Kenya’s men’s team has broken the world record at the Chiba Ekiden on Wednesday 23rd November. In the famous Japanese marathon relay the Kenyans covered the classic distance of 42.195 k in 1:57:06 hours. They improved the former mark, which the Moroccon team had run back in 1994, by 50 seconds. The marathon distance was divided into stages of 5 k, 10 k, 5 k, 10 k, 5 k and 7.195 k. While Japan took second place with 1:58:58 the US team finished third in 1:59:08.
The race was decided in the 10 k stages. And it was Kenya’s second runner Martin Mathathi who showed a great performance on this stretch. He covered the 10 k in a very fast 27:12 minutes and was 51 seconds faster than Abebe Dinkesa (Ethiopia).
The Kenyans also won the women’s race. They clocked 2:13:33 for the distance. Again it was the second stage where the best performance of the day was produced. Evelyn Wambui covered the 10 k stretch in 31:18 minutes and was 23 seconds faster than Britain’s marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe. Coming back from a bronchitis Paula Radcliffe started the race a bit too fast. Still she shifted her team from ninth into second position, but at the end Britain finished seventh. Ethiopia was second with 2:14:16 while Russia took third with 2:14:48.
It had been three days earlier in Japan, where Naoko Takahashi produced a superb comeback. The Olympic marathon champion from 2000 had been unable to run a marathon for two years due to injuries. Now she won the Tokyo Marathon with 2:24:39. The support of the spectators for Naoko Takahashi was so enormous that one has to believe that it is still Takahashi who is the most popular Japanese runner. Zivile Balciunaite (Lithuania) was second with 2:25:25 while Elfenesh Alemu (Ethiopia/2:26:50) took third place.
Elsewhere Haile Gebrselassie won his second race in the Netherlands within little more than a month. Having clocked the world’s fastest marathon time of the year in Amsterdam in October (2:06:20) the Ethiopian now won the 15 k race in Nijmegen. His time of 42:17 minutes is the world’s fastest for 2005. Berhane Adere (Ethiopia) was the fastest woman with 47:48.
In Lagos (Nigeria) Tanzania’s World Half Marathon Champion Fabiano Joseph won a half marathon with 20,000 runners. In hot and humid conditions he clocked 62:20 minutes. John Korir (Kenya/63:05) was second while John Yuda (Tanzania/64:21) took third place. Another minute behind was a promising youngster: Charles Kiama finished fourth. The 17 year-old is a new member of KIMbia Athletics and is coached by Uta Pippig’s former coach Dieter Hogen.