Pacemaker wins Abu Dhabi Marathon – weekly round-up

Reuben Kipyego sprang a surprise in the United Arab Emirates while there was plenty of action on British soil with the Varsity Match, English Schools Cross Cup and Telford 10km

The weekend was dominated by the Spar European Cross Country Championships, which you can read about here. But there was plenty of other action in the athletics world.

ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon, December 6

Reuben Kipyego took the win after being brought in as pacemaker although he was actually the third fastest marathoner in the field with his best of 2:05:18.

He took a small group through halfway in 62:54 with the 5km just prior to halfway covered in 14:11 and shortly afterwards when a small gap opened up after a similarly quick next 5km gave Kipyego a 10m lead from Joel Kimurer.

Just after halfway Kipyego decided to push on alone and at the finish he crossed the line in a PB 2:04:40 to claim the $100,000 prize, with Kimurer second in 2:06:21 and Ethiopian Fikadu Girma third in 2:09:16.

In the women’s race the pre-race favourite, Vivian Kiplagat of Kenya, running her fourth marathon of the year stormed to a PB 2:21:11.

She had passed halfway in 69:13, 45 seconds clear of runner-up Wude Ayalew of Ethiopia, who held on to finish second in 2:24:03.

Ethiopians, Teresa Nyakola Gela and Sintayehu Tilahun Getahun, were victorious in the male and female 10km race respectively with times of 28:05 and 32:47.

Paul Freary’s report will appear in greater detail together with photographs in this week’s AW magazine.

Telford 10km, December 8

The race continued its reputation as one of Britain’s fastest courses as Adam Craig won in a PB 28:32 after fighting off the challenge of Leeds Abbey Dash 10km winner Omar Ahmed, who ran 28:37 after both went through halfway in a fast 14:05.

Last year’s winner Callan Moody was third in 28:57 as both Jack Gray and Josh Griffiths also went inside 29 minutes. Sam Harrison won the women’s race in a PB and course record 32:33.

Dani Chattenton, who was 12th at the European cross-country trials in Liverpool last month, ran her first serious 10km and finished close behind in second in 32:37 as Clara Evans was third in 33:08.

Former women’s winner Clare Elms won the W55 category in an English age-group best 36:54. Other Masters International cross-country winners from Aintree who had impressive age-group victories were W40 Kirsty Longley (33:35), W45 Claire Martin (36:03), M55 Andrew Leach (32:53), M65 Nigel Gates (36:32) and M75 Peter Giles (43:54).

A report will appear in greater detail together with photographs in this week’s issue.

Birmingham and District League, Division 1, Betley Court Farm, December 7

Birmingham University dominated, winning the team race easily from Loughborough and gained an individual one-two with Michael Ward leading home fellow student Charlie Davis, winning in 30:49 to 30:57.

Guangzhou Marathon, China, December 8

Ethiopia’s Gebretsadik Adhana Abraha won in a course record 2:08:04 while Hiwot Gebrekidan won the women’s race in a course record and PB of 2:23:50.

Sattama Marathon, Japan, December 8

Former world half-marathon record-holder Peres Jepchirchir won in a PB 2:23:50 while Mariko Yugeta broke her own W60 world record with 2:56:54.

Honolulu Marathon, USA, December 8

Kenya’s Titus Ekiru was the clear winner as he defended his title with 2:08:00 to set a course record and win $50,000 in prize money and time bonuses.

The women’s race was won by Kenya’s Margaret Muriuki in 2:31:10.

Varsity Cross Country Match, Wimbledon Common, December 7

Competing in his seventh Varsity race, Phillip Crout gained a narrow win leading the Light Blues to the individual and team double.

Crout took the lead just before halfway. His previous best placing was fifth in 2016. He was only 12th two years ago and 10th last year.

Cambridge’s win closed the gap between the two universities to just one in the men’s contests with Oxford now leading 65 wins to 64.

Cambridge University’s women also secured the narrowest of wins, led to victory by Niamh Bridson Hubbard, who finished fifth under-23 at the Liverpool Cross Challenge and was a reserve for the European team.

It was the fourth appearance for the Blackheath and Bromley athlete who had finished second and third in 2017 and 2018.

Tom Pollak’s report will appear in greater detail in this week’s AW magazine.

English Schools Cross Country Cup Final, Spinkhill, December 7

Southern schools dominated overall as Woodbridge’s Ruby Vinton won the inter girls’ race as Dr Challoner’s scored an outstanding 34-point team total.

Eastwood’s Essex champion Beau MacDonald broke away from Oxted’s Hunt brothers Joseph and Jacob to win the Junior boys’ though Dr Challoner’s won again.

The junior girls’ was a race between defending winner Lesedi Nkoane (Challoner’s) and bottom-age Maisey Bellwood (Woodhouse Grove) with the latter prevailing by three seconds.

Guildford HS put in one of the outstanding performances ever to close in a mere 31 points, with four scorers in 12.

The intermediate boys’ race saw Hampshire champion Dan Shattock (Robert May’s) pace his run to perfection as Judd’s runners also came through strongly to take the team title.

James Taylor’s report will appear in greater detail in this week’s AW magazin.

South of England Masters Cross-Country Championships, Oxford, December 7

W50 Julie Briggs (24:25) won the overall women’s title from W45 Sarah Unwin-Mann (24:37) and W40 winner Jess Franklin (24:42).

Other winners included W55 Caroline Wood (27:03), W60 Jane Davies (28:46) and W65 Maggie Statham (30:50).

Howard Bristow (31:47) won the overall men’s title with M45 Paul Ward (31:59), M50 Andy Weir (32:50) and M55 Ben Reynolds (33:19), M60 Simon Bean (36:25) and M65 Paul Whelpton (37:30) taking the other titles.

Dave Beattie won the M70 race, held within the women’s event in 29:08.

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