Daniel wanjiru outduels ethiopia's Bekele on world marathon majors debut

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Daniel Wanjiru won the Amsterdam Marathon last October in 2:05:21 with a sizeable negative split, but the 24-year-old was not considered a threat to succeed Eliud Kipchoge as the champion of the men’s race.

Wanjiru has only raced once this season, finishing 12th at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in 1:02:16 – which was won by Bedan Karoki in 59:10 – but Wanjiru still arrived in the British capital full of confidence for his World Marathon Majors debut.

“I did 62 there and I took it as part of my training and I knew I was OK to do the marathon,” he explained after the race. “After that race, I told my manager ‘I’m ready to win the London Marathon’.

Wanjiru was firmly ensconced in the group through halfway in 1:01:43 but at this point, arguable pre-race favourite Kenenisa Bekele was beginning to fall off the pace.

At 30km, Bekele was 18 seconds adrift of a leading group of five athletes including Wanjiru, but once the Kenyan made his break with 4:52 in the 21st mile, the Ethiopian began to reel in those ahead of him.

Bekele passed two-time world champion Abel Kirui just after the 35km checkpoint and then Karoki came into sight. The gap to Wanjiru had reduced to 14 seconds but the Kenyan was not fatiguing, nor was he daunted by the looming presence of the world 5000m and 10,000m record-holder who made up a significant gap on Wilson Kipsang to win the Berlin Marathon last September.

“I was not scared because in a competition, anything can happen,” said Wanjiru, who had kept something in reserve. “You have to plan what to do if someone is coming from behind.”

The gap between Wanjiru and Bekele reduced to five seconds for a while but Wanjiru, who was contesting his fourth marathon to date, was still running strongly and held Bekele off with a brilliant finishing mile of 4:27.

Wanjiru crossed the finish-line on The Mall in 2:05:48 and while Bekele had to settle for second in 2:05:57, the Ethiopian was upbeat after the race.

“I’m happy I finished this race. Of course, after Dubai, I lost some weeks because of injury so for me, coming back from injury and competing like this is encouraging for later races,” said Bekele, alluding to his fall at the Dubai Marathon in January which caused him to drop out.

A podium finish seemed improbable at halfway when Bekele began to lose ground. After the race, Bekele explained he developed blisters on his feet at about the 15km mark and said he “changed his style to protect it” which led to hamstring problems in his right leg. After 30km, Bekele said he was “feeling better and I increased the pace.”

By contrast, Karoki felt in excellent condition at the halfway point on his marathon debut before the distance caught him out in the last six miles. He staggered across the line in third in 2:07:41, four seconds ahead of Chicago Marathon winner Abel Kirui.

“When I saw 61 at halfway, I was expecting to run 2:03,” said Karoki. “But after 30km, I felt tired and I got a blister problem which forced me to slow down. I know, maybe next marathon, I’m going to better than today.”

Tanzania’s Alphonce Simbu ran a well-judged race, moving from 15th at halfway to fifth in 2:09:10 with world champion Ghirmay Ghebreslassie from Eritrea the sixth runner to finish within 2:10, clocking 2:09:57.

Club runner Josh Griffiths, who was entered in the race as part of the mass start, was the top British man, clocking 2:14:49 on his marathon debut to earn selection for the World Championships. Alyson Dixon finished 14th in the women’s race in a PB of 2:29:06 to also secure her spot on the home team for later this year.

Mary keitany breaks women's only world record at the Virgin Money london marathon

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Kenya’s Mary Keitany took 41 seconds off the women’s-only world record* at the Virgin Money London Marathon, running 2:17:01 at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race on Sunday (23).

Keitany said in the build-up to this year’s race she was in shape to break Paula Radcliffe’s mark of 2:17:42 and while she demurred when asked about the possibility of bettering Radcliffe’s outright mark of 2:15:25, Keitany was running minutes inside Radcliffe’s schedule in the first half.

Paced by her training partner Caroline Kipkirui, Keitany cut loose from arguably the most accomplished field in race history with an astonishingly fast third mile 4:37. Through 5km in 15:31 and 10km in 31:17, Keitany was running at close to 2:10 pace while the second group – which was already beginning to splinter – hit 10km in 31:31, exactly half a minute faster than Radcliffe in 2003.

Keitany, who covered the fourth and fifth miles in 4:56 and 4:59 respectively, was still within sight of the second group at 10km but the 34-year-old was away and clear with a succession of mile splits faster than 5:10 through the 10-mile mark in 50:41. Her half marathon split of 1:06:54 was the fastest in marathon history (Radcliffe ran 1:08:02 in 2003) and her advantage had extended to 59 seconds over the chasers, including track greats Tirunesh Dibaba, Vivian Cheruiyot, former winner Aselefech Mergia and world silver medallist Helah Kiprop.

“I know Mary is a fast runner and I was following my own pace and until halfway, I was on track but I was never expecting she would go that fast and maintain it,” said an incredulous Dibaba after the race.

This early pace had already torn the second group asunder. Former winner Tigist Tufa and world champion Mare Dibaba had lost more than three minutes on the second group with the latter dropping out after the 30km mark.

Keitany was also beginning to slow with a 14th mile of 5:21 before four successive miles in the 5:14-5:18 range. Through 30km in a pending world record of 1:36:05, Keitany was still 31 seconds faster than Radcliffe in 2003 but her preceding 5km split of 16:22 was her slowest thus far.

Keitany’s mile splits had started to drift into the 5:20 range and while Dibaba seemed to be running with more fluidity, her lead stayed at more than one minute through 35km in 1:52:39. The overall world record was beyond reach but Keitany was still on course to smash Radcliffe’s women’s-only world record.

Dibaba was running at a fantastic pace in just her second marathon, but after such a fast start she had to stop due to stomach cramps in the 23rd mile. She quickly gathered herself, but in spite of her fantastic credentials over the shorter distances there was no way she was going to catch Keitany.

After covering the preceding two miles in 5:27 and 5:25 respectively, Keitany spurted again with a 26th mile in 4:56 to ensure she would take a sizeable chunk off Radcliffe’s 12-year-old women’s-only world record with 2:17:01, the second-fastest time in the history of women’s marathon running.

“I want to thank the pacemaker who was taking me all the way to 14 miles,” said Keitany. “From there, I started to go alone and see how my body was.”

Dibaba rallied in the closing stages to finish second in 2:17:56, taking more than a minute from Tiki Gelana’s Ethiopian record and becoming the third-fastest woman in history.

“I haven’t decided yet but my gut feeling is I’ll be running the 10,000m on the track,” said Dibaba on her plans for the IAAF World Championships London 2017 this summer.

Mergia was beset by leg cramps in the closing stages but the 2010 champion accrued another podium finish in third in 2:23:08 while Cheruiyot, who equalled her half-marathon lifetime best of 1:07:54 en route, faded to fourth on her debut in 2:23:50.

Kenya well poised at the men's 4x800m preview – IAAF/BTC World Relays Bahamas 2017

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Kenya appears to be the team with the best chance of deposing the US, with Ferguson Rotich, Timothy Kitum, Alfed Kipketer, Job Kinyor and Kipyegon Bett in their ranks if the brief history of the IAAF World Relays is to be relied upon. These athletes took the title at the inaugural edition of the men’s 4x800m final event in 2014, narrowly edging Poland after a thrilling final leg.

Bett clocked a noteworthy 1:44.2 in Nairobi earlier this month, where he led home Cheruiyot (1:44.7) and Kipketer (1:45.5). For good measure, both Kinyor and Kitum also ran faster than 1:46 in the same race, giving the Kenyans impressive strength in depth heading to Nassau.

The same can be said for Poland, whose team is headed up by world class duo Adam Kszczot and Marcin Lewandowski, whose tactical nous will prove a major asset in this relay format. They were part of the Polish teams which finished second in 2014 and 2015, and with 1:44.89 man Artur Kuciapski in their ranks, they are a team worthy of respect.

The Australian team, which includes Luke Matthews and Jordan Williamsz, should contend for a top-three finish, but are unlikely to challenge for the win.

debutant geoffrey kirui crowned champion at the 121st Boston Marathon

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Geoffrey Kirui flew completely under the radar before the race, his best previous marathon being a third-place debut in Rotterdam last year and his PB a 2:06:27 for seventh in Amsterdam. But the 24-year-old asserted after the race, “In my mind, I was sure that one day I would win this race.”

The men’s pack stayed together much longer than the women, with former world record holder Emmanuel Mutai doing much of the pace work as the field wandered towards Boston. Unlike Linden, Mutai seemed disinterested in setting a fast pace, with the average mile hovering around 4:55 well past halfway.

Things began getting interesting in much the same part of the race as the year before, around 25 kilometres as the course descends into Lower Falls to cross the Charles from Wellesley into Newton. Olympic bronze medallist Galen Rupp moved to the front of the pack and although the pace didn’t improve, the size of the pack began to shrink. Mutai, defending champion Lemi Berhanu Hayle, and several others came off the pace.

The faces remaining, in addition to Kirui, Rupp, and Wilson Chebet, were not ones who would have been picked to be in the lead pack this late. American veteran Abdi Abdirahman, dominating the masters race; Colorado-based Augustus Maiyo, wearing the improbable bib number of 63; and Oregon-based Japanese Suguru Osako.

Eventually a duel developed between Rupp and Kirui, with the duo putting a dozen seconds on Osako coming up to 35 kilometres. After passing that marker, Kirui stomped on the accelerator, covering the 24th mile in 4:28, by far the fastest of the race. Rupp couldn’t answer the bell at that point, and the remaining two miles for Kirui were an extended victory lap.

Rupp came in second at 2:09:58, with Osako third in 2:10:28.

“I knew, coming here to Boston, I was going to face my colleagues who have run many times here,” said Kirui. “I was not aware that I was going to win, but I knew that I would challenge some of the champions who have been competing here.”

Osako was also thrilled with his performance. “I was very nervous and grateful for the Boston experience,” he said. “Once I relaxed, I started doing better.”

Although the athletes enjoyed a tailwind in many parts of the course, winds were gusty and occasionally met the runners head on. More challenging, especially for the mass participants, was the heat, with temperatures around 20 C at the start and rising slightly during the race.

Some 27,228 runners in four waves crossed the starting line in Hopkinton to make the trip in to Boston this year.

Kiplagat and kirui secure kenyan double in boston marathon after 5 years

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Two-time world champion Edna Kiplagat and relative unknown Geoffrey Kirui were crowned champions today at the 121st running of the Boston Marathon, the first double win for Kenya in five years. Each won the IAAF Gold Label Road Race with a single devastating move at strategic points in the race which their competition could not answer. Kiplagat ran 2:21:52, and Kirui 2:09:37.

Kiplagat, who started with the other elite women 28 minutes before the mass start, was the first to lock up victory. The women’s pack maintained a brisk pace of about 3:26 per km early on, led largely by 2011 runner-up Desiree Linden. Linden, whose best races come from an even pace, wanted to thin the pack down early, and she did, with the size of the pack shrinking to eight by halfway and five as the course crossed into Newton after the 25-kilometre mark.

“I wanted to be pushing the first 10k,” Linden said. “If it was a respectable pace I would have just tucked in, but there were so many fast women in that pack I couldn’t let them take it easy. If we made it a half-marathon I wouldn’t have as much of a chance.”

Linden was right to be wary of Kiplagat, a past winner in New York (2010) and London (2014) as well as a two-time world champion (2011 in Daegu and 2013 in Moscow). In the course of pushing the pace, though, Linden ended the hopes of defending champion Atsede Baysa and former winner Caroline Rotich. Climbing up into Newton after crossing the Charles River in Lower Falls, it was Linden, Kiplagat, Rose Chelimo, Jordan Hasay, and Valentine Kipketer in the pack, with Gladys Cherono struggling to stay in contact.

Those five mostly held together for another five kilometres, but on the second of three hills in Newton, Kiplagat abruptly accelerated, dropping from a 5:33 mile pace on the first hill to a 4:50 cresting the second. Then Kiplagat followed up with a 5:23 mile on the last and best-known of the hills, the one called “Heartbreak Hill."

“I broke away at 30k, I was feeling good and I tried to work extra hard. We knew the profile of the course so I knew I had to increase my strength.”

The race was functionally over at that point, but there was one last scare at the 35-kilometre fluid station, where Kiplagat expected to find her bottle on the second table when it was actually on the third. After mistakenly picking up another athlete’s bottle, Kiplagat actually went back to replace it on the second table before getting her own.

She continued looking over her shoulder but Rose Chelimo, the one who’d come closest to actually covering Kiplagat’s move, was almost a minute behind at the finish. Chelimo’s second-place time was 2:22:51. Hasay was third in 2:23:00, a successful debut marathon, and Linden was fourth in 2:25:06.

Kiplagat, 38, is the oldest woman to win in Boston since Michiko Gorman (42) in 1977. She brought two of her children to the awards stand to accept her traditional laurel wreath and trophy.

“I’m happy to be here with my family, my kids helped me when I was training for this race so I am glad I can share this victory with them.”

Course record holder Buzunesh Deba was seventh in 2:30:58, and Linden’s teammate Dot McMahan was the masters winner, finishing 14th in 2:36:28.

Koech breaks Italian all-comers’ record in EA7 Emporio Armani Milano Marathon

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Edwin Kipngetich Koech took the honours at the EA7 Emporio Armani Milano Marathon, breaking the Italian all-comers’ record with 2:07:13 at the IAAF Bronze Label Road Race on Sunday (2).

The 25-year-old Kenyan improved the fastest ever time on Italian soil set by his compatriot Benjamin Kiptoo in Rome with 2:07:17 in 2009. Meanwhile, compatriot Sheila Chepkoech produced a major surprise winning the women’s race in 2:29:52, breaking her personal best by more than 10 minutes.

Pacemakers Stefano La Rosa of Italy and Kenya’s Alex Korio and Joshua Kipkorir set a steady pace, going through the 10km mark in 30:03 ahead of an all-African pack formed by Edwin Koech, Eliud Bargnetuny Kiplagat, Kenneth Mungara and Henry Chirchir from Kenya and Abdela Godana from Ethiopia.

The seven-man pack went through at the halfway mark in 1:03.17, putting them on course for a sub-2:07 finish.

At 27km the leading pack was whittled down to five runners: Korio, Kipkorir, Mungara, Koech and Godana. Kipkorir was the first pacemaker to drop out at 28km, leaving Korio and Koech to go through 30km in 1:29:51, opening up a gap of four seconds over Mungara.

Koech broke away after 30km and continued to run at sub-2:06 pace, passing the 35km mark in 1:45:15. The Kenyan’s 1:50 lead over Mungara grew to more than two minutes by the finish as Koech crossed the finish line in 2:07:13.

Koech’s time smashed his previous personal best of 2:10:52 set in Verona last November. It also improved the previous course record of 2:07:53 set by Duncan Kibet in 2008.

Kenya’s 43-year-old Mungara, winner in Milan in 2015 and third in last year’s edition with a world M40 best of 2:08:38, finished runner-up, again dipping under 2:10 with 2:09:37 to finish ahead of Ehiopian Abdela Godana, who improved his PB by 92 seconds to 2:10:05. Italy’s European under-23 10,000m bronze medallist Yassine Rachik was the first European finisher, placing sixth in 2:13:22 on his debut at the distance.

Kenya set to add to past successes at IAAF World U18 Championships Nairobi 2017

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Ever since the inaugural edition in 1999 when they topped the medals table, Kenya has been a dominant force at the IAAF World U18 Championships.

In 100 days’ time, the Kenyan capital Nairobi will host the biennial championships for athletes aged 17 and younger and the host nation can be expected to add to their tally of 43 gold medals.

This year’s staging will be the final edition of the World U18 Championships as the IAAF will instead devote more resources to area championships at the U18 level. But it is fitting that the last staging will be in a country that has provided so many memorable performances at the championships over the past 18 years.

Rotich and Bett lead Kenyan squad for IAAF/BTC World Relays Bahamas 2017,Nassau

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World U20 champion Kipyegon Bett and Ferguson Rotich, the 2016 IAAF Diamond League winner in the 800m, lead Kenya's 30-member squad to the IAAF/BTC World Relays Bahamas 2017 in Nassau on 22-23 April.

Bett earned his spot after out-kicking Rotich in the 800m at the Athletics Kenya Relay National Trials in Nairobi last weekend, clocking 1:44.7.

Rotich will bring valuable experience to the competition after appearances in each of the two previous editions of the IAAF World Relays. In 2014 he ran the lead-off leg on the victorious 4x800m squad. In 2015 he ran the third leg on the silver medal-winning distance medley quartet.

Meanwhile, the women's 4x800 quartet includes Mary Wangari Kuria, the 2012 African Championships 1500m silver medallist, and Silvia Chesebe, a member of the silver medal-winning quartet at the World Relays in 2014 that clocked an African record.

The team also includes African championships 400m silver medallist Boniface Mweresa and Geoffrey Kiprotich, the fourth place finisher over 400m at the IAAF World U20 Championships Bydgoszcz 2016, who were named to the mixed 4x400m relay.

First Lady Launches IAAF World U18 Championships Website at MISC

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Kenya inched closer to hosting the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) W-U18 championships when the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta launched the official website for the iconic event.
With only 134 days to the kick-off of the 10th edition of the IAAF championships in Nairobi slated for July 12- 16, the First Lady said the website will serve as the nerve centre of the championships, providing information to all stakeholders.
She is the current patron of the Biennial IAAF world U18 championships
“The website will also serve the thousands of visitors who are planning to visit our country for the championships-many of them for the first time”, said the First Lady during the colorful launch ceremony of the website at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, today.
Besides being the primary point of contact for the participants and attendees, said the First Lady, the website will also serve as their connection to Kenya.
“So I want to thank the developers and designers who created this website for their fantastic work, and urge those in charge of maintaining the platform to ensure it reflects the very best of our country’, she said
A total of 2000 athletes of various disciplines are expected in Nairobi in July where they will be representing over 150 countries from all over the world.
Besides the sporting fraternity drawn globally, thousands of other visitors are also expected in the country to have a first-hand experience of Kenya, a country recognized internationally as a powerhouse of long distance runners.
During the previous 9 editions of the IAAF championships held in Poland, Germany, Canada, Morocco, Czech Republic, Italy, France, Ukraine and Colombia, Kenya has always emerged between positions 1-3 beating such many other world sporting giants.
At the inaugural 1999 IAAF world U18 championships in Poland , Kenya emerged position one after beating 150 other countries . Kenya also held position 2 in 2001(Germany), 2005 (Morocco), 2007 ( Czech Republic), 2011 ( France), 2013 ( Ukraine) and 2015 in Colombia.
Sporting enthusiasts are optimistic that no country can beat Kenya (in Athletics) at home during the forthcoming championships.
The First Lady said , as patron, she will do whatever it takes to ensure the success of the championships adding that the event is a historic moment, not only for Kenya, but the entire East African region.
She said by staging a successful event, Kenya will be demonstrating to the world how capable the country is in delivering a world-class event and experience.
“As we do that, there is no doubt that we will receive many more hosting opportunities”, she added.
The First Lady said the championships also provide an opportunity to recognize and appreciate the diverse sporting abilities of youth from across the world, Kenya included.
“As patron, I see the upcoming Championships offer a fantastic opportunity for us to celebrate, applaud and recognize the diverse talents and abilities of youth across the world
Invitations have already been sent out to all the 214 IAAF member countries requesting them to send in names of Athletes that will represent respective countries.
Sports, Culture and the Arts Cabinet Secretary Dr Hassan Wario, IAAF W-U18 Local Organizing Committee (LOC) chairman Lt-Gen (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei , LOC Chief Executive Officer of the championships Mwangi Muthee and Kenyatta University (where all the Athletes will reside) Vice Chancellor Prof Paul Wainaina assured the First Lady that everything was going well and will be ready within the set deadlines.

Safaricom international jazz festival 2017 at Moi Kasarani Sports Center

David Sanborn Safaricom Jazz

The 4th edition of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival will be held on Sunday 26th February 2017 at the Kasarani Stadium. This year we have various talented artists from across the globe who are guaranteed to delight all jazz lovers.

David Sanborn, world renowned saxophonist from the USA will be the headlining performer at the festival this year. He will be accompanied by a star studded line up who will be performing with him during the show.

The Hazelnuts, a unique musical phenomenon from Israel, TaxiWars from Belgium and British-Asian clarinetist, composer and music educator Arun Gosh are also slated to dazzle us with their unique sounds.

The Bokani Dyer Trio, who performed at the annual Jazz ahead showcase in Bremen, Germany in April 2016, and Ray Lema from the Democratic Republic of Congo are the African acts also scheduled to perform at the festival.

Local artists lined up for the festival include home grown Nairobi Horns Project, Shamsi Music and the amazing Mwai and The Truth Band.

Music lovers can expect to enjoy a selection of pure jazz as well as a mix of jazz fusions with influences from around the world.

All proceeds from the event will go towards supporting the Ghetto Classics, a non-profit programme that teaches music skills to the youth from underprivileged backgrounds. To date we have successfully raised over 19million towards this programme to uplift the lives of many youth by way of providing musical instruments, classes, and much more.

EVENT DETAILS
Date: Sunday 26th February 2017.
Venue: Kasarani Training Grounds
Entry Charges: Ksh. 2000 for adults and Ksh. 500 for students (proof of ID must be provided)
Tickets: Available at select Safaricom shops, Michael Joseph Centre and via m-Ticketing by dialing 1511.
Gates open at 10 AM show starts at 12 PM.

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About Us

Sports Kenya (SK) was founded through the Sports Act of January 25 2013 by an Act parliament as a successor to Sports Stadia Management Board and the department of Sports in the ministry of sports, culture and the arts.

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