So often she had been in the centre of dramatic events in recent years. This time it was again Paula Radcliffe who was given a scare. Leading the New Year’s Eve Race in Madrid suddenly a spectator stepped into her way and accidentally sprayed a streamer right into her mouth. “It was not that bad, I am okay”, Paula Radcliffe later said. The English marathon world record holder continued the race straight away and ran to a convincing win.
“It is nice to end the year with a win”, Paula Radcliffe said. She had won the Flora London Marathon and the World Championship’s Marathon in 2005. In Madrid she covered the 10 k course in 31:16 minutes despite of the incident. Jelena Prokopcuka (Latvia/31:51), the champion of the ING New York City Marathon, was second.
The men’s race was won by Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge in an unofficial time of 27:51 minutes. Again there was an incident caused by the enthusiastic spectators. “Suddenly a big fat woman was in my way and nearly brought me to a halt”, Britains Nick McCormick said. He finished inside the top ten.
Traditionally Sao Paulo provided a spectacular race on New Year’s Eve. Marilson Gomes dos Santos crowned the 81st edition with a homewin. The Brazilian covered the 15 k distance in humid conditions in 44:21 minutes. Kenya’s Robert Cheruiyot (45:17) was second while Patrick Ivuti (Kenya/45:30) took third. Olivera Jevtic (Serbia Montenegro) won the women’s race in 51:38. Rose Cheruiyot (Kenya/51:47) was second.
Another high class ,Silvesterlauf’ was staged in Bolzano. In cold conditions Ethiopia’s Abebe Dinkessa won the 10 k event with 28:38 minutes. He had left behind his rivals after four of the eight laps through the picturesque city centre of the town in northern Italy. At first Kenya’s John Korir seemed to be able to hold on but in the end he had to be content with second place in 28:49. The European Cross Country Champion Sergiy Lebid (Ukraine) was third with 29:07. Kenya’s Isabella Ochichi won the women’s 5 k race in 15:53 minutes. She was clearly ahead of Aniko Kalovics (Hungary/16:04) and Jo Pavey (England/16:11).
Sabrina Mockenhaupt won Germany’s ‘Silvesterlauf’ in Trier. The 25-year-old, who had recently won the silver medal at the European Cross Country Championships, clocked 16:07 minutes for the 5k distance. She was three seconds ahead of Ethiopia’s Worknesh Tola. In front of thousands of spectators there was also another fine performance by a German runner in Trier, as coming back from giving birth to a daughter half a year ago Irina Mikitenko finished in a promising third position. She clocked 16:18.
The 8k men’s race was won by Moses Kipsiro (Uganda) with 22:52. Former Kenyan and defending champion Mushir Salim Jawehr (Bahrain) was second in 23:02, while Belgium’s Guy Fays took third place (23:05). Emmanuel Mutai (Kenya) came in fourth with 23:06, followed by four more Kenyans.
Berlin saw Germany’s biggest New Year’s Race. 4,010 runners participated in a 4km race which started and finished at the Brandenburg Gate. It was a non competitive event for charity. Money was raised for the United Nations children's fund UNICEF.