The $35,000 course record bonus at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon has proven to be a popular discussion point among Ethiopian runners these days as Deressa Chimsa is the latest of his countrymen to enter the IAAF Silver Label Road Race.
The race is set for 20 October and features no less than three athletes who have run faster than Kenneth Mungara’s 2010 course record of 2:07:58 with another handful within a minute of that standard. The depth is something that has race organisers delighted as the race quickly approaches.
Chimsa ran a spectacular 2:05:42 at the 2012 Dubai Marathon and has broken 2:08 five times in the past three years. He is one of only two men in history to have broken 2:07 three times in one season, the other being this year’s London Marathon winner, Tsegaye Kebede.
Two weeks ago Chimsa’s training partner, Seboka Tola, was forced to withdraw from the Toronto race due to an injury and Chimsa was only too pleased to step into the spot. The pair train with the Demadonna Athletics group under coaches Gebeyehu Berihun and Gemedu Dedefo.
“I was looking for a Marathon in late October or the beginning of November but my manager and coaches are always working to do the best for me,” says the 26-year-old Chimsa. And, just in case people were wondering about his preparation, he reports he is ready to chase the Toronto course record.
“My training is going very well. I can’t compare it with other races because they are different seasons, but I prepared well for this season. I dropped out of the 2013 London Marathon because of sickness.
“Of course I know the Toronto course record. I’ll follow the pacemakers.”
Like many of his country’s finest runners, Chimsa’s upbringing under rather difficult conditions sowed the seeds for an impressive running career. Moving to Addis to join the Demadonna Athletics training group has provided the practical impetus for success.
“I grew up in the village of Kore Edo near the city of Holeta Genet,” he says. “My parents are farmers and I have two sisters and three brothers.”
Chimsa has performed well on the world scene since taking up marathon running in 2008. His debut race was in Dubai that year and he finished in 2:10:06. A year later he ran two minutes faster on that same course with a personal best of 2:07:54, then went on to win the 2010 Daegu Marathon.
In addition to running fast Marathons, Chimsa represented his country well at the 2012 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Karvana, Bulgaria, claiming the silver medal in a personal best of 60:51. Then in October of last year he finished second in the Frankfurt Marathon in 2:06:55. It was his third Marathon of the year after his PB performance in Dubai and his 2:06:25 victory in Prague.
Records tend to fall when all the conditions are right. The Toronto course is fast, the field is strong, and several pacemakers have been employed to help attack Mungara’s record. As so often is the case, it will come down to weather conditions. Chimsa can be expected to be at the front of the pack chasing that record.
Paul Gains (organisers) for the IAAF