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Seoul, KoreaKenyan David Kiyeng and Eun Jung Kim of Korea claimed victories at the JoongAng Seoul Marathon on Sunday. Kiyeng won the men’s race in 2:08:15 while Kim clocked 2:44:25.
Despite the strong men’s elite field of 14 runners at this IAAF Bronze Label Road Race, Kiyeng missed Kenyan Jason Mbote’s course record of 2:08:13 set in 2006 by just two seconds.
Men’s race –
A large pack of 21, led by a quartet of Kenyan pacemakers, took off from the gun. Among the pack were the 33-year-old course record holder Mbote; Kiyeng, who boasts a 2:06:26 career best from the Paris Marathon 2009; Kenyan Charles Munyeki, 24, who was fourth in Chicago last year in 2:07:06); 22-year-old Nicholas Kipruto Koech, who clocked a 2:07:23 in Prague earlier this year; Ethiopian Teferi Wodajo, another sub-2:08 man; and Morocco’s Mohamed El Hachimi.
After climbing a small hill in the fourth kilometre the pack reached the first 5-km checkpoint in 15:10. By 10-Km (30:14) the pack thinned to 17 and remained at the helm through 15 kilometres, reached in 45:36.
The hilly course on the way to the 20-Km (1:01:04) mark reduced the pack to 14 runners with Munyeki, Wodajo, and Korean Hyo-Soo Kim left behind. The hills continued for the next five kilometres dropping three more. By 30-Km (1:31:50) seven remained in contention.
By 40 kilometres (2:02:05), Mbote gave up on his fight to break his own course record, as he now lagged some five metres behind the last remaining four - Kiyeng, El Hachini, Ethiopian Wegayehu Girma Tefera and marathon debutant Stephen Mokoka of South Africa.
The fight for the victory and new course record continued between Kiyeng and El Hachimi until the final metre, with just two seconds separating the pair. Kiyeng clocked 2:08:15 while El Hachimi’s 2:08:17 knocked more than two minutes from his previous personal best. Tefera finished third in 2:08:25, also a personal best. Mokoka was next across the line in 2:08:33, well ahead of Mbote who lagged almost 270 metres behind to finish fifth in 2:09:04.
Women’s race –
The domestic field was thinned dramatically, from the announced 21 to just three. The first five kilometres were passed by the experienced Eun Jung Kim, 27 (PB 2:35:28 at Jeonju Marathon 2006 and 2:37:12 result at Seoul Int’l Marathon 2010) and 19-year old Mi Young Shim in 19:10, already leaving 20-year-old Na-Ri Jin some 150 m behind. It was clear that the current course record of 2:29:32, set in 2007 by Korean Eun-Jung Lee, would not be under threat.
By the 25th kilometre (1:36:00) only two contestants remained – Kim, and Jin, who was lagging more than 900 metres behind. When Kim passed 35 kilometres in 2:15:30, Jin managed to reduce the gap to 170 metres. But Kim still held on to take the win in 2:44:25, with Jin second in 2:46:31.
The race was held on a cool humid morning (10 C) under cloudy sky and mist. More than 13,600 runners from 19 countries toed the start line at Jamsil Main Stadium for this 12th edition of the Marathon with an additional 8,300 setting off on the 10 Km race. It is one of the biggest marathons in Korea and Asia, held on a slightly hilly loop course, passing through some scenic parts of Seoul with roads lined with beautiful autumn-coloured trees. Yelena Kurdyumova and Sergey Porada for the IAAF
Leading results: MEN - 1. David Kemboi Kiyeng, KEN 2:08:15 2. Mohamed El Hachimi, MAR 2:08:17 3. Wegayehu Girma Tefera, ETH 2:08:25 4. Stephen Mokoka, RSA 2:08:33 5. Jason Mbote, KEN 2:09:04 6. Jun-Hueon Hwang, KOR 2:10:43 7. Yusuf Songoka, KEN 2:10:56 8. Jin-Hung Jeong, KOR 2:10:59 9. Abera Ali Dereje, ETH 2:12:34 10. Abebe Negewo, ETH 2:14:09 11. Teferi Wadajo, ETH 2:15:54 12. Charles Munyeki, ETH 2:17:10 13. Hyo Su Kim, KOR 2:18:35 14. Jun Suk Hwang, KOR 2:19:50 15. Norman Dlomo, RSA 2:19:58
WOMEN - 1. Eun Jung Kim, KOR 2:44:25 2. Na-Ri Jin, KOR 2:46:31