2016 BRIGHTON MARATHON WEEKEND ROUND UP
For release: Sunday 17 April 2016
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Maiyo defends his title as Momanyi completes a Kenyan double
Duncan Maiyo overcame a tightening left hamstring to retain the men’s title at the 2016 Brighton Marathon this morning, while Grace Momanyi made it a Kenyan double as she claimed the women’s crown with her first ever marathon victory at the IAAF Bronze Label Race.
Maiyo made the most of the glorious sunshine on Britain’s south coast as he stormed clear of his rivals over the final miles win by almost a minute from Raymond Chemungor in 2:09:56, a personal best for the second year in a row but an agonising 31 seconds outside the course record.
It was an impressive victory for the 30-year-old who exploded away from a group of four, clocking 4:44 and 4:41 for the 23rd and 24th miles as he strode towards the finish along Brighton’s famous seafront, spurred on by large crowds and the nagging pain in the top of his left leg.
“My aim was to break the record but I missed it by a few seconds because I had hamstring problems from 30km,” said Maiyo. “If it wasn’t for my injury I would have run 2:08 and broken the record.”
Chemungor had started as the fastest man in the field, but despite leading for much of the race, he had to settle for second when the champion put his foot down on the long run for home.
“In the end I am happy to be second,” said Chemungor, who has won the Lens and Toulouse Marathons in recent years. “I tried to take control but Duncan was very fast at the end. I thought I had a chance but it was very difficult at that stage.”
He crossed the line in 2:10:55 while Edwin Kiptoo completed the Kenyan medal sweep, finishing third in a personal best of 2:11:29 ahead of Joel Kimutai.
If Maiyo’s victory was a painful one, Momanyi’s was even more agonising as the former Commonwealth Games 10,000m champion slowed dramatically from 2:27 pace at 30k, where she took the lead from Ethiopian Asnakech Mengistu, to cross the line with a grimace across her face in 2:34:16.
Momanyi was barely at jogging pace as she struggled over the line, explaining later that she simply ran out of energy over the last five miles.
“The last 7k was really hard,” she said. “I am happy to get my first marathon win but the end was really tough. I was feeling very strong until 35k but then I just had no energy at all.”
Behind her, the also tiring Mengistu hung on to second place, clocking 2:35:42 while last year’s champion Pennina Wanjiru had her own day to forget. The Kenyan dropped off the pace before half way and eventually finished third in 2:43:38.
The men’s race
The seven elite men set off from Withdean Park under cool, cloudless skies knowing that the perfect running conditions could make for fast times on the flat course.
They split into two groups early on with Chemungor and Kimutai tucked in behind the pacemakers alongside South Africa’s Xolisa Tyali as the champion bided his time some 20m back with the two Kiptoos, Edwin and Timothy, plus Sammy Nyokaye.
The leaders clipped through 10k in 30:33 but the pace slowed through the second 10 (20k in 61:34) and seven were back together as they passed half way in 64:56, almost half a minute outside their target but inside course record pace.
Seven became six as they turned off the seafront up Grand Avenue to Church Road and Tyali soon slipped off the back as they passed 25k in 77:06. Chemungor, the fastest man in the field, forged ahead as they reached the seafront at Hove Lawns where the pacemakers dropped out.
Maiyo, Kimutai and Edwin Kiptoo were quickly on his heels and these four passed 30k in 1:32:30, still 10 seconds up on the record. Chemungor tried to take charge but Maiyo wouldn’t give an inch and it was he who kicked away along the Coast Road shortly after passing 35k in 1:48:17.
At first he seemed to be testing his rivals, but Maiyo’s rolling, punchy action took him further and further away. With the shining waters of the English Channel now stretched out under full sun to his right hand side, Maiyo powered on through 40k in 2:03:19.
Ignoring the tightening muscle in his left thigh, he broke the finish tape – held by former Olympic medallist Brendan Foster and the Brighton and Hove Mayor, councillor Lynda Hyde – before praising the Brighton crowds for cheering him home.
“I was struggling at the end but the crowd helped me to win again,” said Maiyo. “I could hear my name and people saying ‘Run, run, go’. It was not easy but the crowd makes the Brighton Marathon really special. I pushed on when I felt the pain and am happy to win for a second time.”
The women’s race
The women also started quickly with the four main contenders locked together through the early miles. They passed 5k in 14:58 and 10k in 30:35.
That proved to be too quick for defending champion Wanjiru who lost touch with her three rivals after an hour’s running and she left Momanyi, Mengistu and the second Ethiopian Halima Hussein to open a lead as they cruised through half way in 74:09, up on their target of 74:15.
Mengistu looked strong at the front and it was she who made the first move, pulling a few strides clear after 25k. Momanyi had been tracking the two Ethiopians, and she swiftly covered the gap, passing the struggling Hussein who soon dropped out.
Momanyi has finished second in Dublin and Florence, but was determined not to let this one slip from her grasp. She took the lead at 30k and looked all set to break the course record of 2:28:50 until she hit the wall just 5k later.
From then on it was just about reaching the end and Momanyi dug deep, taking 20:17 for the 5k stretch to 40k and another 10 minutes to the finish. It was slow and hard, but just enough.
“I am not happy with the time but I know that today I gave everything,” she said. “I was just praying ‘Oh God, I want to win.’
“It was the toughest marathon I have done but the crowds really helped me in the final miles when I was very tired. I was always sure I could finish and kept thinking ‘I am almost there’.
“I never thought I was going to drop out and I will learn from this. It was still a good experience.”
The marathon winners may have missed their records, but there was a new best set early on race day morning when Adam Hickey broke the men’s course record to win the BM10k, the domestic 10 kilometre curtain-raiser to the main race.
Hickey exacted revenge on last year’s winner Jonny Taylor to make it third time lucky after finishing runner-up for two years in a row. The British cross country international from Southend tailed the defending champion for 8k before bursting past the Morpeth Harrier on the run-in along the sun-bathed seafront.
He crossed the line in 29 minutes 3 seconds, a healthy eight seconds inside Nick McCormick’s two-year-old course record and worth a tidy £1,000 bonus to go with his £500 winner’s cheque.
“I’ve been second, second and now first here,” said Hickey afterwards. “And I’ve run PBs every time. It’s great. I’ll have to come back next year and take another chip off it.
“I just like being by the beach, I guess. It’s a good course here and the atmosphere is great.
“Jonny set a good pace early on and then it was a bit cat and mouse in the later stages. I felt good in the last kilometre and when I saw the clock that spurred me on.”
Taylor beat Hickey by a few strides in 2015 but despite leading for much of the race, he had to be satisfied with second this time in 29:12, matching exactly his time 12 months ago. Paul Martelletti was third in a PB of 29:29, a good omen for the London Marathon next Sunday.
Gemma Steel was an easy winner of the women’s title in 34:11, some way short of Alyson Dixon’s course record of 32:35 but a confident return to winning ways for the former European cross country champion after a recent debilitating chest infection.
“I was a bit disappointed with the time but it gives me something to work at,” said Steel, who’s clocked 31:27 at her best. “I’m just turning a corner from my illness so it was hard running on my own today.
“It was difficult to pace myself being so far ahead. I felt strong to 5k but then my legs were heavy at the end. I need as many races as I can now to get fit again.”
Eighteen-year-old Martha Coyle was the surprise athlete in second place, clocking a big PB of 36:18, and while Izzy Coomber was third in 36:36.
Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens Mini Mile Races
The marathon may have been run in under blue skies, but the weekend action started in hail, wind and rain on Saturday with the Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens Mini Mile Races when 2,500 young people raced around Preston Park.
Despite the weather, however, there were course records for some of the youngsters as no fewer than four new marks were set on the damp park pathways.
Henry Yelling set the ball rolling in the morning when he won the boys’ race for 9 and 10-year-olds with 5:44, followed swiftly by Maia Hardman who won the under 18 women’s race in 5:13, just five seconds ahead of Almi Nerurkar who also broke the record.
Ben Brown set a new record for 11 and 12 year-old boys with a winning time of 5:44, while six girls went inside the record for 9 and 10-year-old girls, headed by Eleanor Strevens who clocked 5:54.
If Saturday proved to be a cold wet start to Brighton Marathon Weekend then Sunday provided a brilliant finish as 2,310 ran the BM10k and a record 10,947 started the Marathon, the biggest field in the event’s seven-year history.
“This has been a superb Brighton Marathon Weekend,” said Event Director Tom Naylor. “We had a personal best for defending champion Duncan Maiyo, a course record for Adam Hickey in the BM10k and a record field as the Brighton public turned out in their thousands to cheer on all our #BrightonHeroes.
“Even the awful weather on Saturday couldn’t damped the festival spirit and today has been a glorious celebration of running in the city.”