Records tumble in Melbourne Marathon
Oct 10, 2010
A Kenyan cattle farmer and an Ethiopian woman mentored by Haile Gebrselassie broke long-standing records in the Melbourne Marathon, which finished at the MCG today.
Japhat Kipkorir, 29, broke free from a group of three Africans just before the halfway mark and went on to run 2hr11min4sec, four seconds faster than US marathon great Billy Rodgers recorded in 1982.
And Mulu Seboka crossed the line in 2:32.20, 67sec better than three-time Olympian Sue Hobson's 1999 mark.
Rodgers, a four-time Boston marathon winner, clocked his time when the course went from Frankston to the Arts Centre, riding a rare tailwind all the way.
Kipkorir's lucky break yesterday was a cool (11C for the first hour), still day - perfect for fast times, even wearing a beanie.
It was only his second marathon. His first marathon was a blister-impeded 2:30 in Stockholm in 2007.
"After that I wanted to be really prepared. This time I felt great the whole way," he said.
Kipkorir herds cattle near a town called Kapkoi, about four hours' drive from the capital Nairobi.
Last year's winner Asnake Fekadu, of Ethiopia, was second in 2:15.31, while Rowan Walker, 40, who had to train for four months in Afghanistan this year while on duty with the Defence department, charged home for third in a personal best 2:18.01, edging out South Melbourne runner Geleta Wondwosen (2:18.43) and Canberra's Scott McTaggart (2:18.49).
"You won't find too many Australians running 2:18 at 40, except for Steve Moneghetti," Walker said.
Seboka, 27, lives near Addis Ababa and is part of the Ethiopian national squad, which puts her regularly under the eye of Gebrselassie.
The distance legend told her two years ago to reduce her training load, which had reached 280km a week.
She now has run four marathons this year, and her list of wins includes Toronto (2008) and Mumbai (three times) and the Perth City to Surf marathon in August.
Sunshine Coast schoolteacher Roxie Fraser won the Australian title in 2:43.52, passing New Zealand's Sarah Biss (2:44.51) for second place with a kilometre to go.
"I caught Sarah at the 41km mark and I felt really bad passing her so late in the race. I only turned up to race because my twin sister lives in Melbourne and she wanted to do it," Fraser said.
About 25,000 finished the five events on offer - marathon, half marathon, 10km, 5km and 2.5km.
A total of 5026 finished the marathon, the first marathon in Australia to pass the 5000 mark, eclipsing the 4798 who finished in the 1983 event.