FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kelai-Jufar re-match highlights strongest men's field for
9th annual Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, September 28th.
TORONTO. September 8th. The promise of an excellent re-match between 31
year-old returning champion, John Kelai of Kenya, and 24 year old Tariku
Jufar of Ethiopia, highlights the strongest-ever men's field for the
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, announced today for the 9th
edition, to be run on September 28th.
Kelai is an athlete who knows how to win.
He created major excitement across Canada last year when he triumphed in a
thrilling, come-from-behind, sprint to the line over fellow countryman
Daniel Rono. His time of 2:09:30 was the fastest marathon ever on Canadian
soil. It eclipsed the previous All-comers mark of 2:09:55 that had stood
for 31 years since the Montreal Olympics in 1976 -- run 4 months before
Kelai was born. Kelai and Rono made Scotia Toronto Waterfront one of only
four sub 2:10 marathons in North America in 2007 and helped propel the
event into the top ranks of world marathons with the awarding of an IAAF
Silver Label for 2008.
Since last Fall, Kelai has maintained his winning ways, running to victory
in Mumbai for the second year in a row, in January. Again, he used his
patented strong finish to defeat a young Ethiopian, Tariku Jufar, by a
scant 5 seconds, 2:12:23 to 2:12:28. This was only 20 seconds off the
course record at Mumbai and reminiscent of his thrilling, 6-second victory
at Toronto Waterfront ‘07. Jufar then went on to record an impressive
2:08:11, for 3rd place in Hamburg in April. Daniel Rono was 2nd place
again, in Rotterdam this Spring, but in a remarkable 2:06:58. Jufar now has
the time, but no victories; Kelai clearly knows how to win. "I am training
hard for Toronto Waterfront and will be ready to defend my title, and run a
new PR [2:09:09, Eindhoven 2005]," says Kelai. It promises to be a fine
Thanks to Scotiabank sponsorship, the Toronto Waterfront prize purse has
been increased again for 2008, to $20,000 for first place, with money going
down to 8th in the Open division. In addition, Scotiabank is also offering
the extra $20,000 cash bonuses for new "fastest time on Canadian soil"
records that were so alluring last year-- now sub 2:09:30 for men and sub
2:26:01 for women. The men's bonus will be increased to $25,000 if the new
mark is under 2:09:00. The total purse is just over $180,000, plus time
The increased purse and growing reputation of the flat, fast, Waterfront
course as a place where young up-and-comers can get a fast time, have
attracted the event's deepest men's field to date. Besides Kelai, Kenya
will be well represented by Peter Kiprotich, Jonathan Yego, Phillip Sanga,
Kenneth Mungara, David Tarus and Samuel Ndereba. The 29-year old Kiprotich,
from Iten, ran his PR of 2:08:49 last October in Frankfurt, placing third.
Yego, just 30 years old, won Rome on a windy morning this March in his best
time of 2:09:58 -- winning a good battle with Sanga who was 2nd in
2:10:02.The 27 year-old Tarus was 6th at Rome in a best of 2:11:18. Mungara
also knows how to win, crossing the line first in Prague in May, after a
2:10:37 for 2nd at Tiberius in January. Samuel Ndereba, younger brother of
Olympic silver medalist Catherine "The Great", has run only one previous
marathon, a 2:17:04 for 9th in the "monsoon" that was Boston '07, where
Robert K. Cheruiyot ran 2:14 for victory. Ndereba's 61:50 half PR, and
good, build-up performances at Falmouth and The Crim this summer suggest he
is ready to run in the sub-2:10 pack.
Besides Jufar, Ethiopia will also be represented by Amersisa Ketema; Tomas
Abyu, now running for "Team England" in the International Team Challenge at
the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront, is originally from Arsi, emigrating to
Manchester in 1999. Ketema finally faded to 4th in Mumbai [2:13:29] in
January, behind Kelai and Jufar, after staying with them until a decisive
incline at 35k. Abyu is definitely running with something to prove in his
new English vest. He had a huge breakthrough last autumn, when he ran 4th
at the Great North Run on September 30th, in 62:50, behind Martin Lel,
Sammy Wanjiri and Hendrick Ramaala; then went on to finish 2nd at Dublin in
2:10:37. "Tomas Tanks It! Abyu looks Beijing bound," shouted the front page
of Athletics Weekly-- only to discover that the course was not IAAF
recognized and so could not be considered for selection. A bout of
bronchitis just before London in April finished off Tomas' Olympic dreams.
"Of course I was disappointed after London.... But I'm only 29, and I knew
there would be other opportunities. I think I'm capable of a sub 2:10 at
Toronto Waterfront, with a 2:08 in the not-too-distant future".
"We're delighted to have John Kelai back, and such a strong field around
him," said Race Director Alan Brookes. With so many good guys, it could be
anybody's day. With Paul Kimugul and Charles Koech, we've really improved
our pace-making in a major way. We hope this gives the athletes the chance
to run some really fast times, have some thrilling battles, and set a new
Canadian All-comers record!"
The 9th annual running of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon,
presented by adidas, and the 19th edition of the accompanying Half Marathon
and 5K are expected to attract more than 13,000 participants from every
Canadian province, more than 40 American states and 35 countries. Combined,
they will raise more than $1 million for 63 smaller neighbourhood
charities, and have an estimated economic impact on the city of $20
For entries and information, go to www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com