Rain free weather, the best in the last four years, finally helped runners of today’s Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon (17), to set new, long waited, course records. The men’s race was won by Kenya’s Vincent Kiplagat, 26, in 2:10:39 and in the women’s division last year’s runner-up Ashu Kasim, 26, from Ethiopia, claimed victory in 2:27:25.
The Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon is an IAAF Silver Label Race.
Ideal running weather - partly cloudy skies, 17 degrees C at the start, 20C at the finish, no rain, no wind - obviously did not contribute to the performance of defending men’s champion Kasime Adilo Roba who had got used to having a rain shower on the course during his two previous victorious Istanbul Marathons. He failed to win third time in a row, finishing 4th with 2:16:08.
From the gun Kenya’s Vincent Kiplagat led a large pack of runners from Ethiopia and Turkey. Sticking to the old tradition of the Istanbul Marathon of staging Ethiopia versus Kenya contests, Kiplagat and Ethiopia’s Assefa Girma, 24, took the lead by the 5th kilometre and passed it together in 15:41. Five metres behind three more Ethiopian runners followed, Dereje Yadete Woldegiyorgis, 27, defending champion Kasime Adilo Roba, and Shume Hailu.
By the 10km mark Kiplagat was still leading passing in 30:56 with the same pack of Ethiopian runners on the watch, 5 metres behind him, now joined by 20-year old Tilanhu Aliev from Azerbaijan. By 15km the pack started stretching along the course. Woldegiyorgis fell 5m behind Kiplagat and Girma, with Roba another 10 metres from the leader.
At the half point (1:04:22) Woldegiyorgis was back up close and was again with Kiplagat who had his nose in front, with Girma 5 metres behind them, while Roba had fallen out of the hunt totally, dropping back almost 120m.
At the 25km mark the leaders switched places. Now Woldegiyorgis took the lead and Kiplagat and Girma followed 5 metres behind him. Roba was continuing to fall off the pace and was now 230 metres adrift.
The same pack of three passed 30km together in 1:32:10 but by 35km the trio had fallen apart. Kiplagat had made a bold surge forward and passed the marker in 1:47:28 suddenly leaving Woldegiyorgis 50 metres and Girma 150 metres behind.
Kiplagat passed 40km in 2:03:04 still as solo leader, while Woldegiyorgis followed 250 metres behind with Girma more than 600 metres in deficit. With no other takers for the win, Kiplagat continued building his lead and finished with 2:10:39 improving by 21 seconds the previous course record of 2:11:00 set by compatriot David Charuiot in 2007. Woldegiyorgis finished second in 2:11:53.
In women’s elite race, the competition was contested between Ethiopian runners. Russian Galina Yegorova-Saykina then followed, pursued by a group of Turkish runners.
Ethiopia’s Alemitu Abera, 24, took the charge of the race from the start. She passed the 5km mark in 17:18 closely followed by another three Ethiopian runners, defending champion Bizunesh Urgesa, Ashu Kasim and Amane Gobena. Urgesa ran shoulder to shoulder with Abera and Kasim, while Gobena followed 5 metres behind.
They passed 10km in 34:28 by which time Yegorova-Saykina was some 460 metres behind. Abera passed 15 km mark in 51:27 closely followed by Kasim and Gobena but Urgesa fell some 55 metres behind.
At the halfway point Kasim took the lead passing it in 1:12:16 and continued leading to the finish line. Abera and Gobena passed halfway 4 metres behind their compatriot, while Urgesa fell back further, to some 260 metres off their pace.
By the 30km point (1:43:05) Kasim had increased her lead, leaving Gobena almost 200 metres and Abera 300 metres behind.
By the time Kasim passed 35km in 2:00:48, Abera had counter attacked in the battle for the minor positions moving into second place following the leader who now was about 270 metres ahead. Gobena in third was another 200 metres behind.
Kasim passed 40 km in 2:19:12, the others followed in the same order, and feeling the win was already in her pocket she allowed Abera to reduce the gap to 150 metres, crossing the finish line for victory in a new course record 2:27:25. This improved by 56 seconds the previous course record of 2:28:21 set by Russian Madina Bictagirova in 2006.
World XC champion Emily Chebet won the 15km race.
Yelena Kurdyumova and Sergey Porada for the IAAF
1. VINCENT KIPLAGAT KEN 2:10:39
2. DEREJE YADETE WOLDEGIYORGIS ETH 2:11:53
3. ASSEFA GIRMA ETH 2:13:37
4. KASIME ADILO ROBA ETH 2:16:08
5. BEKIR KARAYEL TUR 2:16:40
6. SHUME HAILU ETH 2:18:51
1. ASHU KASIM ETH 2:27:25
2. ALEMITU ABERA ETH 2:27:54
3. AMANE GOBENA ETH 2:32:28
4. BIZUNESH URGESA ETH 2:34:14
5. GALINA YEGOROVA-SAYKINA RUS 2:35:57
6. BAHAR DOGAN TUR 2:37:51
15 KM MEN
1. ABAYNEH AYELE WOLDEGIORGIS ETH 45:43
2. SANG BENARD CHERUIYOT KEN 45:54
3. WORKIHNE TESFA ETH 45:58
15 KM WOMEN
1. EMILY CHEBET KEN 48:44
2. BELAYNESH OLJIRA ETH 49:44
3. MERYEM ERDOGAN TUR 50:12