On a cold morning with 12 degrees C at the start and in steady rain which never stopped all through the race, the Intercontinental Istanbul Eurasia Marathon celebrated its 30th anniversary.
Rain and gusty wind did not scare away crowds of recreational runners but it didn’t make things easier for the 50 elite runners, contesting $1,001,000 prize purse. Kasime Adilo Roba, 29, of Ethiopia and Russia’s Nailiya Yulamanova, 28 claimed the overall men’s and women’s titles in 2:11:16 and 2:30:17 respectively.
This year’s marathon was held along a new course exposing more scenic historical sites. Historically, the marathon and the 15km race connect two continents – Europe and Asia. Starting on the Asian side, runners cross the Bosporus and Golden Horn Bridges, pass under the Aqueduct of Valens on the way to Gülhane Park on the Marmara Sea coast, and finish on the European side, at the Hippodrome, one of the oldest race tracks in the world, situated in the historical district - Sultanahmet, famous for ancient monuments and temples, including the 3500-year-old Egyptian Obelisk of Theodosius.
From the starting gun Ethiopia’s Kasime Adilo Roba took charge of a large pack of about 15 runners. By the tenth kilometre the pack thinned to ten runners led by Roba and Kenya’s Josphat Kipkemboi Yego, who passed the mark in 29.53.
This promised to be an Ethiopia versus Kenya duel. Kenya’s Philip Serem closely followed the leaders with Ethiopia’s Siyoum Debele, 33, winner of 2008 Marrakech Marathon with personal best 2:10:48. Lishan Yigezu Fanta of Ethiopia and Kenya’s Augustus Kavutu Mbusya formed a third row, passing two seconds behind the leaders at the 10km mark.
Positions remained unchanged until the half way point at which Yego made a tentative surge forward and went through in 1:04:09, some 5 metres ahead of Roba and Debele. Serem followed forth in 1:04:11, Fanta together with Kenya’s Matthew Kipkorir Segey fell one further second behind.
At the 30th km point Roba headed the pack again, having passed in 1:33:02, with Fanta and Debele falling 5 metres adrift. Serem took the attacking position some 15m behind them, while Moldova’s Iaroslav Musinchi crept from the back trying to catch up with him. Yego fell out of the hunt and passed through the 30km point almost half a minute slower than the leader.
Roba displayed remarkable confidence over the last 12km stretch by making a bold surge to the front and gradually building his lead with no takers coming along to finish in 2:11:16. Runner up Lishan Yigezu Fanta was 21 seconds behind crossing in 2:11:37, while Iaroslav Misinchi came third in 2:11:43 setting a national record of Moldova.
Kenya’s 21-year old Everline Kimwei, who was sixth at the World Road Running Championships in 2007 (1:08:39) and ran her first marathon this year in Mumbai, charged to the front at the starting horn and came through 10km as a solo leader, leaving a large pack of 10 runners over 30 seconds behind.
The rest, having more marathon experience, did not respond to the challenge and steadily stuck to their own pace, which eventually paid off. By the half way point Kimwey slowed down, loosing almost 3 minutes to the new and more experienced leaders - Almaz Megerssa, 26, of Ethiopia and Kenya’s Lenah Jemutai Cheuriyot, 35, who went through in 1:15:41.
Nailya Yulamanova and Mehtap Sizmaz of Turkey followed one second adrift. Some 50 metres behind Russian Yulia Gromova, winner of this year San Diego marathon, and Lilia Yadzhak were fighting against rain and wind.
By the 30km point Yulamanova, winner of the Prague marathon, opened a fifteen-metre lead ahead of Cheuriyot and passed it in 1:46:43. Gromova and Sizmas came 34 seconds later while Yadzhak ran alone almost 200m behind them.
On the last 12km stretch Yulamanova continued building up the gap, while Cheuriyot slowed down and let Gromova, Sizmas and Yadzhak forward. Poland’s Malgorzata Sobanska emerged from behind and pushed to the 5th position behind them, leaving Charioyot in sixth. They finished in the same order. Everline Kimwei crossed way back to take the 18th position.
1.Kasime Adilo Roba ETH 2:11:16
2. Lishan Yigezu Fanta ETH 2:11:37
3. Iaroslav Musinschi MDA 2:11:43
4. Philip Serem KEN 2:13:42
5. Siyoum Debele ETH 2:13:54
6. Josphat Kipkemboi Yego KEN 2:17:13
7. Matthew Kipkorir Sigei KEN 2:18:19
8. Augustus Kavutu Mbusya KEN 2:18:48
9. Bekir Karayel TUR 2:20:38
10. John Katio KEN 2:20:48
11. John Maina Njoroge KEN 2:21:56
1. Nailya Yulamanova RUS 2:30:17
2. Yuliya Gromova RUS 2:31:36
3. Mehtap Sizmaz TUR 2:33:17
4. Liliya Yadzhak RUS 2:35:11
5. Malgorzata Sobanska POL 2:35:32
6. Lenah Jemutai Cheuriyot KEN 2:35:59
7. Shitaye Gemechu ETH 2:36:54
8. Almaz Megerssa ETH 2:39:07
9. Evgeniya Danilova RUS 2:39:51
10.Bahar Dogan TUR 2:40:28
1. Selim Bayrak TUR 43:54
2. Kiprotich Yegon KEN 43:57
3. Bazu Worku ETH 44:11
4. Negash Abede Duks ETH 44:33
1. Luminita Talpos ROU 50:29
2. Lydia Njeri Mathathi KEN 50:43
3. Eyerusalem Kuma ETH 52:03
4. Rachida Khayrutdinova RUS 0:52:31
Yelena Kurdyumova and Sergey Porada for the IAAF