattori withdrew from December’s Fukuoka International Marathon. Third team member Suguru Osako hasn’t run a marathon since breaking the national record at last March’s Tokyo Marathon.
AIMS Distance Running magazine and aims-worldrunning.org has reached an editorial relationship with Brett Larner, the founder and editor of Japan Running News.
Japan Running News is the world’s only website (www.japanrunningnews.blogspot.com) focusing on English-language news and information about the Japanese long-distance running scene. Larner himself is also a World Athletics-authorised Athletes’ Representative and has lived in Tokyo since 1997. He has written features for print magazines worldwide including Runner’s World and Running Times as well as for websites such as Podium Runner and World Athletics. Larner has been the announcer for the Tokyo Marathon’s official worldwide live television broadcast for the last five years and a commentator on the Gold Coast Marathon’s live webcast since 2014.
The JRN site had 1.5million+ views in the 2020 calendar year. The Twitter feed @JRNHeadlines has 12.6K followers, with 2.9K on the secondary feed @JRNLive, used for live race commentary. Postings on the site are regularly linked by most of the world’s leading websites and publications.
Japan has long held huge importance both for the sport of long-distance running in general and for AIMS in particular. Hiroaki Chosa was President of AIMS for 20 years and cultivated the support of Japanese sponsors. In 2020 there were 25 Japanese member races of AIMS. The relationship has now been enhanced through this partnership with Japan Running News.
On 8 March the organising committee of the Hokkaido Sapporo Marathon Festival 2021 formally decided the final details for the event on 5 May which will serve as the test event for the Tokyo Olympics marathons and race walks.
The half marathon will feature a total of around 80 men and women from Japan and abroad including those scheduled to compete in the Olympics, while the 10km will be geared toward mass participation entrants, with a field of 2500.
The 10km will be conducted according to guidelines prepared under the supervision of experts, with coronavirus measures including a one-metre separation between participants. With regard to spectators along the course Yasuo Mori, the event’s deputy director, commented: “If we want people to stay away from the course we have to communicate that to them, so we must make a final decision by the end of March or early April. It’s very important to minimise any concerns or fears the local people may have.”
Online entries for mass participation runners open at 10.00 on 9 March until 15 March. The results of the entry lottery will be announced on 22 March. The Olympic race walks are scheduled for 5-6 August with the marathons set for 7-8 August.
The AIMS Women’s Commission, a worldwide women’s running movement led by AIMS Vice President Martha Morales and President Paco Borao, was launched on International Women’s Day on 8 March 2019 in Nagoya, Japan.
The Commission has recently added four new members:
Charlotte Brookes, National Event Director of the Canada Running Series . With 15 years of event experience, Charlotte directs the planning and production of seven runs in four cities for 70,000 participants annually, including the World Athletics Gold Label Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. In 2017 Charlotte received an Industry Leader Under-40 Award from the National Center for Spectator Sports, Safety and Security along with 10 other major events in the city of Toronto.
Paz Beccar Varela, from Argentina, works as a TV producer for the Pegsa Group. She is a runner, specialist in marketing and communication for various sports brands, and producer of ESPN RUN Latinoamerica. In this role she was involved in the production and broadcasting of the Maraton Internacional de Mar de Plata (2016-2017) and the Maraton de Buenos Aires (2018 -2019).
Li Xiang replaces Shirley Yang, who has changed jobs to work in another division of the Chinese Athletics Federation. Li works as the manager of the CAA’s social activation department (including street runs). She was born in China and studied Hotel Management at Beijing University. Li is responsible for the organisation and marketing of the marathon movement in China.
Lacie Flannery, (USA) is President of Veteran Race Management. She is responsible for all aspects of event organization and corporate development. The company works with the Bank of America Chicago Marathon: Lacie has over 15 years of experience in the running industry, specialising in women’s running. She graduated from Northwestern University, BSJ in Evanston, Illinois.
Founding members of the AIMS Women’s Commission are:
Martha Morales – AIMS Vice President
Paco Borao – AIMS President
Dagmawit Amare – Manager for Strategy and Innovations, Great Ethiopian Run
Inna Chernoblavskaya – Head of the International Department, Moscow Marathon.
Stacey Conley – Athlete, Advocate, Past President, Conley Sports Productions.
Renna Nelis – AIMS PR Manager for Estonia & General Manager & Competition Organizer, Tallinn Marathon.
Tetsuya ‘Teddy’ Okamura – AIMS board member. Race Director of Nagoya Women’s
Alessandra Ramella Pairin – AIMS Continental PR Manager for Europe.
Maria Polyzou – legendary athlete, author and speaker. Maria was the first Greek woman to take part in an Olympic Marathon (Atlanta,1996).
AIMS launches AIMS Instagram account
The AIMS Women’s Commission was created to support Goal 5 of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
AIMS Women’s Commission aims to increase women’s participation in running events around the world by creating the largest international running network built by women. It’s a special place for women to enjoy running and be inspired by it, a network just for women.
“ALL WOMEN CAN RUN” anywhere in the world.
AIMS races are advertised through this network not only as endurance races, but also as the best venues to run a race with with the aim of increasing the participation of women in endurance races.
We invite every woman in the world to start running and share their experiences using our
Visit our website and follow our Instagram account @aims_allwomencanrun
Brett Larner explains: https://www.podiumrunner.com/culture/42-runners-under-210-at-one-japanese-marathon/
The RUNBANGLA Half Marathon (BAN) will take place on Fri 5 November 2021, not Fri 19 November 2021 as previously published.
Following detailed work by World Athletics’ Russia Taskforce, its independent experts, and RusAF, a final plan for the reinstatement of RusAF to membership of World Athletics was recommended to the World Athletics Council last week.
In an email to the World Athletics Council, Taskforce Chairman Rune Andersen wrote: “The Taskforce has now reviewed and provided detailed feedback on three different drafts of the Reinstatement Plan. The three international experts appointed by World Athletics have worked closely with RusAF on the development of the Reinstatement Plan and advised the Taskforce that they believe the Plan is fit for the purpose of embedding in Russian athletics the deep-rooted change in culture that Council has been demanding for the past five years. In addition, although RusAF President Peter Ivanov has been required to step down for two years because of his appointment as a senior official of the Russian Government (to respect the CAS sanctions imposed on Russian Government officials in the WADA/RUSADA compliance case), the international experts also consider that the senior management that Mr Ivanov has put in place will be able to move the Plan forward in his absence, under the temporary leadership of RusAF Vice-President Irina Privalova as Acting President.”
On 28 February Molly Seidel celebrated her surprise Olympic Marathon qualification, won 365 days earlier, by running a solo 1:08:29 half marathon in the Publix Atlanta Marathon Week.
Five weeks earlier she had won in Las Vegas with a 1:09:20 timing. Her run in Atlanta was a new personal best and places her third on the 2021 Half Marathon listings and 8th on the all-time best list of US runners.
Natosha Rogers (USA) shadowed Seidel for the first 7km but then dropped back to give Seidel a runaway win.on the somewhat hilly car racetrack on the outskirts of Atlanta which featured many turns. Seidel complained about the high humidity, but also saw the positive side: the prospect of similar conditions at the Olympic Marathon in Sapporo in August 2021.
[German Road Races]
Tirunesh Dibaba will run her comeback race, after the birth of her second child, in the elite-only NN Mission Marathon Hamburg on 11 April, reports German Road Races.
She is to date the only woman who has won both 5000m and 10,000m Olympic gold medals. After her Olympic 10,000m victory in 2012, she started to concentrate on the Marathon. In 2014 she ran 2:20:35 at the London Marathon. After a baby break she came back in 2016 to win Olympic bronze over 10,000m in Rio de Janeiro.
Hanging on to Mary Keitany – but finally letting go – Dibaba finished second in the 2017 London Marathon in 2:17:56. Six months later she won the Chicago Marathon in 2:18:31 and a year after that she was second in Berlin with 2:18:55.
Due to the birth of her second child Dibaba has not raced in the last two years. “It’s my first competition since Allon was born last year. It’s an important race for me and I’m looking forward to finding out where I am in a racing situation,” she said.
The AIMS member race “Seychelles Eco-Friendly Marathon” takes place on the main island of the Indian Ocean archipelago, Mahé.
It starts in the middle of Victoria, the smallest capital in the world. With temperatures of around 30ºC and 90% humidity there is only one way to run it: slowly.
A Korean national started this marathon. The avid marathon runner, businessman and honorary consul Dong Chang Jeong came up with the idea. The race director Giovanna Rosseau, who before then had hosted triathlon competitions, put his idea into practice.
Giovanna, a squash champion, had the new Seychelles marathon certified by AIMS and grew it to over 1500 participants but maintained a family atmosphere. In 2013 more than 50 German runners took part.
Regardless of whether you run a marathon, half marathon, 10km or 5km – or even walk the latter the route is exotic. After a little sightseeing through the city, with its single traffic light, you are immediately surrounded by nature. You run beside the ocean, in a loop, with fantastic views of the sea or of the flora and fauna of the Vallée de Mai National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
After the race visitors like to admire the giant tortoises or cruise to the neighbouring island of La Digue which is well known as the “wedding island”.
This exotic marathon has kept going year after year but this year the corona pandemic forced the 14th edition, scheduled for 28 February 2021, to be cancelled. “We won’t let ourselves get down,” says Rosseau, who is already looking forward to the next edition on 27 February 2022.
The Italian record for the half marathon was beaten by Eyob Faniel who ran 1:00:07 in the first edition of the Tuscany Camp Half Marathon on 28 February at Siena Ampugnano Airport. Rachid Berradi’s previous record of 1:00:20, set at the Stramilano Half Marathon in 2002, had stood for 19 years.
Faniel had become the Italian marathon record holder a year ago by running 2:07:19 in the Seville Marathon. Before this most recent performance he had been on a month-long training camp at altitude in Kapsabet, Kenya where he was training with the Kenyan winner Felix Kipkoech (59:35) and Alex Kibet (1:00:07), who beat him into third place by a whisker. Faniel made an improvement of 37 seconds over his previous personal best time.
The women’s race was effectively a time trial for the Kenyan-born Israeli Lonah Salpeter who blazed solo to a world-leading time of 1:07:09, passing through 10km in 30:35 and finishing over four minutes ahead of second-placed Sofiia Yaremchuk (Italy) in 1:11:20.
The Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon wrapped up its 76 years as a freestanding event with a bang, a big one, on 28 February in Otsu.
Kengo Suzuki set a sensational new Japanese record of 2:04:56. 15 runners ran under 2:08; 42 under 2:10 and 174 under 2:20. Of the first 50 runners 42 either set personal best times or made their debut.
The race is set to be absorbed into the mass-participation Osaka Marathon as its elite men’s field next year the same way the old Tokyo International Marathon was swallowed whole by the Tokyo Marathon.
Conditions were good: light cloud, 7˚C, 57% humidity and light breezes at the start. 24 of the field had run sub-2:10 in the last three years and 52 sub-2:12. The lead trio of pacers hit almost every split within a couple of seconds of the target 2:58/km and the second group pacers even closer to the 3:00/km target. The shoes were good; across brands.
30 went out on pace to go under the 2:05:29 national record in the first group, with what looked like about a hundred on mid-2:06 pace in the second group. Nature took its course as both groups shed runners until at 25km there were only 12 left up front and a couple of dozen in the second group when most of the pacers stepped off. Then Hiroto Inoue, the second-fastest man in the field at 2:06:54, made a surge. The sole remaining pacer James Rungaru took his time reeling Inoue back in and had just five others still with him when he regained contact 3km later.
Rungaru stopped at 30km as Simon Kariuki took over with five Japanese strung out single-file behind him. Kariuki slowed slightly but even so three of the Japanese, including Inoue, started to lose touch. Suzuki and Hidekazu Hijikata, stayed smooth and calm, right behind Kariuki.
The gaps grew, while the national record seemed to be slipping out of reach. But at 36km Suzuki as they approached the special drinks table Kariuki looked to his left to grab his bottle and Suzuki pulled out from behind him. Immediately there was a 5m gap.
Suzuki had made a similar move near 20km in the Olympic trials race that had helped his senior teammate Shogo Nakamura win. Here he just kept going, hitting each remaining kilometre between 2:51-2:53 as the projected time brought the national record back into sight, then sub-2:05:15, then sub-2:05.
With a final surge in the last 200m of the track he became the first Japanese man to break 2:05. The time beat former world record holder Wilson Kipsang’s course record by 77 seconds and his own best time by 5:30. “I didn’t expect this kind of time at all,” he said post-race. “In my other marathons to date I’ve slowed down in the last part, so the focus today was on finishing hard. I knew that was the right time to make my move.” Still just 25, Suzuki’s career goal is the Paris Olympics. Unluckily for him, the Project Exceed 100 million yen bonus program for a new national record has already run out.
Behind him Hijikata, only 23 and running just his second marathon after a 2:09:50 debut in Tokyo last year, dropped Kariuki for 2nd in 2:06:26. Likewise doing his second marathon after a 2:28:47 debut at Lake Biwa last year, 25-year-old Kyohei Hosoya ran almost perfectly even splits, going through halfway in 1:03:21, to come up from the second group and run down Kariuki, Inoue and others for 3rd in 2:06:35. And behind them the hits kept coming.
With the shoes these days times might not be worth what they used to be, but even if you factor in a couple of minutes this was about as good a demonstration of the sheer depth of quality of the marathon development system in Japan as you could ask for. It was the perfect sendoff for Japan’s oldest marathon before it disappears next year into the maw of Osakan modernity.
The Rhodes Marathon (GRE) has been converted to a virtual event, taking place between Fri 9 April 2021 and Sun 9 May 2021, not Sun 18 April 2021 as previously published.
Next year’s event is planned for 10 April 2022.
Ted Corbitt laid the basis for measurement of road running courses in the USA and was the founding president of NYRR (New York Road Runners. He was black; and many assume he was the first black American endurance runner of historic importance.
Corbitt (1919–2007) was a formidable figure in long-distance running, but he was far from the first – or the only – notable African American long-distance runner. The history of black running in America dates back to at least the 1870s and is both rich and profound.
Gary Corbitt, Ted’s son, has spent years researching and writing about black American running and bringing many untold stories to life. He founded the Ted Corbitt Archive to preserve and highlight some of the amazing and almost forgotten stories of black American runners, coaches, clubs, teams, events, supporters and leaders.
“My dad always told me he wasn’t alone – that there were other great black American long-distance runners,” says Gary. “I didn’t know how rich the story was until I started looking into it myself.”
Using books, articles, and a huge number of primary documents, Gary created “A Black Running History 100 years (1880–1979)” timeline that spanned the century (1880–1979). “The work is not finished yet,” he says. “I have probably captured 75 percent of what is known from this 100-year period.”
He was inspired by a story his father told him about a letter he received from a young black runner. “The runner wrote that he wished he had known about my dad when he was in school and the coaches steered him away from long-distance running and into sprints,” said Gary. “If he’d had a black long-distance runner like my father as a role model, things might have turned out differently. I want today’s young black runners to know that they are part of a rich history and that they have many role models.”
Here are just a few of the highlights from the Chronicle. See tedcorbitt.com for more.
In the late 1870s the most popular sport in the United States – and a few other countries – was pedestrianism: multi-day running and walking competitions over hundreds of miles, often on covered lanes in front of large crowds. Participants came from all walks of life and one of the most successful was a young black runner named Frank Hart (above, left). Born Fred Hichborn in Haiti in 1858 he moved to Boston as a teenager, worked as a grocer, and started running long distance runs to make extra money. He changed his name when he became a professional “walker” (pedestrian).
Hart won the prestigious O’Leary Belt Six Days at Madison Square Garden in 1880 completing an astonishing 565 miles – a world record. The runner-up, William Pegram, was also black. Hart’s success earned him fame and fortune; his image was featured on trading cards (the forerunner of baseball cards) nationwide, and he likely made over USD 100,000 in his lifetime thanks to the legal gambling that was at the heart of the sport and even allowed participants to wager on themselves.
Unfortunately Hart also endured racism, including heckling and physical harassment from viewers and snubs and slurs from his rivals. In the late 1880s baseball – with its rigid racial segregation policy – ousted walking in popularity. As an excellent all-round athlete, Hart joined a “Negro League Team” for a few years.
The spirit of the march (pedestrian) era inspired Ted Corbitt, who ran (and won) many ultra runs, completing 68.9 miles in 24 hours at the age of 82. “My father talked about running 600 miles in six days and walking 100 miles in 24 hours,” said Gary. “These were milestones from the marchers’ days, the meaning of which I only fully understood much later, after his death.”
Several black running clubs in NYC in the early 1900s, including the Salem Crescent Athletic Club, St. Christopher’s Club of NY, and the Smart Set Athletic Club of Brooklyn, showcased the talents of a generation of black runners at sprint to marathon distances.
In 1919, Aaron Morris of the St. Christopher Athletic Club finished sixth in the Boston Marathon in 2:37:13, making him the first known African American to run the race. At the 1920 Boston Marathon, Morris’ teammate Cliff Mitchell finished eighth in 2:41:43. Mitchell finished 13th in Boston in 1921, and another St. Christopher runner, John Goff, finished ninth that year in 2:37:35.
The New York Pioneer Club, which was founded in Harlem in 1936 by trainer Joe Yancey and two other black men, campaigned to give everyone interested and qualified regardless of race a chance. “It was an integrated running team that preceded the integration of professional sport,” says Gary Corbitt. Ted Corbitt joined the Pioneer Club in 1947 and in 1958 he and other members formed the core of the New York Road Runners.
Opportunities for female long-distance runners were few before the early 1970s. NYRR always allowed women as members and in its events, but the Boston Marathon excluded women until 1972, the same year that a women’s 1500m (less than a mile) run was added to the Olympic programme.
In the 1970s Marilyn Bevans of Baltimore emerged as the first competitive modern black American marathon runner. She was the first black American to win a marathon – the Washington Birthday Marathon in Maryland in 1975. She finished fourth in the 1975 Boston Marathon with a time of 2:55:52, making her the first black American to win a marathon run in under three hours. She completed a total of 13 marathons under three hours. Bevans later became a coach and is now in her 70s
This article, authored by Gordon Bakoulis, originally appeared on NYRR.org , the website of New York Road Runners, and is republished with permission. Photo: Gary Corbitt (with permission, NYRR)
The BMW Berlin-Marathon (GER) will take place on Sun 26 September 2021, not Mon 27 September 2021 as previously published.
The Milton Keynes Marathon & Half Marathon (GBR) will be Sat 1 May 2021—Mon 3 May 2021, not Sun 2 May 2021—Mon 3 May 2021 as previously published.
The Ageas Federal Life Insurance New Delhi Marathon (IND) will take place on Sun 7 March 2021, not Sun 21 February 2021 as previously published.
The Ageas Federal Life Insurance Kolkata Full Marathon (IND) will take place on Sun 14 March 2021, not Sun 7 March 2021 as previously published.
Ted Metellus is being promoted from Vice President of Events of the New York Road Runners (NYRR) to become race director of the New York City Marathon.
As such he is the first Black race director of any of the Abbott World Marathon Majors. Former race director Jim Heim stepped down in January.
Organisers of the Comrades Marathon created a “Wall of Honour” back in 1993 as a permanent landmark to commemorate the achievements of the Comrades runners who covered the epic distance between Durban and Pietermaritzburg.
Building the Wall began in 1993 with plaques being available for purchase since 1994. It is constructed from interlocking blocks such as those commonly used for retaining walls. Runners who have successfully completed the Comrades Marathon can acquire their own building blocks to last forever. These are mounted on an attractive badge, which records the name, start number and personal status of the runner, which can be updated in later years.
The plaques are bought by runners, family members or friends on their behalf in order to give them away on special birthdays, anniversaries, Comrades milestones or other occasions. The Wall of Honour memorial pads cost ZAR 550 (EUR 30) per pad. This includes the block, the plaque and the engraving as well as the maintenance and care of the block and the site for posterity.
The wall is situated close to the halfway mark on the Comrades route, just outside Drummond. On a down run it would be on the left as you make your way through the valley of a Thousand Hills.
The stretch of road beside which the Wall of Honour is located is on the municipal boundary alongside PheZulu Game Private Park and has the potential to be extended for many years to come. It forms a retaining wall which now stretches over 200m long. Covered with green and yellow Comrades plaques there are now over 6000 of them, belonging runners who have successfully completed the Comrades at least once. They have placed their names on this wall to commemorate their race achievements. Runners who have earned their Permanent number (run Comrades more than 10 times) have a green plaque while those who have run less than 10 have a yellow plaque.
A runner who already has a plaque on the wall and has achieved their green number, double, triple or quadruple green number, can upgrade their plaque on the wall to reflect their prestigious status as a green number. The upgrade of the badge costs ZAR 275 (EUR 15). Only one block/badge per finisher is allowed. Plaques can be purchased retrospectively.
The first section of the wall is set aside and contains the plaques of former Comrades winners. The Comrades Marathon Association awards these to the winners starting from the first race winner, Bill Rowan, in 1921. On average about 500 runners a year are added to the Wall of Honour. Our virtual events don’t qualify for addition to the Wall.
The Hokkaido Marathon Organizing Committee has decided to suspend the 2021 Games, following its cancellation last year.
Organisers said in a statement on their website:
“This competition is usually held on the last Sunday of August, but this year it is difficult to secure personnel involved in overall management due to the period of the Tokyo Paralympics. [Olympic events] will be held in Sapporo from August 5 to 8. Facilities related to the Games will be set up in Odori Park, which is the venue for the Hokkaido Marathon in the Olympic Marathon and the Paralympic Games, and it will take a long time to restore the original condition. We ask for the understanding and cooperation of runners and related parties.”
Tokyo Olympics men’s marathon trials winner Shogo Nakamura has withdrawn from the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon to be held on 28 February.
Nakamura suffered mild pain in his left foot and, combined with not meeting his training goals last month, decided to take time off before resuming light jogging.
Nakamura said: “Lake Biwa was going to be my first marathon in a long time so I’d been looking forward to it. The pain has already faded, and doesn’t look like it will get in the way of training, but we decided not to risk more serious injury and to withdraw in favour of being ready for the Tokyo Olympics… My first priority is to show up at the Tokyo Olympics ready to race.”
The Nagoya Women’s Marathon, to be held on 14 March, announced the elite field on the same day that vaccinations officially began in Japan. It’s another domestic-only race, but it has a great potential trio up front and looks to be going ahead as a mass-participation race.
Up front are last year’s Osaka International Women’s Marathon winner Mizuki Matsuda, 25 km national record co-holder Sayaka Sato, and Tokyo Olympics marathon team member Ayuko Suzuki. Suzuki is only 9th by recent time, but with a half marathon best of 1:07:55 and this being her first shot at a fast marathon she’s definitely got the potential to stay with Matsuda and Sato.
Nagoya is heavy this year on talent in the first-timer department, Ikumi Fukura coming in top-ranked with a best of 1:09:58 and four others with bests under 71 minutes. Further down the field, 62-year-old Mariko Yugeta will be trying to better the 2:52:13 60+ world record she set in Osaka this year.
Before Corona Nagoya was the largest women-only marathon in the world but last year it was held as an elite-only race. This year it took mass-participation entrants up to a limit of 11,000. Earlier this month Nagoya issued a statement inviting entrants to switch to a virtual race, but at this stage it looks like it will go ahead with an on-site race for every entrant who still wants to run, assuming no extension to the current state of emergency set to expire on 7 March. With every other race in Japan that size having already cancelled or postponed this season, going ahead with its race would put Nagoya in a class of its own and give some much-needed hope that things are actually starting to turn around.
Starting on Wednesday 24 February, MCM Runners Club members have a two-week early-registration window to enter the 46th Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) and the 2021 MCM50K.
Members of the MCM Runners Club – an exclusive group of runners who have finished the MCM five times or more – will be able to register and secure a spot in this year’s MCM and MCM50K prior to the general registration in March.
Currently, the 2021 MCM Weekend is scheduled as a virtual event with the possibility of a live version in October in accordance with local guidelines. Virtual entries are USD 55 (EUR 45) plus a processing fee and are available to runners ages 14 and older at www.marinemarathon.com.
All MCM and MCM50K virtual participants will receive the official event shirt, a stunning finisher medal, patch, socks, digital bib and collectible bib delivered in a branded Mission Accomplished finisher box.
Registration for the virtual 46th MCM and MCM50K opens to the public on Wednesday, March 10 at 17.00 GMT via www.marinemarathon.com. Ambitious runners can once again sign up for the Semper Fidelis Challenge, a two-event challenge including either the Historic Half or the Devil Dog Double in May 2021 and the MCM or the MCM50K in October 2021, as well as the MCM Trifecta.
From April 9 to 11, 2021, runners, inline skaters, wheelchair athletes and hand cyclists are invited to participate in the Virtual Generali Berlin Half Marathon.
This extra event is a completely independent event. It will function as a spring start as well as a bridging event until the real Generali Berlin Half Marathon, which is scheduled for August 22, 2021.
There will be a 10k option in addition to the 21.0975-kilometre event that gives the race its name. With the shorter distance, SCC Events is deliberately catering to runners who may have only found their enjoyment of endurance sports during the current pandemic and now want to face their first challenges.
The 40th anniversary of the Generali Berlin Half Marathon will take place on August 22, 2021. There are only a few starting spots left for this big anniversary event.
The Moonlight Half Marathon (ITA) will take place on Sat 26 June 2021, not Sat 29 May 2021 as previously published.
The Linker Oevert Marathon Antwerp (BEL) will take place on Sun 28 November 2021, not Sun 17 October 2021 as previously published.
The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) has sought to distance itself from inaccurate media speculation that the 100-year-old road running institution is in a perilous financial position.
CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn says, “We would like to correct recent media reports asserting that the Comrades Marathon Association is facing financial hardships with the future of the race being in jeopardy.”
Winn adds, “Quite to the contrary, we are actually in a healthy financial state despite having cancelled two consecutive editions of the Comrades Marathon, owing to Covid-19 and the resultant lockdown and associated restrictions on mass participation sporting events. We hosted a hugely successful inaugural virtual Comrades Marathon event last year with another one planned for the 13th of June; and are in a privileged position to also have a contingency reserve fund of over R28-million, accumulated over the past two decades, to sustain the future of our world-famous event.”
“The CMA is in fact currently in a very healthy financial position thanks to the prudent financial controls of the current Board and the foresight of previous administrations in setting aside funds in anticipation of some future ‘rainy day’.”
Winn concludes, “We would like to put to rest media speculation that the world’s oldest, biggest and most famous ultra-marathon and one of South Africa’s foremost sporting treasures is facing a bleak financial future or on the verge of closing shop. Reference to potential staff retrenchments is premature and unfounded and we are grateful to our staff for coming forward with workable proposals to weather the storm and continue to diligently serve the organisation in the current tough climate in which we find ourselves.”
“The CMA Board’s number one priority is to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of our runners, staff, volunteers, sponsors, stakeholders and fellow South Africans, while our number two priority is to sustain the Comrades Marathon as a national institution that is symbolically and economically critical to the sport of athletics in KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa, for the next 100 years.”
“All that the CMA is effectively and responsibly doing is tightening its purse strings and preserving all possible resources for when it is safe and possible to host the next Comrades Marathon, in line with the green light from our provincial and national athletics federations and in accordance with government regulations.”
With the inaugural Comrades Marathon having been held on 24 May 1921, the Comrades Marathon celebrates 100 years since its first running this year, with the launch of the Comrades Marathon Centenary Celebrations on 24 May and the hosting of the 2nd Comrades Virtual Event on Sunday, 13 June 2021.
As the only game in town for its final running before being swallowed up by the Osaka Marathon’s ambitions, the 76th Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon, to be held on 28 February, has put together the best field in its history.
Times in the last three years don’t mean what they used to, but even so Lake Biwa has two men sub-2:07, 7 sub-2:08, 13 sub-2:09, 25 sub-2:10, 40 sub-2:11 and 53 sub-2:12. All are Japanese except one, Japan-based Kenyan Simon Kariuki.
Among them are 2:06 men Ryu Takaku and Hiroto Inoue, half marathon national record holder Yusuke Ogura, 2019 Fukuoka winner Taku Fujimoto, Tokyo Olympics marathon trials winner Shogo Nakamura, 100 km world record holder Nao Kazami and many more. There are at least another seven men with half marathon bests under 62 minutes making debuts or trying to finish a marathon for the first time.
Lake Biwa results often end up not being as fast as looked likely on paper but with a field like this, and pacers including sub-60 Kenyan James Rungaru and former Komazawa University teammates Kenta Murayama and Shinobu Kubota, it should be on for something good if the weather cooperates. NHK will be broadcasting the whole thing live, nationwide and commercial-free starting at 09.00 local time on the day.
The Almaty Half Marathon (KAZ) will take place on Sun 16 May 2021, not Sun 17 October 2021 as previously published.
The “NN Mission Marathon” will be run on a 10.5km loop in the centre of Hamburg and organised by the “NN Running Team” of Jos Hermens in cooperation with the Hamburg Marathon.
Currently there are very few Olympic qualifying opportunities in the marathon due to the coronavirus pandemic. Last year’s race was postponed from its usual April date to Autumn but, despite offering a comprehensive hygiene plan, organisers were refused permission on the grounds that attendance by spectators would present a severe risk of spreading the virus.
Ten top German runners will attack the Olympic qualifying standards in Hamburg – 2:11:30 (men) and 2:29:30 (women) – but only three places are available. On the men’s start list are two who already have the qualifying time: Hendrik Pfeiffer (2:10:18) and Richard Ringer (2:10:59).
The German marathon record holder Amanal Petros is assured of a place with his time of 2:07:18. The target time in Hamburg will be around 2:10. The situation is similar for the women with Melat Kejeta securing a place due to her 2:23:57 best. Behind her in the race for the Olympic tickets are Deborah Schöneborn (2:26:55), Katharina Steinruck (2:27:26) and Rabea Schöneborn (2:28:42).
The Marine Corps Marathon Organization (MCMO) will be hosting a limited-capacity, in-person, live version of the Marine Corps 17.75km on Saturday 20 March.
It will be held in a new location aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico. The event has previously been hosted in Prince William Forest Park.
Beginning on Tuesday 16 February runners who deferred from the cancelled 2020 event will be invited to opt into the live version, followed by runners registered for the virtual event. Those registered for the virtual 17.75km may opt into the in-person event beginning on Thursday 18 February. Further instructions will be sent to the e-mail address provided by participants during registration within the next few days.
Any remaining entries available for the limited in-person 11.03-mile event will then be opened to the general public on Monday, 22 February
The field of 500 participants will be divided into two social-distanced, separate start times to be held at 08.00 and 10.00.
Virtual 17.75km registration remains open at www.marinemarathon.com. Runners must register before 18 February for an opportunity to opt into the live version. All finishers receive a Tun Tavern-themed shirt, finisher medal and collectible bib.
Australia’s most popular holiday marathon event – the Village Roadshow Theme Parks Gold Coast Marathon – is set to return in 2021 with the announcement that entries will open at 09.00 on Monday 15 February.
Mayor of the City of Gold Coast Tom Tate said it was welcome news for the Gold Coast and Queensland after the event was forced to turn virtual in 2020 in response to COVID-19.
“I’m thrilled to see the event back after the coronavirus-driven loss of the 2020 edition saw the Gold Coast miss out on many million of dollars in economic impact. For over 40 years the marathon and associated events have enticed thousands upon thousands of visitors to escape to the Gold Coast from their colder home climates for an unmatched sports holiday experience. We will miss our international runners this year but by staging a successful event in July the Gold Coast will showcase to the world that we are again open for major events” said Mayor Tate.
Village Roadshow Theme Parks General Manager of Marketing Renee Souter backed today’s announcement.
“We are proud to support this iconic event as naming rights sponsor,” Ms Souter said. “The event showcases the Gold Coast like no other… When the runners and their families come to the Gold Coast they stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, shop in our shopping centres, and of course visit our theme parks.
Events Management Queensland CEO Cameron Hart said: “We have seen other smaller events adapting to the ‘new normal’ of event delivery with tight health regulations, social distancing and other responsible management measures. Subsequently we have developed extensive plans to balance all the health regulations while providing a world class running experience on course.”
“This year we have moved the ASICS Half Marathon from the Sunday to the Saturday to spread our crowd more evenly and we’ve cancelled the usual pre-race check-in centre and expo in favour of mailing out race kits. We have also implemented wave race starts, and we’ll be providing personal protection equipment to the runners.
The 2021 Village Roadshow Theme Parks Gold Coast Marathon will be run on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 July, starting and finishing at the spectacular Southport Broadwater Parklands.
The solidarity race with the Saharawi refugees will be held in a virtual way during the last week of February. Participants will be able to run in their country while supporting the humanitarian project.in support of Western Sahara at this very delicate moment.
The Sahara needs us like never before. At a time when Covid19 has hit the whole world, the Saharawi refugee camps in Tindouf are experiencing an extremely complicated situation in which their precarious living conditions are compounded by the impact of the pandemic and the consequences of the war conflict that has resumed after 30 years of ceasefire.
In these circumstances and given the impossibility of performing the Sahara Marathon in person and with the assistance of runners from all over the world, the organisation of the solidarity race has launched a very special edition with a virtual event. Runners and supporters of the Saharawi cause will be able to participate in the prestigious race through a digital application that will be available once the registration is made (EUR 15 [USD 18]) and that will allow the athletes to run from anywhere in the world.
The Sahara Marathon is a solidarity race organised by the Saharawi Ministry of Youth and Sports and a group of volunteers from different countries. During the last twenty years, the race in the desert has served as a platform to denounce the unjust situation that exists in Western Sahara and to tackle countless solidarity projects in the refugee camps. Thousands of runners from all continents have travelled during this time to the Algerian desert to live the experience provided by this race and to bond with refugee families. In this unique edition of 2021, the objectives of the event remain, although the experience will be different.
Participants will be able to carry out their race during the last week of February. They will be able to choose the most appropriate distance (5, 10, 21 or 42 km) and even run in different distances or repeat the race throughout the week (the best time will be validated). The application also invites runners to upload their videos and messages of solidarity with the Sahara to their social networks. All the money contributed for this solidarity project, as well as the donations or acquisitions of the inscription pack (T-shirt, tubular scarf and bib number), will be used in the Sahara Marathon solidarity project, which on this occasion is about Saharawi families in need of direct help, through the purchase and distribution of a basic food basket bought on site to favour the local economy.
On 26 February, the usual date for holding the marathon in other editions, a race (5, 10 km and children race) will be organised in the Saharawi refugee camps, where Saharawi athletes will participate, with the aim of keeping the spirit of the Sahara Marathon alive . The pandemic has caused significant restrictions to humanitarian aid for the Saharawi refugee camps during the last year, as well as to all the visits of aid workers and people in solidarity with the Saharawi, leading the refugee camps to a humanitarian crisis that is added to the global health crisis,. We therefore invite all regular participants in the Sahara Marathon, as well as all those committed to this cause, to support this alternative project by participating in the virtual race or contributing a small donation via www.saharamarathon.org. As it says on the official race jersey: “The desert wind will spread the Saharawi voice around the world.”
“As professional [race] organisers, we are ready to conduct our events in a safe manner,” says Vienna City Marathon Race Director Wolfgang Konrad. “As Austria’s largest running organiser we are a partner for an optimistic and responsible [solution].”
Sport-Austria President Hans Niessl and environmental doctor Hans-Peter Hutter recently emphasised the importance of sport for health. “It is long overdue to take the next step,” said Hutter at a media meeting that called for club sports to be opened up. A lack of exercise and inactivity lead to negative effects and long-term consequences for physical mental health.
Running events are the greatest motivational driver for people to exercise regularly, to keep fit, to find physical and mental balance and to prevent damage to health. “We understand that stable openings depend on the overall situation. Running events should be in the front row when making a comeback,” says Konrad.
Outdoor active sports events without direct physical contact should be allowed again in a step-by-step plan. A clear regulatory distinction is required from passive events with spectators. Previous Covid-19 regulations have always differentiated events according to whether “marked and assigned seats” are available or not. When it comes to the maximum number of persons, the legislature has thought of spectators, not active participants. This categorisation does not do justice to the character of active sports events. Measures such as rapid tests and clear Covid-19 prevention concepts should enable a step-by-step return to competition.
Organisers conscientiously implement preventative measures
At the Osaka International Women’s Marathon on 31 January 62-year old Mariko Yugeta ran 2:52:13 for 48th place, massively improving her own women’s 60+ world record of 2:56:54.
“It was hard, but I’m glad I could improve my best,” she said.
Yugeta’s training load is incredible. In the summer she runs 800km per month and she typically runs a marathon every month. Her new record was the result of hard work. Where she has had problems with slowing down after 20km in the past, this time that didn’t happen.
But at the same time she experienced fatigue in her build-up to the race, and on 3 January she felt pain in her right gluteus maximus. For two weeks she had acupuncture treatments and went to hot springs to try to take care of the problems. For the race she also used taping, and she was able to run it pain-free.
Yugeta is entered in the Nagoya Women’s Marathon on 14 March. Ever ambitious, she said: “I want to keep my legs in perfect condition and go for 2:50 or 2:51.”
The announcement that the BAA Boston Marathon will be held on 11 October compacts four of the six races that make up the World Marathon Majors series into a period of 15 days.
The full schedule is as follows:
27 September – BMW Berlin Marathon
3 October – Virgin Money London Marathon
10 October – Bank of America Chicago Marathon
11 October – BAA Boston Marathon
17 October – Tokyo Marathon
7 November – TCS New York City Marathon
London, Tokyo and now Boston have all transferred from traditional dates in the spring on the assumption that anti-covid precautions would still be in place in spring and make it impossible to stage mass-participation events.
Mao Ichiyama ran 15 laps of Osaka’s Nagai Park behind a pair of male pacers, right up to the entrance to the track finish, to cross the line in a world-leading 2:21:11. Her time was two minutes short of Mizuki Noguchi’s 2:19:12 national record but clipped 7 seconds off Noguchi’s event record.
Her Tokyo Olympics marathon teammate Honami Maeda was the only other woman to try to go with her, dropping off NR pace before 15km but hanging on for an 18-second PB of 2:23:30 for 2nd with the help of another male pacer who stayed with her right to the start of the track finish. Ichiyama only made it through halfway on NR pace but she did manage to rally in the last few km to get under Noguchi’s event record. Osaka organisers announced that Ichiyama’s mark would be listed as a mixed race record alongside Noguchi’s women-only record.
Next up for both Ichiyama and Maeda marathon-wise is the Tokyo Olympic marathon in Sapporo. In theory, at least.
Yukari Abe and Mao Uesugi ran in the likewise male-paced second group sticking together the whole way on low-2:24 pace before taking 3rd and 4th in big PBs of 2:24:41 and 2:24:52. The debuting Ayumi Hagiwara started in the third group before moving up mid-race to finish 5th in 2:26:15. Reia Iwade (Adidas), who ran a PB of 2:23:52 just under two years ago in Nagoya, dropped out before halfway after starting out with Abe and Uesugi.
Further back, after missing the Osaka qualifying time but making the cut by placing in December’s Osaka 30km 60+ world record holder Mariko Yugeta put in the performance of a lifetime, going from last place at 5km in the field of 71 starters to take 4:41 off her own 60+ world record with a 2:52:13 for 48th among the 61 finishers. Yugeta ran negative splits in her previous world record but this time went through halfway in 1:25:01. Could sub-2:50 be within sight?
Neither Ichiyama nor Maeda seemed especially happy with their results, and despite having an all-star commentary team of Japanese marathon legends including Noguchi, Yoko Shibui, Naoko Takahashi, Masako Chiba, Yuko Arimori and Akemi Masuda, the broadcast seemed to lack energy, amplified by the amount of attention paid to the male pacers. From a broadcast perspective it’s hard to see this kind of paced-time-trial-in-a-park marathon taking off, and from another perspective there’s cause for worry about the future.
Police in Japan are notoriously difficult about road closure permits. Given the relative success today performance-wise – with an event record, five PBs, and a good debut out of the top eight women, what’s to stop the police from questioning why they should issue permits in the future when people can run fast inside a park? If that was to happen, based on today’s showing, it would be a serious blow to the sport’s popularity without a serious reworking of how they approach the broadcast.
The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) has announced that if road races are allowed to take place as part of the Massachusetts reopening plan, the 125th Boston Marathon will be held on Monday, 11 October 2021.
“We announce the 2021 Boston Marathon date with a cautious optimism, understanding full well that we will continue to be guided by science and our continued collaborative work with local, city, state, and public health officials,” said Tom Grilk, President and C.E.O. of the B.A.A. “If we are able to hold an in-person race in October, the safety of participants, volunteers, spectators, and community members will be paramount.”
“Massachusetts continues to fight COVID-19 and distribute vaccines across the Commonwealth, and with brighter days ahead, we are looking forward to getting back to a new normal in 2021,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We will continue to work with local partners and the B.A.A. to monitor the situation and remain hopeful that the 125th Boston Marathon can take place this October.”
“While it was of course the right thing to do, cancelling the 2020 Boston Marathon for the first time in its 124-year history was one of the hardest announcements to make,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “Today, I’m filled with hope, as we set our sights on October for the running of the 125th Boston Marathon. We have a ways to go before we’re out of the woods, but guided by sound judgment and the advice of our public health experts, I am hopeful that we’ll get to enjoy the return of one of Boston’s most storied traditions this fall.”
In celebration of the 125th Boston Marathon, the B.A.A. will also offer a virtual race option. Additional details including field size for the in-person race, registration dates, safety measures and protocols, and participant requirements that will be in place will be forthcoming. The event plan will be pending future approval from the eight cities and towns that comprise the marathon route.
Road races are currently not permitted until Phase 4 of the Massachusetts reopening plan. The Commonwealth reverted to Phase III, step 1 of the reopening plan on 13 December 2020.
Due to increasing infection rates in Japan the number of participants in the 40th Osaka Women’s Marathon on 31 January has been limited to 99 and the traditional course through the city changed to a 2.8km lap (x 15) in Nagai Park followed by the finish in the Yanmar Nagai Stadium.
For the same reasons foreign athletes have not been invited and the focus is entirely on the Japanese elite. Among those running are Mao Ichiyama (JPN) and Honami Maeda (JPN), who have already qualified for their country’s Olympic team at the Marathon Grand Championships. Ichiyama won the Nagoya marathon in 2:20:29 last year, while Maeda won the Olympic qualification in 2:25:15 in September 2019. Her best time of 2:23:48 was second in Osaka in 2018, and in the same year she was seventh in 2:25:23 in the Berlin Marathon.
The organisers plan to attack the national record for the women’s marathon of 2:19:12 (set by Mizuki Noguchi at the 2005 Berlin Marathon). The two top runners, in another departure from tradition, will be paced by a total of six men, including the unattached runner Yuki Kawauchi (JPN) and Juji Iwata (JPN). With personal bests of 2:08:14 and 2:08:45 respectively they are likely to maintain pacing duties until shortly before the stadium entrance.
Entries for the Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon on 28 February closed on 22 January. With most other races cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus crisis Lake Biwa this year received nearly double the normal number of applications for entry.
Putting on the race with such a large field poses problems and prevent the organisation from safely executing all planned coronavirus countermeasures. As a result revised entry standards will be applied based on World Athletics scoring points as follows: 10000m: 30:40; half marathon: 1:07:29; marathon: 2:27:30.
After proof of qualification from each entrant was checked on 25 January notifications were sent to all those who were unable to participate under these new standards. Information regarding refund of entry fees was included. Those eligible to participate will be notified around 5 February, on which date there will be a virtual press conference to announce the elite athlete field.
Further operational changes may become necessary as the situation regarding the virus evolves, said the organisers.
There are multiple reports where people have claimed that Lake Biwa has also rejected all entries from abroad, after initially being open to international participation.
The PolarNight Halfmarathon in Tromsø has been organised every year since 2004 and incorporated distances at 5km, 10km and half marathon. In 2021 the race also included a marathon distance, called the Ishavskraft Marathon.
In Tromsø (350km north of the Arctic Circle) we started the year as usual with the PolarNight Halfmarathon. We usually get 2000 runners from all over the world, which makes it Norway’s biggest winter race. This year’s race on 9 January was special in many ways. Usually anything from a winter wonderland and white puffy snow to icy wind, rain and a slippery surface can present itself. This year there were no snow-covered streets but bare asphalt and a colourful sky. The surrounding arctic scenery provides a spectacular frame and mood for the race. The Northern Lights could be seen in the evenings before and on race day.
While the usual races (half marathon, 10K and 5K) take place in the urban areas of Tromsø, the Ishavskraft Marathon took runners to the secluded outer coastline, where the darkness and the cold and potentially severe climate makes everything much harder. All participants had to have previously run a marathon within four hours. This first edition had a maximum of 50 brave souls who fought their way against wind and darkness to the city centre of Tromsø. Magnus Warvik was the first to cross the finish line, in 2:48:05. The first woman was Una Bratlie (3:28:12).
The –7ºC and icy 10m/s wind in your face made the PolarNight Halfmarathon far from easy but the bare asphalt brought new records: 4 of them in the half marathon and 10km. Sebastian Conrad Håkansson (1:08:27) and Stian Dahl Sommerseth (1:09:30) crushed the existing half marathon record while Yngvild Kaspersen set a new women’s record of 1:18:43. Erik Lomås ran a new record of 31:31 in the Mørketidsmila (10km).
The ongoing pandemic demanded extraordinary organisation to ensure the safety of participants and volunteers. The field was reduced to around 700, mostly Norwegians and a few foreign runners who work in Norway. Every second of the race was planned to accord with the Covid-19 infection control rules. A maximum of 200 participants per distance was allowed with 25 starting together in small groups. We also extended the timeframe to nine hours instead of the usual four and recruited additional staff to ensure infection control measures and distancing between participants. The supportive onlookers for which our race is famous were banned from the arena in this year’s race. We have to thank all our participants and volunteers who showed an extraordinary discipline and kept distance at all times.
Excited runners gave us positive feedback: that they felt completely safe and enjoyed the break from the tough times we are experiencing right now. The race was not organised for profit but for the love of running and competing. Our aim was to provide a safe event for everyone. It was a positive start in the new year that gives us hope and energy for 2021.
Quebec Running Events Corporation and Gestev have opened registration for two landmark events on the Je Cours Qc running calendar.
The Lévis Half-Marathon will be held as a two-day event this year and moved to later in the season than usual, the weekend of 28–29 August. And the flagship Beneva Quebec City Marathon, a healthy invitation from Brunet, is on the calendar as planned for 1–3 October 2021.
“We conducted a feasibility review for each and every one of our races,” said executive event producer for Gestev, Marianne Pelchat. “Our findings showed that as things stand, it’s feasible for us to present two of the events on our regular calendar safely in 2021 if the public health guidelines will allow. We’re confident that by 2022, we’ll be able to present a full calendar of five races again as usual.” If it is not possible to hold [the other] events in 2021, all registered participants will receive a refund.
As well as moving from May to August this year, the Lévis Half-Marathon will be held over two days instead of one to comply with public health regulations stipulating how many participants are permitted to be in a given place at one time. This change will make it possible to accommodate a maximum of 4,575 entrants for the 21.1K half-marathon, 10K, 5K and 2K Kids Race distances.
A number of changes will be made ahead of the 2021 Beneva Quebec City Marathon to comply with public health requirements, including a whole new schedule and more staggered starts. “We’re doing everything we can to keep the heart and soul of the marathon running strong,” said Marianne Pelchat. “You’ll find all the races you know and love, everything from the Kids Race to the 5K, 10K, 21.1K half-marathon and the full 42.2K marathon.” Long-running Marathon partner SSQ Insurance recently joined forces with La Capitale. The name of the new entity formed by their mutual merger is Beneva – hence the new name for the flagship event: the Beneva Quebec City Marathon.
The fields for the Ras Al Khamimah Half Marathon continue to go from strength to strength with five-time world champion Geoffrey Kamworor and two-time world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri added to the line-up on 19 February.
Kamworor won in Ras Al Khaimah in 2013 and is one of five former winners in the men’s line-up. He has won three world titles at the half marathon and two at cross country but been out of action for almost a year due to injury. His world half marathon record of 58:01, set in Copenhagen in September 2019, was broken in December by 2020 Ras Al Khaimah winner Kibiwott Kandie, who is also in the field for this year’s race. London marathon winner Shura Kitata, Ethiopian half marathon record-holder Jemal Yimer and 2019 Abu Dhabi Marathon champion Reuben Kiprop Kipyego are among the other new additions to the field.
Along with Kamworor and Kandie, three other former winners – including the joint course record-holders – are in the men’s line-up. 2019 champion Stephen Kiprop and two-time winner Bedan Karoki, who jointly hold the course record at 58:42, will return to Ras Al Khaimah alongside 2015 winner Mosinet Geremew.
They will take on Uganda’s world half marathon champion Jacob Kiplimo, who reduced his PB to 57:37 in Valencia in December, making him the second-fastest man in history for the distance.
Alexander Mutiso, who ran 57:59 in Valencia to move to fourth on the world all-time list, will also be in action in Ras Al Khaimah. Switzerland’s Julien Wanders, Norway’s Sondre Nordstadt Moen and Italian duo Yemaneberhan Crippa and Eyob Faniel complete the line-up.
Obiri, who won world titles at 5000m and cross country in 2019, will be making her half marathon debut. The Kenyan has limited road running experience, but her few outings to date have been promising; she clocked 29:59 for 10km on Madrid’s downhill course at the end of 2018.
World half marathon silver medallist Melat Kejeta of Germany and world marathon bronze medallist Helalia Johannes are the other recent top additions to the field, and they will face a formidable line-up of stars, as previously announced by the organisers.
World marathon champion Ruth Chepngetich, who recently set a half marathon PB of 1:05:06, will make her Ras Al Khaimah debut. Peres Jepchirchir, who won the world half marathon title last October in a women-only world record of 1:05:16, will return to the scene of her 2017 triumph when she set a world record of 1:05:06. The three fastest women in history – world record-holder Ababel Yeshaneh, Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw and marathon world record-holder Brigid Kosgei – will also line up in Ras Al Khaimah.
Yeshaneh and Kosgei have clashed twice to date, both races resulting in world records. Their first duel came at the 2019 Chicago Marathon, which Kosgei won in a world record of 2:14:04 while Yeshaneh placed second in 2:20:51. Just four months later, Yeshaneh levelled the score by winning in Ras Al Khaimah in a world record of 1:04:31. Kosgei was runner-up in 1:04:49, the second-fastest time in history.
Yehualaw, meanwhile, finished third at the recent World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, just a few seconds behind Jepchirchir. Six weeks later, she won the New Delhi Half Marathon in 1:04:46, the second-fastest time in history.
USA’s Sara Hall, who placed second at this year’s London Marathon, and South Africa’s Gerda Steyn are also in the field.
The Race Results Weekly portal looked at how marathons that have been held at least 35 times in the past managed during the coronavirus crisis.
Focusing only on those marathons that took place on a single day (some organisers spread their races over several days – in Richmond, USA, to 15), we find only 12 of them were “saved” after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
97th Košice Peace Marathon
Sunday 4 October, Košice, SVK
Runners at the finish line: 156 men, 23 women
74th Fukuoka International Marathon
Sunday 6 December, Fukuoka, JPN
Runners at the finish line: 67 men, no women
Note: only elite runners who were residents of Japan.
51st Hofu Marathon
Sunday 20 December, Hofu, JPN
Runners at the finish line: 311 men, 38 women
49th Space Coast Marathon
Sunday 29 November, Cocoa, FL, USA
Runners at the finish line: 536
45th Omaha Marathon
Sunday 20 September, Omaha, NE, USA
Runners at the finish line: 299
42nd Istanbul Marathon
Sunday 8 November, Istanbul, TUR
Runners at the finish line: 1475 + 15 elite
40th Maratón Valencia Trinidad Alfonso edp
Sunday 6 December, Valencia, ESP
Runners at the finish line: 87 men, 47 women
Note: 41 men and 20 women met the limit for the coming Tokyo Olympics.
40th Virgin Money London Marathon
Sunday 4 October, London, GBR
Runners at the finish line: 29 elite men,18 women
Note: Organizers further sold 45,000 bib numbers for a virtual marathon.
39th Galaxy Entertainment Macau International Marathon
Sunday 6 December, Macau, MAC
Runners at the finish line: 652 men, 89 women
38th Swiss Alpine Marathon
Sunday 26 July, Davos, SUI
Runners at the finish line: 307 men, 111 women
38th Wizz Air Sofia Marathon
Sunday 11 November, Sofia, BUL
Runners at the finish line: 314 men, 71 women
Sunday, 1 November, Venice, ITA
Runners at the finish line: 3
Note: Only a symbolic run; Eleonora Corradini, Gabriele Gallo and wheelchair racer Alberto Buccoliero.
On the afternoon of Wednesday 28 October 1931 the starter’s gun sounded out in Košice as the runners set off in the 8th edition of the race, which at that time was called the Slovak International Marathon.
No one knew that it would turn out to be one of the most memorable years in the race’s history, thanks to Juan Carlos Zabala, a young Argentinian barely 20 years old. His participation had been arranged in a Vienna hotel by Zabala’s Austrian coach (with Czech roots) Alexander Stirling and Vojtech Bukovský, the founder of the Košice marathon.
Clearly convinced by Zabala’s world record in the 30km run in Vienna on 10 October, Bukovský urged the South American to start in Kosice and did well to convince him. Not only had Zabala never run a marathon before but the cold, inclement weather made him shake like a leaf before the start. The temperature never reached even 6ºC that day. But Zabala surprised everyone. He settled into a fast pace, shed his opponent and knocked nearly 10 minutes off the course record with a time of 2:33:19 – a record that endured for 19 years until the victory of the Swede Leandersson in 1950.
Doubters called on the organisers to learn to keep time better. Zabala shut them up himself when he won the gold medal in Los Angeles the following August in a new Olympic record of 2:31:36.
It was said to have been so foggy that the referees in places wondered whether Zabala had got lost, as they could not believe that he could run so fast. Hurrying from the course to the finish line, they reached him by car perhaps 200m before the finishing tape. Zabala’s stay in Košice, where he tried to break the world record in the one-hour run in a hastily organised race on 8 November, testifies to a calmer pace of life in those times. He didn’t manage it but he remained permanently in the hearts of the people of Košice.
The Gulf Bank 642 Marathon (KUW) will take place on Sat 13 February 2021, not Sat 6 February 2021 as previously published.
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.