Gebrselassie beats Radcliffe in Vienna

Gebrselassie beats Radcliffe in Vienna

VIENNA - The Associated Press
Gebrselassie beats Radcliffe in Vienna

Ethiopia’s long distance runner Haile Gebrselassie (L) and British marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe pose for photographers after crossing the finish line. AP photo

Haile Gebrselassie won a special half-marathon event ahead of the Vienna City Marathon yesterday after chasing and overtaking Paula Radcliffe, who started the race 7 minutes, 52 seconds earlier.

The Ethiopian great overtook Radcliffe after 15.3 kilometers (9.5 miles) and finished in 1 hour, 52 seconds. The Briton, who used the exhibition event as a test for the London Olympic marathon in August, timed 1:12:03.

“It was not good at all for me,” said Radcliffe, who recently suffered from bronchitis. “I felt not well from the sixth, seventh kilometer on but the athmosphere was great so I definitely wanted to finish the race.” In the regular marathon, Henry Sugut of Kenya set a course record by winning in 2 hours, 6 minutes, 58 seconds for his second victory in Vienna after also winning in 2010. It was the first marathon on Austrian soil to be completed in under 2:07.

Fate Tola of Ethiopia won the women’s race for a second straight year, finishing in 2:26:39.

Radcliffe’s head start of 7:52 equaled the difference between her and Gebrselassie’s personal bests over the 21.1-kilometer (13.1-mile) distance.

Radcliffe’s training over the past two weeks was disrupted by the bronchitis and she considered withdrawing from the Vienna event.

During the chase race, the 38-year-old Briton’s advantage was reduced by more than 30 seconds every kilometer.

“I am sorry I couldn’t do better today, probably because of my illness,” Radcliffe said. “I knew I didn’t have the best chances coming into the race because of my bronchitits and the antibiotics. But still, that should have made a difference of maybe one minute, not two or three.” Radcliffe was not hampered by her breathing as “that was calm, no problem. But my legs didn’t want to go faster.” Radcliffe said she planned to take a week off to fully recover before starting her Olympic preparations with marathon training in the Pyrenees.

“(Today’s race) should have been a test before going into marathon training,” she said. “But with my illness, this was not a real test as it didn’t go well at all.” Gebrselassie, who turns 39 on Wednesday, was satisfied with his performance despite missing out on his winning time last year by 34 seconds.

“The race was good, it was a bit cold and windy,” Gebrselassie said. “It was a nice race. I am happy.” The two-time Olympic 10,000-meter gold medalist had not expected to overtake Radcliffe with six kilometers to go to the finish.

“Paula was feeling not so fantastic today,” he said. “I thought she would be able to keep it up until the final kilometer but it was an early catch. I just said, ‘Paula, hurry up!’ when I passed her.” In the men’s marathon race, Sugut accelerated in the final kilometers to shrug off fellow Kenyans Gilbert Yegon and John Kiprotich, who won the event last year.

Yegon came 40 seconds behind in second and Kiprotich was another 6 seconds back in third in a field dominated by Kenya, with Arthur Kozlowski of Poland in eighth place as the top athelete from outside Kenya.

Sugut said his victory was the result of recently intensified training in an attempt to finish under 2:08.
“I have trained especially for this race,” Sugut said. “I remember I won in 2010 and I wanted to repeat that. I am so happy that I did it ... My winning time is very important to me.”

Turkey’s Haydar second in Paris

PARIS - Agence France-Presse

Turkey’s Sultan Haydar came second after Ethiopia’s Tirfi Beyene in the women’s Paris marathon yesterday.

Beyene came home to breast the tape in a new record time for the Paris renewal of 2 hours 21 minutes 39 seconds. Beyene came home ahead of Haydar (2hr 25:09.) and Ethiopia’s Makda Harun (2hr 26:46).

Beyene improved on the previous best of 2hr 22:02 set by compatriot Astede Bayisa in 2010.
Kenyan runner Stanley Biwott won the men’s Paris marathon yesterday in a record time of 2 hours, 5 minutes, 12 seconds to add to his victory in March’s half-marathon.

The 26-year-old bettered the previous best time for the Paris marathon of 2hr 05:47 set by compatriot Vincent Kipruto in the 2009 edition.

Biwott attacked at the 30km mark and came home more than a minute ahead of Ethiopian duo Raji Assefa and Sisay Jisa.

“I felt really good in the first half of the race,” said Biwott.

“I knew it was a really strong field, and it was only when I broke away I understood that I would win.”