Kenyan runners have taken out the Men’s and Women’s Blackmores Sydney Marathon in cool and windy conditions which blew away any chance of a course record.
Record numbers of runners took part in this year’s event, with more than 37,000 people running over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and finishing at the Sydney Opera House.
Elijah Kemboi of Kenya won his first Blackmores Sydney Marathon with a time of 02:13:37 He and Ugandan runner Thomas Ayeko stuck together for 40km of the 42km course until Kemboi made a break for it 2km from the Sydney Opera House finish line. Ayeko crossed the line just two minutes and 14 seconds behind Kemboi with a finish time of 02:15:52, followed by Birhanu Addisie of Ethiopia in third place (02:16:25).
Kemboi said there was advantage running with Ayeko.
“It was good to be together. We were assisting and pushing each other for the whole race and 2km from the finish I decided to go,” said Kemboi.
“It’s a hard but beautiful course. It was also hard today due to the wind and it was cold.
“This is my first time in Australia and I would like to come back to race again.”
Mercy Kibarus of Kenya was the first woman to cross the marathon finish line with a time of 02:31:24. Second woman was Eunice Jeptoo, also of Kenya with a time of 02:32:22 and third place went to Zinash Debebe Getachew of Ethiopia (02:33:53).
“I’m very pleased with the win and I’m looking forward to coming back to Sydney next year,” said Kibarus.
In the Blackmores Sydney Wheelchair Marathon, Kurt Fearnley posted his 12th win in this event, a favourite on his competition calendar. Fearnley crossed the line with a time of 01:47:30. Jake Lappin of ACT was second (01:53:03) and Richard Colman of Victoria finished third (02:19:45). First woman wheelchair went to Eliza Ault-Connell from NSW at 01:57:55, with Christie Dawes of NSW second.
Fearnley also found the wind and cold conditions challenging and stuck with Lappin for most of the race.
“I pushed with Jake for the first 30km and I actually felt better towards the end,” said Fearnley.
“I haven’t done a marathon since April so it was nice to get a hit out – it’s nice to know I’ve still got some km’s in my arms!”
This year’s event also served as the Australian Marathon Championships. South Australia’s John Csongei was the first Australian man to finish in a time of 02:30:39 and is now the 2018 Men’s Australian Marathon Champion. Second was Wayne Spies of Queensland (02:33:15) and Brendan Davies of NSW was third (02:34:10).
First Australian woman in the marathon was Kerri Hidge of Queensland with a time of (02:49:08), followed by Gemma Jenkins of NSW (02:49:22) and third Australian woman to finish was Erchana Murray-Bartlett (02:53:00).
Running a marathon is hard enough, but some entrants were also chasing a Guinness World Record. Australia gained four new Guinness World Records title holders today as they ran their way history at the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival. The runners were tasked with achieving record-breaking times dressed in quirky costumes, from a monk, to a French maid and a surfer complete with flip flops and a surf board. The first Guinness World Records runner to finish was St. Ives local Andrew Heyden, who completed the marathon in 01:43:06 while dressed as a monk, smashing the previous record by 00:20:26s.
Ben St Lawrence (NSW) claimed men’s victory in the Blackmores Sydney Half Marathon (01:05:17) with a sprint to the finish ahead of Japan’s Tatsuya Sato who claimed second place (01:05:18) and Matthew Hudson (NSW) in third (01:05:49).
“Three of us broke away early,” said St Lawrence.
“Tatsuya was running smart and sat behind me and Matt.
“Tatsuya waited until about 1km to go and sprinted, but I managed to hold on and got him in the last 100m.”
First woman to finish the Half Marathon was Belinda Martin of NSW with a time of 01:15:52 ahead of Japan’s Hirono Shintate (01:18:04) in second and third place went to Fiona Yates (NSW) with a time of 01:21:18.
In the 10km Blackmores Bridge Run, first across the line was Kevin Batt of NSW in 00:30:14, followed by Bradley Milosevic (NSW) with a time of 00:30:27 and third man was Kieren Tall (NSW) in a time of 00:31:32. Celia Sullohern (NSW) was the first women to finish the Bridge Run (00:33:25), followed by Lara Hamilton of NSW (00:35:12) and in third was Beth Croft of NSW with a time of 00:36:09.
Participants in today’s event will raise more than $1.5 million for Australian charities, bringing the total raised by the event since its inception in 2001 to more than $20 million.
Blackmores Sydney Running Festival Event Director Wayne Larden said this year’s event was bigger and better than ever.
“More than 37,219 people have set a new record of participation this year, reinforcing the event’s status as a world class running festival and one of the world’s greatest marathons” said Mr Larden.
“Each year the event attracts thousands of runners from overseas and interstate, injecting more than $12 million into the local economy, while more than 2.5 billion people globally watch the spectacular vision of the marathon course winding around some of Sydney’s most picturesque features including the harbour sparkling on a sunny Spring day.
“While the marathon attracts global attention, the thousands of people running and walking in the half marathon, Bridge Run and Family Fun Run reflect the great spirit of this event.”
TOP THREE RESULTS IN ALL EVENTS:
BLACKMORES SYDNEY MARATHON
- Elijah Kemboi (Kenya) 02:13:37
- Thomas Ayeko (Uganda) 02:15:52
- Birhanu Addisie (Ethiopia) 02:16:25
- Mercy Kibarus (Kenya) 02:31:24
- Eunice Jeptoo (Kenya) 02:32:22
- Zinash Debebe Getachew (Ethiopia) 02:33:53
BLACKMORES SYDNEY WHEELCHAIR MARATHON
- Kurt Fearnley (Hamilton, NSW) 01:47:30
- Jake Lappin (Belconnen, ACT) 01:53:03
- Richard Colman (Highton, VIC) 02:19:45
- Eliza Ault-Connell (Albury, NSW) 01:57:55
- Christie Dawes (NSW)
BLACKMORES SYDNEY HALF MARATHON
- Ben St Lawrence (Lavender Bay, NSW) 01:05:17)
- Tatsuya Sato (Japan) 01:05:18
- Matthew Hudson (Waverly, NSW) 01:05:49
- Belinda Martin (Sylvania, NSW) 01:15:52
- Hirono Shintate (Japan) 01:18:04
- Fiona Yates (Longueville, NSW) 01:21:18
BLACKMORES BRIDGE RUN
- Kevin Batt (Ryde, NSW) 00:30:14
- Bradley Milosevic (Kings Park, NSW) 00:30:27
- Kieren Tall (Terrey Hills, NSW) 00:31:32
- Celia Sullohern (Ashfield, NSW) 00:33:25
- Lara Hamilton (Castlecrag, NSW) 00:35:12
- Beth Croft (Roseville, NSW) 00:36:09
Full results available at www.sydneyrunningfestival.com.au