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Freeman Cebu Sports

Kenyans still the kings

SPORTS EYE - Raffy Uytiepo - The Freeman

In my last column, I wrote that the Ethiopian runners are  on track to unseat the Kenyans as the new kings of the road. In the Berlin Marathon for instance, three Ethiopians occupied the top four places led by Adella Guye who upset the favorites, including Kenensisa Bekele, who came in second and Tadu Abate who pocketed third. It was the same story in the distaff side, with Gotytom Gebreslase winning the race with compatriots  Helen Tola and Demise Shure coming in third and fifth respectively. The Ethiopians continued their string of victories in the London Marathon when Sisay Lemma won over Kenya’s  Vincent Kipchuma while another  Ethiopian, Mosinet Geremew, wound up third. But Joyiline Jepkosgei of Kenya, ward off the Ethiopians Azimeraw Degitu and Ashete Bekere to claim the crown.  In the Chicago Marathon, Seifu Tura of Ethiopia once again served notice that indeed, the Ethiopians are for real when  he won the crown to frustrate the United States’ top runner Galen Rupp.  The American was a doubtful starter   after finishing 8th in the Tokyo Olympics Marathon.  Ruth Chepngetitch, however made it sure that  the Ethiopian women would not be in the podium.  Emma Bates and Sara Hall took second ad third places.  The next race was the 25thstaging of the Boston Marathon. Again the Kenyans ward off the challenge of the Ethiopians with Benson Kipruto winnning the men’s title to relegate Lemi Berhanu and Jemal Yimer of Ethiopia to second and third places.  It was a sweep in the women’s division with Diana Kipyokei leading the Kenyans to the first four places, Eden Kaplagat, second, Mary Ngugi (third) and Monicah Ngige (fourth).  the best the Ethiopians could muster was fifth place, with Netsane Gudeta. Three more Ethiopians occupied seventh to ninth places, Workenesh Edesa, Atsede Baysa and Birutayayit Eshetu.

Doc Yong

Speaking of Boston, our very own Doc “Yong”  Larrazabal, ran the longest running marathon in the world virtually, clocking 3:53:50 for his second marathon in a week.  To recall, Doc Yong ran the Virgin Money London 2021 Marathon last October 3, the biggest virtual race this year which attracted over 50,000 runners worldwide. It was Doc Yong’s fifth virtual race besides completing 69 actual marathons.  He clocked 3:37 while running in heavy rain. Doc Yong’s greatest accomplishment was finishing seven marathons in seven continents in seven days, to become the first Pinoy to be inducted to the elite 8 Continents Marathon Club.  In 2019, Doc Yong finished the Antarctica Ice Marathon in Union Glacier, Antarctica, running in sub zero temperatures and regarded as one of the coldest, if not the coldest marathons in the world. Yong, completed the race in six hours 16 minutes.  When I asked Doc Yong  if he’s running the New York City Marathon virtually next month, he thanked me for reminding him and showed me his accepted form.  Well, Doc like Diana Ross song “Aint No Mountain High Enough”, it looks like you’ve conquered them all and just remain focus on your target,100 marathons.

KENYA

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