Records could fall in marathon event

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Records could fall in marathon event


It has become an annual autumn tradition in Seoul. The JoongAng Seoul Marathon 2009 will once again feature some of the world’s top runners.

Six world-class runners will attempt to break the race record of 2 hours 8 minutes 13 seconds, set in 2006.

Since the inaugural season in 1999, many world-class runners have participated and this year will be no different.

Six of the top runners competing in this year’s race are from Kenya.

Felix Limo is the most recognized of the group. The 29 year old holds a personal best of 2 hours 6 minutes 14 seconds and has won three of world top five marathon races: Berlin in 2004, Chicago in 2005 and London in 2006.

This is Limo’s first time racing in Korea and he will be pacing himself for the 2 hour 6 minute-mark again.

When considering recent results, the player with the best chance to finish first is David Kiyeng. The 26 year old placed third in Paris in April with a personal best of 2 hours 6 minutes 26 seconds. Kiyeng has been steadily improving over the years and if he manages to perform to his best, he can not only win the race but possibly set an event record.

The dark horse is David Mandago. The veteran runner was locked in a tight battle in Paris with Kiyeng but eventually finished sixth with a time of 2 hours 6 minutes 53 seconds.

The 34 year old is a savvy veteran with an outstanding ability to manage races. In addition, Steven Kibet, Jacob Yator and Francis Larabal are all capable of vying for the top position.

Organized by the JoongAng Ilbo, the race is only one of two marathon races in Korea recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations under the Silver Road Race category. The IAAF started attributing labels to races in 2008.

The sport’s governing body takes into consideration factors such as organizational standards, course measurement, safety, medical standards and media services.

The race is set to start at 8 a.m. at Jamsil Stadium, southern Seoul. With the weather forecast at 8 degrees Celsius (46.4 degrees Fahrenheit) in the morning, conditions will be ideal.

In addition to the race record, this year’s group of runners can challenge the domestic record of 2 hours 7 minutes 6 seconds set at the 2004 Seoul International Marathon by Gert Thys of South Africa.

An increase in prize money will also serve as a motivational factor for the runners.

The top runner this year will receive $70,000, an increase of $20,000 from last year’s event. In addition to that prize, a runner who manages to finish the race under the 2 hour 6 minute-mark will receive a bonus of $30,000 and a finish under two hours and seven minutes will net a $10,000 bonus.

By Jeong Young-jae, Jason Kim []
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