Skip to main content

Gebrehiwot Takes Over Five Minutes Off Muenster Marathon Course Record

by Brett Larner

Click here for Dr. Helmut Winter's German-language article on this year's Muenster Marathon including a large number of high-quality photos.

The day dawning with heavy rain, wind, thunder and lightning, the 12th edition of the Volksbank Muenster Marathon saw the worst conditions in the race's history, but with radically opposing results in the men's and women's races the weather's impact on the race was hard to determine.  In the men's race things went out very slow on the twisting roads in the course's first 10 km, understandable given the slick cobblestone surface.  The designated Kenyan pacer was more than 10 seconds per km off the target pace of 3:06/km, but still the almost entirely Kenyan lead pack lagged behind.  Japanese runners Yuko Matsumiya (Team Hitachi Butsuryu) and Yuya Shiokawa (Team Subaru), in Muenster with support from JRN, gestured for the pacer to run the designated splits but he repeatedly looked over his shoulder and slowed to let his countrymen catch up.

Going through 10 km just under 33 minutes and halfway just over 69, things didn't get moving until Evans Kipkorir Taiget (Kenya) threw in a surge around 25 km and another at 33 km.  The first broke up the ten-strong pack, while the second opened the race up as Taiget moved clear into the lead.  Running unchallenged to the finish, he crossed the line in 2:15:56 for the win, far off the anticipated sub-2:10:25 course record time.  Joel Kipsang Kositany (Kenya) was next in 2:16:44.

Following a brief pit stop at 37 km followed by a sub-3-minute km to catch back up to the leaders, Matsumiya, the identical twin brother of 5000 m and 30 km national record holder Takayuki Matsumiya (Team Konica Minolta), dueled with Peter Kariuki Wanjiru (Kenya) before inching away to take 3rd in 2:17:58. Shiokawa, a graduate of defending National University Ekiden champion Komazawa University, faded to 6th but rallied after 40 km to run down John Kyalo (Kenya) for 5th in 2:18:41. Matsumiya later endeared himself to the crowd at the award ceremony when he jumped from the stage to present his bouquet of flowers to a young woman in the audience to a roar of approval.

The women's race, on the other hand, was a far faster and more focused event.  Newly a German citizen, Eleni Gebrehiwot was dead set on a sub-2:30 clocking to get the qualifying standard for next year's European Championships.  Running with two male designated pacers, she went out on target and stayed there, grinding down the competition regardless of the conditions and knocking three minutes off her best and five and a half minutes off the course record as she won in 2:29:13.  Last year's winner Joan Rotich (Kenya) was also under her PB and the old CR but was a distant afterthought in 2nd, more than a kilometer behind in 2:33:57.  The top five all broke last year's winning time, with at least four of the top six setting new personal best marks.  Veteran Chihiro Tanaka (AthleC AC) finished just out of the prize money in 7th in 2:43:19, 1st among 40+ women.

Winners Taiget and Gebrehiwot post-race.

The disparity between the men's and women's results was hard to figure as the men's results were understandable given the conditions, while the same handicap applied to the women's race would make it something truly remarkable.  If the overall women's results are taken as only good then the men's are very lackluster and suggest a lack of initiative given the number of sub-2:10 and sub-2:12 men in the field.  Chalk it up to poor pacing or the enigmatic flow of a race, and/or to the extra motivation Gebrehiwot brought that powered the rest of the women's field.  In any case, Gebrehiwot's performance helped elevate Muenster's profile and hopefully sets the stage for the men to follow suit next year with a sub-2:10 record.


12th Volksbank Muenster Marathon
Muenster, Germany, 9/8/13
click here for complete results

Men
1. Evans Kipkorir Taiget (Kenya) - 2:15:56
2. Joel Kipsang Kositany (Kenya) - 2:16:44
3. Yuko Matsumiya (Japan/Team Hitachi Butsuryu) - 2:17:58
4. Peter Kariuki Wanjiru (Kenya) - 2:18:06
5. Yuya Shiokawa (Japan/Team Subaru) - 2:18:41
6. John Kyalo (Kenya) - 2:19:37

Women
1. Eleni Gebrehiwot (Germany) - 2:29:13 - PB, CR
2. Joan Rotich (Kenya) - 2:33:57 - PB (CR)
3. Frashiah Nyambura Waithaka (Kenya) - 2:35:51
4. Mahlet Melese Behailu (Ethiopia) - 2:37:23 - PB
5. Gelane Senbete (Ethiopia) - 2:38:09
6. Meseret Eshetu Deme (Ethiopia) - 2:40:26 - PB
7. Chihiro Tanaka (Japan/AthleC AC) - 2:43:19

text and photos (c) 2013 Brett Larner
all rights reserved

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Takushoku Teammates Lemeteki and Akasaki Sub-62 For 1-2 at Ageo City Half Marathon

Takushoku University teammates Joseph Razini Lemeteki and Akira Akasaki dominated the 2019 Ageo City Half Marathon, alternating the lead throughout almost the entire race to go 1-2 in school record times.

With invitations to the 2019 United Airlines NYC Half up for grabs to the top two Japanese collegiate finishers in the unofficial intramural tryout for Japan's most prestigious race, the 2020 Hakone Ekiden, things went out very conservatively by Ageo standards at just 3:00/km for the first 2 km. Not content with that, Akasaki, 3rd on his stage at both the Izumo Ekiden in October and the National University Ekiden earlier this month, picked up the race and carried it until 15 km. From 3 km to 8 km Akasaki split 14:33, pace for 1:01:24, condensing the pack behind him down to eight.


After the 10 km turnaround Akasaki's teammate Lemeteki made a bold move to gain contact with the lead group, and when he did it shaved things down to seven serious contenders. The front group stayed …

Japanese Amateur Yamaguchi and Ugandan Kusuro Break Kobe Course Records

Amateur Japanese club runner Haruka Yamaguchi (AC Kita) and Ugandan Geoffrey Kusuro had dominant wins at the 9th running of the Kobe Marathon Sunday, both running PBs and winning by almost 4 minutes in course record time.

Yamaguchi, who ran a PB 2:33:06 in Sydney in September and dropped a surprise 31:58 at last weekend's East Japan Women's Ekiden, slipped away early, never challenged by the pack of invited African elites or by friend and rival club runner Shiho Kaneshige (GRlab Kanto). Going through halfway faster than her half marathon PB in 1:13:08. She slowed slightly in the second half, especially on the large bridge out to the island finish line, but her win was never in doubt as she broke the tape in 2:27:39. Previously, the fastest pure amateur Japanese women's marathon performance was Chihiro Tanaka's 2:29:30 in Nagoya in 2002. Breaking that by almost two minutes, Yamaguchi staked her claim as Japan's best-ever amateur.


2nd through 5th were close together…

Saitama International Marathon Elite Field

The first women's race in the 2020 Sapporo Olympic marathon team Final Challenge, the chance for a Japanese woman to pick up the third spot on the Olympic team by running 2:22:22 or better, in its 5th edition the Saitama International Marathon continues its slide toward oblivion as an elite race. The international field is good, and well-positioned to set it up for a Japanese woman to attack that kind of time with 2:21:53 Ethiopian Belaynesh Oljira and debuting 1:05:06 Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir in the foreground, but Japanese women have almost entirely given it a miss. Only one independent runner, Kaori Yoshida (Team RxL) and one semi-corporate leaguer, Hiroko Yoshitomi (Memolead) are on the  entry list, raising the obvious question of why bother?

Saitama is popular as a mass-participation race, and it is raised a little higher by the quality of internationals it attracts. But as a national team selection race, it seems like only a matter of time before it loses that status to the…