Olena Burkovska of Ukraine takes the Kosice Peace Marathon title (Kosice Peace Marathon organisers) © Copyright
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Debutante Burkovska and Chesire take Kosice titles

Kosice, SlovakiaRunning in her Marathon debut, Olena Burkovska of Ukraine set a 2:30:50 course record at the 86th edition of the International Peace Marathon in Kosice, Slovakia, the oldest in 42.2 Km race in Europe. Kenyan Jacob Chesire won the men’s race with a lifetime best of 2:10:59.

Burkovska’s performance sliced 38 seconds from the 2:31:28 record set by Czech Alena Peterkova in 1989, while Chesire, who was alone for the final 20 kilometres of the race and struggled with the wind, produced the third fastest in the history of the race.

In second half, Chesire goes it alone - men’s race

In sunny, but windy conditions the pace was fast at the first five kilometre (14:55) mark, followed by 30:27 at 10 km and 45:51 at 15 km, which was a 2:08:40 pace set forth by Kenyan pacemaker Elijah Tarus. At the half-way mark a sub-2:09 was still possible with a 1:04:18 split. After the 25th kilometre when the pacemakers faded , Chesire took the lead but nobody really helped him.

He was still on sub-2:10 pace at 35 kilometres (1:47:22), with a lead of more than 100 metres but could not increase his pace over the waning stages. He nonetheless managed to finish eight seconds ahead of his previous personal best of 2:11:07 from the 2008 Venice Marathon where he finished second.

“This was a great race for me, unfortunately nobody helped me after 25 km, I was fighting against the wind, otherwise the time would be under 2:10,” said the 27-year-old Chesire, who completed his sixth Marathon and took home 9000 Euros for his effort.

Unkown Ethiopians in their first races outside their country from the Haji Adilo coaching group achieved excellent times and life-time bests. Shume Legese was second in 2:11:36 and Kedir Kassa third 2:11:39. Both boasted of 2:15 and 2:16 career bests from runs at home in Addis Ababa.

Yusuf Songoka of Kenya clocked a solid 2:12:51 for fourth with Ketema Tadesse of Ethiopia fifth in 2:13:28. To complete top six with three Ethiopians and three Kenyans, Wilson Chelal was sixth in 2:14:24. In all cases they produced the best results for positions 2-6 in the history of the race.

The first European across the line was former European junior track medallist Stsiapan Rahautsou of Belarus who debuted with 2:19:39 and finished eighth. Imrich Pastor won his third consecutive title in a row but was not satisfied withhis final time of 2:28:35 for 10th.

Burkovska not surprised with victory in debut- women’s race

In the women’s race four pacesetters tried hard with the pace, reaching 1:15:22 at half-way mark, but after 27 kilometres the 28-year-old Ukrainian debutant Burkovska sped things up. She had a 100 metre lead by 30 kilometres and increased it to 4:09 by the end when she finished unchallenged. Prior to today, she had a 1:15:06 Half Marathon best and for her Kosice was a real breakthrough race.

“I m not too surprised, I was especially preparing for this race.” Said the Kyiv-based Pharmacology student and mother of a five-year-old daughter. “The others were not running consistently today, I really wanted a fast time.” Burkovska , won 10,000 euro in total - more than the men’s winner - and said that she will use it to buy a new flat.

The runner-up was 20-year-old Ethiopian Radiya Adlo Roba who in her fourth Marathon improved her PB to 2:35:00. Third was Kenyan Florence Chepkurui who missed her PB by nearly one minute with 2:36:01.

Fourth and fifth were Ethiopians Amelwork Fikadu (2:37:48) and Dihihinet Damsaw (2:48:03) in their marathon debuts. Slovakian Ingrid Petnuchova was sixth in 2:57:28 and defended her national title from last year. Overall, the race produced the best performances for positions 1-4.

Former Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda finished 151st in an excellent 3:22:08 at age 54 in 24th marathon. The special guest was double Olympic winner Waldemar Cierpinski who also ran a leg in a special promotional relay and promised that he might come back next year and run the full distance at age of 60. Kosice is special for him as he ran here his first international marathon in 1974 and also his last in 1985, but never won.

More than 5000 runners, an event record, competed in all events.

Alfons Juck for the IAAF

Leading Results:

Men -
 1. Jacob Chesire, KEN 2:10:59 PB
 2. Shume Legese, ETH 2:11:36 PB
 3. Kedir Kassa, ETH 2:11:39 PB
 4. Yusuf Songoka, KEN 2:12:51
 5. Ketema Tadesse,ETH 2:13:28
 6. Wilson Chelal, KEN 2:14:24
 7. William Todoo Rotich, KEN 2:17:16
 8. Stsiapan Rahautsou, BLR 2:19:39 (debut)
 9. Petr Pechek, CZE, 2:26:50
10. Imrich Pastor, SVK 2:28:35 (national champion)

Women -
 1. Olena Burkovska, UKR 2:30:50 (debut)
 2. Radiya Adlo, ETH 2:35:00 PB
 3. Florence Chepkurui, KEN 2:36:01
 4. Amelwork Fikadu, ETH 2:37:48 (debut)
 5. Dihihinet Demsew, ETH 2:48:03 (debut)
 6. Ingrid Petnuchova, SVK 2:57:28 (national champion)

Half Marathon:
Men –
 1. Miroslav Vanko, SVK  1:09:53

Women –
 1. Katarina Beresova, SVK  1:17:35