FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon Report
Losing a marathon by one second last year taught Dejere Abera of Ethiopia a
lesson that he put to good use this morning, when he won the Standard
Chartered Hong Kong Marathon – an IAAF Bronze Label event - by less than a
second. Indeed so tight and exciting was the men's finish that Eliud
Cheptei in second place shared Dejere's winning time of 2.11.27, while two
more Kenyans, Cosmas Kyeva and Julius Maisei were just one second each
Dejere improved the long standing course record by one minute and 42sec,
but his colleague, Misiker Demissie took pride of place in that department
when her runaway victory in the women's race, in 2.30.12, took all of three
and a half minutes from last year's course record.
Given the tough course here, and the inevitable humidity, around 90% at one
stage, albeit with reasonable temperatures of 16-19C (61-66F), the times
were never going to be of the order of last week's Dubai record breaking
spree. But, like Dubai this was another Ethiopian double header to relish,
and remind the Kenyans that they're not going to get all their own way in
The Hong Kong organisers eschew pacing, but with over a dozen men together
at halfway, and eight still in contention past 35k, combined with some of
the most clement conditions in race history, a men's record was always on
the cards. And not before time some would say, Ethiopian Belay Wolashe's
2.13.09 had lasted since the second edition of the event, in 1998.
When the leading quartet broke away with 40k in sight, it was always Dereje
who was forcing it from the front, mindful he said later of that one second
defeat in Ottawa last year to Laban Moiben of Kenya. Dereje managed to get
a 10 metres lead two or three times in the last kilometre, but though he
was pulled back each time, and then balked by an errant cyclist on the last
turn into the finish in Victoria Park, he never looked like losing at that
"It wasn't a problem," said an ebullient Dereje, though it wasn't clear
whether he was talking of the cyclist or the three close pursuers, "I knew
by then I could win. This is my first time in Hong Kong, but I love it".
And so he should, his win netted him $50,000 with five figure time bonuses.
Though Cheptei shadowed him through the finish line, the Kenyan admitted he
never felt he could win. "He was too strong, I was trying to go with him,
but that was to make sure I stayed ahead of the third guy". Like several of
his compatriots last year, Cheptei paid his own way here, but the $1500
investment paid off handsomely, when he picked up $20,000 and a share of
the time bonus.
There was more confusion over Misiker's change of name than her running
tactics. It seems that the Ethiopian had an unhappy time running for
Bahrain under the name of Teyba Naser and has reverted to a full Ethiopian
name of Misiker Mekonnin Demissie, and has been living with husband Zereu
Kelele in Albuquerque, New Mexico for some time.
There was no debate about her victory though. She led from the start, and
though she had colleague Shitaye Gemechu and Kenyan Winfred Nyansikera
right behind until past halfway, when she accelerated at 30k, she ran right
away from them.
"It's a very hard course, and it was a little humid, but I thought I could
win from 30k," she said, "I'd like to run Boston now (April), because last
year I had to drop out. I'd like to run in the Olympics eventually, but
Ethiopia has many strong women. It will have to be the next one in Brazil".
Both her pursuers had other problems, Shitaye finished with a one shoe full
of blood from a toe injury, and Nyansikera had to stop for a vomiting fit.
But Shitaye just managed to stay ahead to take second, 2.31.44, to
1 Dereje ABERA ETH 2.11.27 (record)
2 Eliud CHEPTEI KEN 2.11.27
3 Cosmas KYEVA KEN 2.11.28
4 Julius MAISEI KEN 2.11.28
5 George NGETICH KEN 2.12.19
6 Lilan KIPROP KEN 2.12.42
7 Haile HAJA ETH 2.12.43
8 Nigussie CHALA ETH 2.13.17
9 Patrick KOECH KEN 2.13.19
10 Nelson ROTICH KEN 2.13.33
1 Misiker DEMISSIE ETH 2.30.12 (record)
2 Shitaye GEMECHU ETH 2.31.44
3 Winfred NYANSIKERA KEN 2.31.47
4 KIM Kum-Ok DPR KOREA 2.32.48
5 Datu Zehara KEDIR ETH 2.34.14
6 Viola BOR CHEPKETING KEN 2.37.11
7 Goitetom HAFTU ETH 2.39.43
8 Malika BENLAFKIR MOR 2.41.22
9 Mariia TSKAIA KRG 2.49.41
10 THI Bin Pham VTN 2.56.11