Dejene Yirdawe takes the 2008 Kosice Marathon in 2:10:51 (MMM Kosice) © Copyright
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Yirdaw takes 2:09:13 victory at Gyeongju International Marathon

Today’s 2010 Gyeongju International Marathon, Korea (17) was run in good weather conditions with the temperature at 18 C and sunny skies above. surprisingly in the men’s race many of the top names dropped out before the halfway and in the end there were only three runners fighting for the win with the rest of the field more than six minutes back.

The Gyeongju International Marathon is an IAAF Silver Label Road Race.

The race started with a good pace promising a sub 2:10 finishing time right from the start. Leaders reached 5km in 15:14 and then went for the fastest 5km of the marathon (14:57) passing 10km mark in 30:11. Notably already at this stage several favourites had been dropped way back. The runner with the fastest personal best in the field, 2:07:50, Jimmy Muindi of Kenya was more than a minute off the leaders and the fastest runner this season, Moldovan Iaroslav Musinschi (2:08:32) almost two minutes behind. Also last year’s third placer in this race, Ethiopian Tesfaye Eticha was 30 seconds behind the leaders after 10km.

15km was passed in 45:26 and the leaders reached 20km in 60:46 and the pace was still well under 2:10. After this the pace slowed down considerably for the next 10km which took 30:51 and at 25km (1:16:17) there were seven athletes left in the leading group. As the next 5km in 15:35 was the slowest of the race, no-one was dropped between 25 and 30km.

The crucial decisions in the race were made in the next 5km with Ethiopian Dejene Yirdaw able to open a nine second lead after 35km after making his move at 32km mark.

Moroccan Abdellah Falil and Kenyan Kipchirchir Kimaly followed, but another Kenyan Sammy Kibet had been quickly dropped almost 90 seconds back although he had been in the leading group just 5km earlier. With Kibet fellow Kenyans Kimutai Kiplomo and Kipkemei Mutai also quickly faded and both athletes were unable to finish the race.

Yirdaw held on to his small lead to win by 11 seconds clocking a season’s best 2:09:13, his second career sub-2:10 marathon (PB 2:08:30 in Seoul 2009). 34-year-old Falil set a 2:09:24 personal best in his third marathon to cut a massive three minutes and 13 seconds off his earlier best. Kipchirchir Kimaly also went under 2:10 in 2:09:44, another personal best.

The best Korean in the race was Lee Myong-Seun, who clocked 2:16:19 for fourth place. Kenyan Jacob Chesire was fifth in 2:19:00 and Sammy Kibet lost a lot of ground in the last 10km ending up in sixth place in 2:19:30.

The women’s race was won by 27-year-old Korean Chung Yun-Hee in 2:32:09, the second best time of her career and her best in seven years. The second athlete home in the women's division was more than 16 minutes behind the winner.

Mirko Jalava for the IAAF