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Save the Date September 29th 2019
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Evans Rutto bookmakers favourite in London, elite women have separate start in Boston for the first time

April clearly is the marathon month of the year. And this coming weekend will

be the highlight of the month. While the biggest European marathon will be

started in London on Sunday, the traditional Boston Marathon will follow on

Monday. Additionally in Hamburg Germanys second biggest marathon will be

started on Sunday. About 85,000 runners have entered these three races.

Almost 45,000 are on Londons start list. But Englands superstar Paula

Radcliffe will not be among the runners on Sunday. She does not run a spring

marathon this year since she decided to fully concentrate on the Olympics where

she is expected to run the marathon. A year ago she had set the world record in

London, clocking 2:15:25. Nonetheless the London Marathon features a very

strong womens field.

“It is a pity Paula is not running. Because I had hoped to learn

something from her during this marathon“, Sun Yingjie said. The Asian

record holder from China will now be the fastest woman in the field (2:19:39).

If she would win it would be a unique success. Because never before has a

Chinese won one of the big international city marathons. But it will be a tough

task. Among the contenders are Margaret Okayo from Kenya (New York Marathon

winner 2003), Ethiopias Gete Wami and Joyce Chepchumba (Kenya), who has won

London already twice.

Concerning the mens field English bookmakers rate Evans Rutto as the

favourite. The 26 year-old belongs to the group of runners who are coached by

Uta Pippigs coach Dieter Hogen. It was Rutto who produced a sensational time

when he won the Chicago marathon last October. His 2:05:50 stand as an

unofficial world debut record. Another runner from Hogens group will now run

his first marathon in London: John Yuda (Tanzania). Among the high clas

opposition is the Olympic Champion Gezahegne Abera (Ethiopia), who won London

last year. Reigning World Champion Jaouad Gharib (Marocco) and Sammy Korir

(Kenya), who is the second fastest marathoner of all times (2:04:56), will also

run London. Due to an injury world record holder Paul Tergat (Kenya/2:04:55)

had to withdraw from this race.

While the winner in London will receive 55,000 US Dollar first prize in

Boston is 80,000. Last years winner Robert Cheruiyot will be in the race again.

He will meet his countrymen from Kenya: Rodgers Rop, Martin Lel, Timothy

Cherigat, Laban Kipkemboi and Steven Kiogora. The later three are also coached

by Dieter Hogen. There seems to be a clear favourite in the womens race: World

Champion Catherina Ndereba (Kenya).

Around 20,000 runners have entered the 108th Boston Marathon. It will be the

first time that the women will have a separate start. They will start almost

half an hour before the mens elite field and the mass race will begin. It is

quite an historic step for the Boston Marathon. Because it was here where women

made marathon history. Back in 1966 it was Roberta Gibb who secretly ran the

marathon. But one year later there was a real scandal, because Katherine

Switzer became the first woman to run the race with an official bib number. She

had filled in the entry form, but put in just the initial of her first name.

Attempts to throw her out of the race failed. Katherine Switzer finished the

Boston Marathon. But it took another five years until women were officially

accepted at this race.

Ironically many years later it was the Boston Marathon that put together

some of the finest women marathon fields ever. Uta Pippig wrote history in 1996

when she became the first woman to win the race three times in a row.

Additionally the race in 1996 was the centenary event. Until today that was the

biggest marathon race ever.

Separating the womens elite field Boston follows other big marathons like

London or New York. Women will be much more in the centre of attention now. Uta

Pippig welcomes this change: “The elite women runners will now be able to

spot each other much better during the race. That is a big advantage for the

development of the race.“

 

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