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• GERMANY / The Berlin marathon back to the Brandenburg Gate
Berlin is changing - and its marathon is developing further, as well. Since 1981, the final stretch for the marathon runners has been the avenue Kurferstendamm. From 2003 on, the Brandenburg Gate will adorn the finish for the last 300 metres. For the 30th "Berlin marathon", the organizers from Scc-Running have decided to make room for some political changes and to accommodate the wishes of the participants from around the world, and have made some alterations. The start and finish of the race have been moved to the avenue Straße des 17. Juni, and the Brandenburg Gate will not be passed early on at kilometre 3.2, but rather will mark the climax - shortly before the finish - at kilometre 41.9! The course will thus experience a few corrections, but it will not preclude any of the enthusiastic centres or ambience on the streets between the many spectators and the runners. Several tourism and political highlights of Berlin will be added: the Bundeskanzleramt (Federal Chancellery), the Reichstag, Friedrichstraße, Checkpoint Charlie, the Gendarmenmarkt, the Auswärtiges Amt (Foreign Ministry). And the following highlights will remain: Hermannplatz, the Schöneberg City Hall, Schloßstraße, Wilder Eber, Kurfürstendamm. "The course remains flat and fast and shows even more of new and old Berlin", stated John Kunkeler, who has been secretly planning the new course for several years. Since 1974, there have been a total of 416,444 runners from 112 countries participating in the marathon. So far there have been a total of 6 world records broken at the "Berlin marathon".
• FRANCE / Cross de l'Acier in Dunkerque
At the Dunkerque's "Cross de l'Acier" - held on December 1, 2002 - both the men's and women's distances were shortened this year from 13 to 10.5 and 7 to 5.3 kilometers, respectively. And where Haile Gebrselassie won the male version in 2001, fellow Ethiopian Hailu Mekonen and Kenyan Thomas Kiplitan surprised Tanzanian John Yuda, Kenyan Paul Koech and others with a 30.34 and 30.35 solid 1-2 finish. Locals were cheering for Hafida Gadi-Richard in the women's bash, but Ethiopian Mestewat Tufa edged her, both timed in 16.59. Reprinted with permission from "Running Stats" (www.runningstats.com)
• MISSISSIPPI (USA) / A new course for the Mississippi 50 Trail
The "Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50" is held the first Saturday in March each year on the Long Leaf Horse Trail in the De Soto National Forest just south of Laurel. The race was started in 1996 by Carl Touchstone, a local dentist and popular ultrarunner. The next race on March 1, 2003 will be the 8th edition. The course features soft dirt trails, pine needle paths, and fire roads on 12.5 and 6.1 mile loops through the piney woods. The 50k runners do the long loop twice and finish on the short loop, while the 50 Milers run the long loop 4 times (the 1.5 mile access road section was eliminated in 2002). It is a rainy time of year in Mississippi, and there are a lot of small creeks on the course, so hot dry feet are not usually a problem. The endurance runs begin together promptly at 6 am in surreal predawn darkness. Well supplied aid stations are positioned every two to four miles with easy crew access, so no one has to worry about dehydration or lack of calories. A new event, a 20k, was added for 2003. Trophies are awarded to the top several male and female runners in each race, and finisher mementos are awarded. A full course chicken supper (courtesy of South Central Regional Medical Center) is also served to each finisher, and hopefully the pleasant weather will make relaxing at the picnic grounds with your platter very enjoyable. More information on line at www.ms50.com.
• CANADA / The ultimate winter ultrarace
The "Yukon Arctic Ultra" will be the ultimate challenge for all of you who really like the cold. Due to the extreme temperatures and conditions of the surroundings this 100 and 300 mile human-powered winter ultrarace will be the toughest of its kind. It will be open to runners, mountainbikers, and cross country skiers, ages 18 and older, men and women. The mode of human-powered transportation must be kept for the entire distance. There will be individual racers and teams of three. On the 10th February 2003 starting in the Whitehorse area you will face a challenge which will be more than just demanding. Temperatures down to minus 40 degrees celsius and even colder, breathtaking scenery and the great winter wilderness of the Yukon will make this race a real adventure. And because the start is one day after the "Yukon Quest", the toughest sled dog race of the world, you will be able to witness the start of this great arctic adventure, too. Then, after having felt the spirit of the Quest, you will head out on to the same trail. You will follow it to Braeburn for the 100 and all the way to Stepping Stone for the 300 mile distance. Race director Robert Pollhammer adds: "We are especially proud to have had and will have the help and advise of some very experienced ultra athletes, amongst those Steve and Rocky Reifenstuhl, Bob Baker and Ann Snoyenbos. Bill Merchant is also part of the effort. He organised the Iditarod Trail Invitational this year, a 350 mile ultra race from Knik Lake to McGrath, Alaska. One of the major issues will be your safety. Even though we are proud to be able to call this the world's toughest human-powered winter ultrarace, the main objective is to have a safe race with all risks involved reduced to a minimum". Some of the measures taken in order to achieve this are: mandatory campout, plane and local doctors on stand-by, only experienced winter (ultra) athletes or those who have completed arctic training will be allowed to race the 300 mile distance.If potential sponsors react as positively as the media and many of the athletes have done, there will be a purse, too. For racers from Europe there will be a package offered which includes not only the entry fee but also the flight from a major European airport, transfers within the Yukon and the hotel stay in Whitehorse. See you in the Yukon. In February 2003.
• BRAZIL / On the streets of São Paulo since 1924
The last day of the year was a celebration for the runners with the 78th edition of "São Silvestre International Road Race". This race, held on the streets of São Paulo since 1924, is the most traditional in Brazil. In this edition, this challenger hilly 15 kilometers road race was even harder because of the temperatures over 30 degrees Celsius. Among the women, the winner was Brazilian Marizete Rezende with the time of 54.02. In the male's competition, Brazilian Marilson dos Santos - fourth place last year - was second place behind the Kenyan Robert Cheruiyot that won the race in 44.59. Source: www.copacabanarunners.net ULTRAMARATHON WORLD'S 2002 GLOBAL RANKINGS
Produced by Andy Milroy & Dan Brannen
Our annual Ultramarathon World Global Ultra Rankings for 2002 attempts to present objective ultra rankings for the year based on head to head competition and a careful assessment of the relative merits of performances across the range of standard ultra events around the world.
WOMEN - 1. Edit Berces of Hungary achieved her No. 1 ranking with one of history's greatest performances. At the Verona 24 Hour in Italy she passed the existing world 100 mile track best with 14:25:45, the 200km best with 18:31:43, and then shattered Sigrid Lomsky's absolute world best for the 24 hours with 250.108km/155 miles 721 yards. In addition, she won the European 24 Hour Challenge with the top road mark of the year, 232.284km/144.3 miles. She also defeated Irina Reutovich over 48 hours, the latter having previously set the second best mark of alltime. Although less successful at shorter distances, Berces also ran three notable 100km marks - 7:57:11 for 6th in the World 100km, 8:03:51 to win the Italian 100km track championships event and 8:19:30 for 9th place in the European championships; 2. Maria Bak of Germany decisively won the Comrades [86.55 km/53.77 miles] in South Africa in 6:14:21, the second fastest time yet on the point-to-point down run [the course alternates downhill and uphill direction every other year]; she was also 4th in the Two Oceans 56km race in South Africa in 3:51:37; 3. Natalia Volgina of Russia was second in the Comrades in 6:17:26 and also won the Two Oceans in 3:38:02 [50km split of 3:16:01]; 4. Elvira Kolpakova of Russia ran the fastest time of the year [7:24:52] to win the European 100km Championship, and finished fourth in the Comrades in 6:41:56; 5. Tatiana Zhyrkova of Russia won the World 100km in 7:37:06 and was second in the Russian 100km Championships in 7:45:29; 6. Irina Reutovich ran the second greatest distance ever in 48 hour event, with 372.415km/ 231.4 miles indoors at Brno, but was subsequently beaten by Berces in the Surgeres race [367.638km/228.4 miles to 344.114km/213.8 miles]. Reutovich also finished second behind Berces with 226.825km/140.9 miles in the European Challenge. She won the 246 km/152.8 mile Spartathlon in Greece in 28:10:48, a new course record by 36 minutes. She was less successful in the shorter events, finishing 15th in the World 100km in 8:40:06; 7. Akiko Sekiya lost to countrywoman Makiko Hotta at the Lake Saroma 100km, running 7:44:39, but only one week earlier she had finished a close second, in 7:38:03, in the World 100km; 8. Makiko Hotta won the Lake Saroma 100km in 7:30:23, the second fastest time of the year; 9. Monica Casiraghi finished behind Sekiya in the World 100km [7:40:00], and second in the European 100km Championships [7:33:14]; 10. Marina Mychlianova of Russia won the Russian 100km Championships in 7:36:32, beating World Champion Zhyrkova, but then lost to her compatriot in the World 100km, finishing fourth in 7:45:56.
MEN - 1. Yiannis Kouros had a remarkable season even by his standards. In February he ran 12:35:48 for 100 miles on the road in New Zealand. He then ran 284.070km/176.51miles for 24 hours in Taiwan on the track in March. Two months later it was 436.702km/272.1 miles in 48 hours at Surgeres. He was beaten in the World 100km, running 7:18:19 for 20th place, but in the longer events he remained in a class of his own. Subsequently he ran 154.733km/96.166 miles in 12 hours in Mexico City in August and the following month he ran 277.402 meters /172.3 miles in 24 hours on the road as a guest in the USA 24-Hour Championship; 2. Vladimir Kotov won the 86.55 km/53.77 miles Comrades in South Africa in 5:30:59, some five minutes off his course record but sufficient to hold off former New York Marathon winner Willie Mtolo. His run was arguably the best mark set over the middle range ultras in 2002; 3. Oleg Kharitonov of Russia broke the 25 year old 100 mile track record of Don Ritchie in a dramatic late race surge that defeated his fellow countryman, Denis Zhyabin. With £5000 at stake, one of the largest prizes on offer in an ultra race in 2002, the two Russians achieved what many before them, including the great Kouros, had failed to do, surpass Ritchie's 11:30 for the distance. Kharitonov's 11:28:03 shows the power of prize money in the modern sport. Kharitonov was also 3rd in the European 100km championships in 6:41:16, won the Russian 50km championships in 2:54:39 and was fourth in the Comrades in 5:34:43; 4. Denis Zhyabin of Russia had a remarkable season for a 22 year old. Finishing second in the European 100km Championships in 6:36:19, he then set the pace for the 100 mile track record, only to be overtaken in the final lap. His final time of 11:29:32 was also inside the former record and he had the satisfaction of establishing a new world best for 150km with 10:34:30; 5. Ryochi Sekiya ran 266.275km/165.4 miles in finishing second to Kouros in the Taiwan 24-Hour. He also won the 246km/152.8 mile Spartathlon in Greece in 23:47:54. At a shorter distance, Sekiya ran 7:25:07 to finished 7th in the Lake Saroma 100km; 6. Jens Lukas ran 267.294km/166 miles to win European 24 Hour Challenge. He did not finish in the Spartathlon; 7. Valmir Nunes, winner of last year's Spartathlon, moved up to the 24 hours with great success, running 270.200km/167.8 miles in Brazil. This race was, however, not as competitive as the European event. Nunes also did not finish the Spartathlon; 8. Willie Mtolo of South Africa was second in the Comrades in 5:33:35 and third in the Two Oceans 56km event 3:12:22 [2:51:56 at 50km]; 9. Mario Fattore of Italy was the surprise winner of World 100km, clocking 6:34:23 - the slowest winning time for the event since 1991 when the race was held on the tough Firenze-Faenza course across the Appennines in Italy. Fattore also won the Italian 50km road championships in 2:57:47; 10. Jorge Aubeso ran the second fastest 100km in the world for the year, 6:32:24 to win in Madrid. He then took third in the Comrades with 5:33:37. After this excellent start, a retirement at the European Championships and a distant third at Bezana in 6:57:44 impacted on his position in the rankings. His loss at the European to Frenchman Pascal Fetizon, who in turn had lost to Fattore in the World 100km, were among the factors taken into account.
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