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FEATURED WORLDWIDE RUNNING NEWS
• JAPAN / Toshinari Takaoka wins Tokyo International Marathon
Breaking away from Teodoro Vega and Akinori Shibutani at 23.8Km and running alone for the next 18.4Km, Toshinari Takaoka won the 2005 "Tokyo International Marathon" in 2:07:41. It was his first marathon victory in five starts. "I am very happy, because I finally won the marathon after so many try". Although it was neither the course record nor national record he had hoped for, it was third successive 2:07 marathon for Takaoka, having run 2:07:59 in the 2003 "Fukuoka Marathon" and 2:07:50 in the 2004 "Chicago Marathon". Having satisfied the requirement set by the Japan AAF (first Japanese in the race with sub-2:09:30 clocking), Takaoka secured the marathon team slot for the upcoming World Championships in Helsinki. "My goal is to be the best in the world, so I will train hard to be the number one" said Takaoka. Finishing second in the race more than three minutes behind was Zebedayo Bayo of Tanzania, the defending "Tokyo-New York Friendship Tokyo International marathon". Two sets of pace setters were brought into the race, because Takaoka felt that 15:05 for each 5Km, the pre-determined pace for the pace setters organizer determined, was too slow. Because Takaoka requested faster pace, two pace setters - Abner Chibu of South Africa and Teodoro Vega of Mexico - were recruited to run the first 5Km in 14:40 followed by 3 minutes for each kilometer until 30Km, while the third pace maker was going to run 15:05 for each 5Km. The race started with six runners (Toshinari Takaoka, Akinori Shibutani, Tomohisa Hagino, Nobuyuki Sato and two pace setters) in the front pack, while the third pace maker pulled along Zebedayo Bayo, Tadayuki Tsutsumi, Takashi Horiguchi and Seiji Kushibe. The lead pack passed 5Km and 10Km checkpoints in 14:36 and 29:32 respectively, close to the pace Takaoka asked for. However, the pace slackened after 10Km. The 11th Km was covered in 3:08, followed by 3:03 for the next kilometer. As promised before the race, Takaoka stayed behind the pace setter, despite slackened pace, and waited for the right moment to break the race open. Just passed 14Km Takaoka moved up to the side of Abner Chibu and said, "Please speed up". The pace picked up temporary from 3:05 for 13th and 14th Km to 2:58 for the 15th Km. However, it soon was back to 3:04 for the 16th Km. First to lose contact with the lead pack was Hagino at 15Km. As the lead pack of five runners passed the halfway in 1:03:42, Chibu left the race. Soon after the half way, Nobuyuki Sato, bronze medalist from Sevilla, also fell behind. At the turn around point just beyond the halfway Horiguchi and Tsutsumi was 30 seconds behind the leaders, while Bayo and Kushibe were further six seconds behind. At 23Km Tsutsumi was left behind Horiguchi. With each stride, Takaoka pulled further and further ahead. After breaking away from the lead pack, Takaoka was able to keep up the average of 3 minutes for each Km until the steep part of the hill. Then the hill began. Takaoka covered the 5Km from 35Km to 40Km, the section that includes over 30m elevation gain in the span of 3Km, in 15:19. Although it is slower than 15:09 Gert Thys recorded in his record run of 2:06:33, it should be noted that only handful of runner have ever broken 16minutes for this 5Km. While most of the runners showed pain through contorted face during the climbing of the hill, Takaoka hardly showed the sign of strain even through the steepest part of the hill. Takaoka covered the last Km in 2:59 and won with 2:07:41. Source: www.arrs.net
• SPAIN / Haile Gebreselassie rules in Europe
On February 6 in Spain, Haile Gebreselassie (Ethiopia) added to his "Almeria Half Marathon" win of a week earlier with a "Granollers Half Marathon" title. As another stepping stone which will include the "Lisbon Half Marathon" on the way to a "Flora London Marathon" appearance, the Ethiopian former 5000 and 10,000m world recordholder left Sammy Tum (Kenya) and Abraham Ayabei (Kenya) after just seven kilometers. Emeterio Valente of the IAAF reports that Gebrselassie, increasing his tempo, particularly on downhills, won in 61:33, with Tum second in 62:09 and Ayabei third in 64:26. Reprinted with permission from "Running Stats" (www.runningstats.com)
• HUNGARY / A hero's welcome
The "Budapest Marathon" was born under the old socialist system and, despite change all around, it has been a constant in the city's sporting calendar ever since. Its success is based upon good organisation and traditional Hungarian hospitality for foreigners. On 14 April 1984 the "Budapest Marathon" started out in life from beside the Népstadion (People's Stadium) - it was the first time that a marathon was run through the Hungarian capital. The sponsor was the Hungarian state travel agency, and 18 foreign runners lined up for that first race. In 1986 the "Budapest Marathon" became the first AIMS race in Eastern Europe - and almost 1000 runners entered the race from 22 countries. The Budapest Marathon Organisation, formed in 1989, took over organisation of the race, and has since grown to handle a dozen other races in Budapest and elsewhere in Hungary. In 1990, a major turning point in the political system allowed events to set an entry fee for the first time. The race changed both its main sponsor and its location in 1993, and welcomed a special hero: Fred Lebow. The organiser of the "New York City Marathon", was of Hungarian origin, and took a nostalgic trip around the course. In 1996 the "Budapest Marathon" was reborn. The most important change was that the race shifted from spring to early autumn - a very pleasant time of year in Budapest. Another milestone was passed in 1998, when the city authorities declared the race to be a special event, and the start and finish area was moved to the city's most beautiful park, Városliget, at Heroes' Square - the equivalent of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate. The colonnaded square is lined by statuary commemorating the heroes of 1000 years of Hungarian history and forms a most imposing backdrop. The course was also modified to its present form: one smaller and one larger lap on both sides of the Danube, along the river embankments. This way the route is almost perfectly flat and goes past the finest attractions of Budapest - considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Only the bridges present gradients, but they are easily overlooked in comparison to the unique sights they offer (the Lánchíd or Chain Bridge is more than 100 years old), and the views to be had along the entire length of the course. The course of the marathon is now fixed: it passes through Pest on the broad tree-lined Andrássy ut, part of the World Heritage Site linked with the Opera House, then to the fine old Lánchíd across the Danube to Buda. It then turns south on the lower embankment, passing the ramparts of Buda Castle, Fisherman's Bastion, and the Buda Hills. At Lágymányosi Bridge, the newest Danube crossing in Budapest, runners turn back towards a more historical bridge, Szabadsághíd (Freedom Bridge), by which they cross back to Pest. Margaret Bridge, Margaret Island, and árpád Bridge follow up, with lots of sights in between, including the Hungarian Parliament and the Academy of Sciences. Throughout the route great panoramic views greet the runners; sometimes particular architectural sights but always against the beautiful natural backdrop of the Buda Hills. The second lap is similar but smaller, and eventually the heroes of the marathon return to Heroes' Square, and a hero's welcome. The next "Budapest Marathon" will be held on October 2, 2005.
• VENEZUELA / San Sebastián Half Marathon
On January 23 in San Cristobal, the "San Sebastián Half Marathon" was dominated by Javier Guarin (Colombia) in 65:30, with José Carrasco (Colombia) second in 66:13, Pedro Mora third in 66:34, Simon Sawe (Kenya) fourth in 66:55, and Julián Berrío (Colombia) fifth in 66:59. Sylvia Mosqueda (Usa) crushed the women's field by more than four minutes with a 76:15 clocking. Reprinted with permission from "Running Stats" (www.runningstats.com)
• TANZANIA / The Kilimanjaro Challenge
A group of runners will travel from the United States to Tanzania in July 2005. This group will attempt to break the world record speed ascent of the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro (elevation 19,400 feet). The current record is held by Italian, Bruno Brunod. In 2001, Brunod made the summit and returned to the main gate in 8 hours, 34 minutes and 52 seconds. The group will be led by Pemba Sherpa, also director of Sherpa Ascent International. The group has put this event together to raise money for the International Mountain Explorers Connection. The International Mountain Explorers Connection is a non-profit organization founded to promote responsible and sustainable connections between travelers and the people of developing mountain regions. In addition, they have created a porter assistance program in Africa and Nepal. Since its founding in 1996, over 1000 African porters have been outfitted with gear and an additional 1000 have attended English, first aid and Aids education classes. This is the first run up Kilimanjaro and Sherpa Ascent International has received the first ever permit for this route up this which has a 14,000 foot elevation gain and is 42 miles in length total. There will also be a trekking group going to support the runners. The trekking group will climb Mount Kilimanjaro (in a six day expedition) and explore Africa on a safari. The event is open to all runners and trekkers. For more information contact Pemba Sherpa at email@example.com or visit www.mountainexplorers.org.
• ILLINOIS (USA) / A training program for runners to benefit those with blood cancers
Get in shape, travel to exciting destinations, meet fun people, and help others. You can accomplish all this while raising funds to find a cure for blood cancers! Join The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training program, the largest endurance training program in the nation. Team In Training caters to all athletic levels from novice to seasoned athletes while providing participants with the fitness training and group support needed to succeed. Over the years, team members have trained 220,000 raising $500 million all for a cure. For five months, team members train with certified coaches, receive mentoring from past participants, attend local workshops on nutrition, injury prevention, race strategy, fundraising skills and build lasting friendships. Cheering them along is a group of special motivators known as patient honorees who are local blood cancer patients. To learn more about Team In Training, call the Illinois chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at 1-800-466-0344 or visit www.teamintraining.org/il. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, with over 60 chapters nationwide, is the world's largest private organization concerned solely with funding research towards blood related cancers and improving the quality of life for patients and their families. As a result of ongoing research, overall survival rates for leukemia have tripled. The Society is dedicated to being one of the top-rated volunteer health agencies in terms of dollars that directly fund the mission: 75% of the society's expenditures are directed to research, patient and community services, advocacy and education.
• FLORIDA (USA) / Best of the U.S. Championship
The "Coca-Cola Classic Sprint Triathlon" in St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city, will host the "Best of the U.S. Amateur Triathlete Competition's" Florida Qualifier. The resident amateur male and female winners will advance to the "Best of the U.S." Championship on picturesque Lake Winnipesaukee in Gilford (New Hampshire) on August 20. There they will race against the winners of the other 49 State qualifiers. The fastest man and woman at that prestigious event will be crowned "Best of the U.S.!". The St. Augustine race will be contested on April 30 and is the season opener of the popular long-running "Coca-Cola Classic Sprint Series". "We are proud to have the kick-off event of such an entrenched and competitive series as our Florida Qualifier" says Best of the U.S. PR Director, Jerry MacNeil, who adds, "St. Augustine will surely be one of the most hotly contested qualifying events in our program". For more information on this event, visit www.bestoftheusathletes.com. Source: www.transitiontimes.com
• MARYLAND (USA) / Research study of first time marathoners
Several months back Bea Carson was doing a research study of the non-physical changes experienced by first time marathoners. That research is nearing completion and has raised a number of questions. In an attempt to answer some of those questions she need participants for a new study. This study is open to all runners and walkers - still looking at the non-physical elements associated with running and walking. To participate go to www.bke-associates.com and select the "Survey" button. Within a month the results from the marathoner research will be posted under the "Research" button - those that participate will receive the results via e-mail. For this study the survey is completed online. If you would like a copy of the results please be sure to include your email address.
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