The oldest marathon in Europe, the International Peace Marathon of Kosice, finally went sub-2:10 today (7), as an unheralded Kenyan William Biama in great solo effort clocked 2:09.53.
The 84th edition of the race fully lived up to expectations with favourable weather, around 13 degrees, with nearly no wind. The total participation was more than 3000 from 40 countries running in the marathon and various support races.
The 22-year-old Biama from the Kalenjin tribe was running only his third marathon, after coming seventh in Dubai and second at Mt.Saint Michel, France earlier this year. Together with the much more experienced Simon Bor, a 2:07:55 (2003) they had already passed the pacemakers (Osman of Poland and Russian Reunkov) by 10km (30:25).
They kept the pace up - 45:20 (15k) and 1:00:32 (20k) - with half way going in 1:03:50, and so the question remained whether they would be able to sustain such a pace. Supported by the Kosice spectators they showed great determination in the second half, and while after 30k Bor faded, Biama still ran well and suddenly not only hopes of breaking the course record of 2:12:35 (Adam Dobrzynski,POL, 2004) started to look realistic, but also the first sub 2:10 ever run on Slovakian soil.
The Kenyan was not to be denied and crossed the line to gave the spectators, who were headed by Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic, an excellent new course record of 2:09:53 which was also a new best for him and a new all-comers record (previous: 2:11:34 Michael Heilmann, GDR, 1988, Nove Mesto nad Vahom), with 18,000euros his reward.
“I did not have any important crisis (during the race), only at the end when I was a little bit cold. Otherwise it was a great race for me, next time I think I can achieve something close to 2:07,“ said Biama, who has been engaged seriously in the sport for the last five years.
Simon Bor, 38, running his 21st marathon, clocked a very respectable 2:12:01 for second place, while third was Russian Lenar Khusnutdinov in 2:15:29, and there were sub-2:20s for two other Kenyans, Matthew Kosgei (2:16:50 PB) and Wilfred Cheserek (2:17:32).
The sixth placer Imrich Pastor got his first Slovakian title (2:21:59).
Belarussian Natalya Kulesh defended her women’s race title from last year and achieved new PB of 2:34:50 which is the fourth fastest in the history of the event. Her first place reward was 6000euros. 2005 race winner Edyta Lewandowska of Poland was second (2:36:58) and Ukrainian Olga Kotovska, with personal best of 2:39:53, beat Valentina Delion of Moldavia who finished fourth (2:45:18).
Former Slovak Prime Minister and current parliament member Mikulas Dzurinda finished his 21st marathon after leg surgery in very solid 3:35:13 (212th overall placing, 49th 50+).
Alfons Juck for the IAAF
1. WIlliam Biama KEN 2:09:53, CR, ACR, PB
2. Simon Bor, KEN 2:12:01
3. Lenar Khusnutdinov,RUS 2:15:29
4. Matthew Kosgei, KEN 2:16:50 PB
5. Wilfred Cheserek,KEN 2:17:32
6. Imrich Pastor, SVK (NC) 2:21:59 PB
7. Taras Salo, UKR 2:22:38
8. Gobeza Ayalew, ETH 2:27:33 PB
DNF - Shem Kororia, KEN – 1997 World Half Marathon champion
1. Natalya Kulesh, BLR 2:34:50 PB
2. Edyta Lewandowska,POL 2:36:58
3. Olga Kotovska, UKR 2:39:53 PB
4. Valentina Delion, MDA 2:45:18
5. Laura McIntyre, CAN 2:57:57
6. Karolina Rakiec, POL 2:59:19
7. Andrea Beresova, SVK 2:59:52
Top all-time results of International Peace Marathon in Kosice
2:09:53 William Biama, KEN, 2007
2:12:01 Simon Bor, KEN, 2007
2:12:35 Adam Dobrzynski, POL, 2004
2:12:40 David Kariuki, KEN, 2002
2:12:53 Adam Dobrzynski, 2002
2:12:54 Edwin Kipchom, KEN 2006
2:13:24 Georgiy Andreyev, RUS, 2003
2:13:27 David Kariuki, 2001
2:13:34.6 Go Chun-Son, PRK, 1978
2:13:35 Myhalo Iveruk, UKR, 2003
2:13:57 Marnix Goegebeur, BEL, 1995
2:14:10 Robert Stefko, SVK, 1999
2:14:11 Wieslaw Palczynski, POL, 1993
2:31:28 Alena Peterkova, TCH, 1989
2:33:52 Rika Tabashi, JPN, 2004
2:34:41 Raisa Sadretdinova, URS, 1983
2:34:50 Natalya Kulesh, BLR, 2007
2:35:33 Valentina Ustinova, URS, 1983
2:36:47 Natalya Kulesh, 2006
2:36:49 Tadelech Birra, ETH, 2002
2:36:55 Galina Zhulieva, UKR, 2001
2:36:58 Edyta Lewandowska,POL, 2007
2:37:00 Sue Harrison, GBR, 2004
2:37:19 Christa Vahlensieck, FRG, 1984
2:37:46 Christa Vahlensieck, 1981
2:37:48 Edyta Lewandowska, 2005