Christian Pacheco of Peru winning the Pan American Games marathon title in Lima (Getty Images) © Copyright
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Weekend road round-up: Pan-Am marathon double for hosts Peru, course records fall in Liupanshui

Setting what local organisers hope will be the tone for the 18th edition of the Pan American Games, Christian Pacheco and Gladys Tejeda led a gold medal sweep for the host nation Peru in the marathon as the Games kicked off on Saturday in Lima.

Pacheco was in the lead group from the gun, leading the field through the opening half in 1:06:18. Breaking from his final rival by the 35th kilometre, the 26-year-old cruised to the men's title in 2:10:41, clipping 38 seconds from his lifetime best to collect the first major title of his career and smash the Games record of 2:12:43 set by Jorge Gonzalez of Puerto Rico in 1983.

His time was also a Peruvian record, breaking the mark of 2:11:01 set by his brother Raul in 2015.

Pacheco finished 13 seconds clear of Mexico's Jose Luis Santana, who clocked 2:10:54, also a personal best. Further back, Juan Jolel Pacheco was third in 2:12:10 to secure a 2-3 finish for Mexico. Augustus Maiyo of the US clocked 2:12:25 to round out the top four.

Tejeda took the women's title in 2:30:55, with Bethany Sachtleben of the US taking silver in 2:31:20, a lifetime best for the 27-year old. Angie Rocio Orjuela of Colombia was third in 2:32:27 to take the bronze. The top seven women all finished comfortably inside the previous Games record of 2:35:40.

The Pan-American Games athletics programme resumes on 4 August with the men's and women's 20km race walks.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF


Chepngetich claims course record in Bogota

The 20th running of the Media Maratón de Bogotá saw commanding start-to-finish wins by Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia and Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya at the IAAF Gold Label road race on Sunday (28).

Departing seven minutes before the men, Chepngetich, world ranked No.1 in the marathon, immediately took control of the women’s race. Blazing through the first five kilometres well inside course record pace in 16:15, she had already opened a lead of more than 30 seconds.

Although her tempo had to slow, Chepngetich’s lead grew to 97 seconds by the time she reached the finish line in 1:10:39, taking almost a minute off the course record of 1:11:35 set last year by world half marathon champion Netsanet Gudeta. Chepngetich’s time was just 10 seconds outside the event record of 1:10:29 by Susan Chepkemai in 2003 on an easier, point-to-point course.

The battle for second place quickly reduced to Bedatu Hirpa of Ethiopia and Helalia Johannes of Namibia. They stayed together through 12 kilometres before Johannes gradually opened a gap that took her to the second-place finish in 1:12:16 with Hirpa crossing a minute later in 1:13:17.

Tola, the Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist and world marathon silver medallist, was the one pushing the pace from the start of the men’s race. Only Kenya’s John Lotiang stayed with him initially, but by six kilometres Tola was away on his own, and Lotiang was falling back.

By 10 kilometres Tola had a 30-second lead, and he more than doubled that by 15 kilometres, with the clock and Geoffrey Mutai’s course and event record of 1:02:20 his remaining opponent. Tola’s winning time of 1:02:35 fell 15 seconds shy of the record but was still the second fastest ever recorded on the current course.

Slower starting Lawrence Cherono of Kenya, the 2019 Boston Marathon champion, reeled in Lotiang just after 15 kilometres, then went on by to take second place in 1:04:09, 94 seconds behind Tola. Lotiang held on for third in 1:04:45.

Organisers for the IAAF


Chumba and Kipkemboi break course records in Liupanshui

Bahrain’s Eunice Chumba and Kenya’s Robert Kipkemboi bettered the course records at the Liupanshui Summer International Marathon, an IAAF Bronze Label road race, staged under cool and humid conditions on Sunday (28).

The 26-year-old Chumba, the fourth-place finisher at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships Valencia 2018, led virtually from the start to score her convincing victory in 2:32:25, trimming more than four minutes off the course record of 2:36:49 set last year by Kenya’s Naomi Jepkogei Maiyo.

Chumba took pole position in a leading group soon after the gun with only Yetsehay Desalegn of Ethiopia managing to keep up with her pace after five kilometres.

The leading duo continued to widen the gap between them and the chasers, passing 15 kilometres in 54:13, 20 kilometres in 1:12:21 and 25 kilometres in 1:30:16.

After the water tables at 30 kilometres were reached in 1:47:05, Chumba launched a powerful charge and soon cut the binds between her and the 27-year-old Ethiopian.

It was Chumba’s first victory over the classic distance in 20 months after her win at the 2017 Beirut Marathon.

Desalegn finished second in 2:34:47, which is her third consecutive runner-up finish as she also took the second place in Los Angeles and Hangzhou last year. Her compatriot Alemaz Negede, the 2018 Rennes Marathon winner, finished as a remote third finisher in 2:50:30.

The 31-year-old Kipkemboi continued his sound form in 2019, taking his fifth career marathon title four months after improving his personal best to 2:07:09 in Seoul. Kipkemboi’s winning mark of 2:14:58 also beat the 2:16:10 course record set by 2018 winner Kipsaat Mathew of Kenya.

A leading pack of 13 runners paced the race to 10 kilometres in 32:03. The group was cut to 10 men after another five kilometres in 48:11 before being further cut to seven at the halfway point.

Kenya’s David Kipkoech, whose PB of 2:15:47 was set last October in Nairobi, tried to pull away after 25 kilometres but was soon caught by compatriots Kipkemboi, Evans Sambu and Thomas Ekiru. After another two kilometres, Kipkemboi’s effort finally counted as he pulled clear to take the sole lead and never looked back before hitting the finish line.

Kipkoech finished second in 2:16:44, which is the first podium finish in five years for the 35-year-old, while Sambu finish third in 2:17:50.

Vincent Wu for the IAAF