Notch up another victory for the pacemakers, this time in the BLOM Beirut Marathon Sunday morning (7th).
Mohamed Temam of Ethiopia conceded his pacing role shortly after halfway on a bright, sunny, hot morning in the Middle East. But race favourite, his colleague Abere Chane misjudged his effort, and Temam swept past at 40k, going on to win in 2:16:43. Chane came limping in, second in 2:17:30, and James Macharia of Kenya was third in 2:18:20.
Often the unsung heroes of the marathon, providing a springboard for the stars to attack records, there have however been sufficient surprises in the past to convince any pacemaker that, if they feel good enough, they should just keep going.
Such was the case for Temam this morning. Charged with pacing the leaders up to 33 kilometres (of the 42.195k), he was relieved of his duties shortly after halfway in 1:06:01, when debutant Chane decided to strike out by himself.
Chane had run a 1:01:47 ‘half’ earlier this year, and had predicted a 2:10 or 2:11 today. Which meant running a faster second half. But he probably elevated the pace too much on a morning when the direct sun made 22C in the second part of the race seem much hotter.
I wanted to go faster,” said Chane, 25, “but at 37k, this (indicating his hip) started to hurt, and I had to slow down.” But it was probably the switch from an average 3:08 per kilometre to under three minutes that proved his undoing. Temam had said he was going to finish after his pacing duties, and that proved easier than he’d imagined. He merely hitched a ride on Chane’s wake, then picked up the pieces when his colleague fell apart.
Macharia had fallen away at 35k, but still finished a clear third. He made his most decisive move at the victory ceremony. A huge Ethiopian flag was produced for Temam and Chane, and when the latter tried to wrap it around Macharia as well, the Kenyan was having none of it. A firm hand removed it from his shoulders.
Tarekegn fulfills favourite's role - women's race
The women’s race was clearer cut, but another victory for an Ethiopian. Etaferehu Tarekegn played her role perfectly as favourite. She headed a group of three at 30k, when she began to push the pace. At 37k, she was alone, and won in 2:41:15. She had said that the heat would not worry her, but admitted that it made a difference. “It was hot,” she conceded afterwards. Her colleague Mihiret Anamo was second in 2:44:04, and Irina Kazuboskaya of Russia was third.
The organisers had hoped for new records in their eight annual event, and they were rewarded with a national men’s record for Hussein Awadah. He clocked 2:20:31 in seventh place, and took five seconds off his previous record, from Berlin 2008.
But he’s probably still have to concede tomorrow’s front page to Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who demonstrated the contention that the marathon is a cause for unity in Lebanon. Son of Rafik, the former Prime Minister, who was assassinated in 2005, Saad ran the 10k around the streets of the city centre.
Pat Butcher for the IAAF
1. Mohammed TEMAM, ETH 2:16:43
2. Abere CHANE, ETH 2:17:30
3. James MACHARIA, KEN 2:18:20
4. Abere DAGNE, ETH 2:19:38
5. Desalegn TEGEGN, ETH 2:20:11
6. Makash TSEGAYE, ETH 2:20:17
7. Hussein AWADAH, LIB 2.20.31
1. Etaferahu TAREKEGN, ETH 2:41:15
2. Mihiret ANAMO, ETH 2:44:04
3. Irina KAZUBOSKAYA, RUS 2:46:05
4. Carolyne CHEMUTAI, KEN 2:47:56