FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tsegaye, Dado Confirmed to Chase Canadian All-Comers Record For Women at
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront
TORONTO. August 31st. Ethiopians Tirfi Beyene Tsegaye and Firehiwot Dado
have been confirmed to start the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on
Sunday, September 26th, and lead an assault on the Canadian All-comers
marathon record for women. That mark, of 2:26:01, was set by Roumania's
Lidia Simon at the World Championships in Edmonton in 2001. The 25 year old
Tsegaye ran a sparkling 2:24:51 to place 3rd at the Paris Marathon this
Spring, and Dado has been the Rome women's champion for the past 2 years.
She clocked a PR of 2:25:28 for the victory this March. Together, they will
lead an impressive group of Ethiopian women, with the hopes of continuing
their country's dominance on the Toronto Waterfront. Ethiopians have
claimed the Women's title the past 3 years in a row, with victories from
Asha Gigi, Mulu Seboka, and Amane Gobena. Last year, Gobena established a
new course record of 2:28:31. She has subsequently gone onto run 2:25:14
in Osaka in January and 2:24:13 in Seoul in March. To claim victory and the
additional $25,000 bonus for the new fastest-ever Women's time on Canadian
soil, Tsegaye and Dado will have to fight off the best and deepest
international women's field in Toronto to date. Fellow Ethiopians Koren Yal
and Merima Mohammed, Russians Alevtina Ivanova and Albina Mayorova, Kenyans
Sharon Cherop and Rose Kosgei, and Japanese Maki Suzawa and Ayumi Nakayama
all hope to push the pace and have a say in the final outcome.
For Tsegaye, Paris was a big step forward in a marathon career that has
really blossomed over the past two years. It began in the Fall of 2008 with
a victory in Porto, in a modest 2:35:31. In the Spring of '09 she took a
large leap forward, running 2:29:04 for 2nd place in Turin. Last October
she placed 6th in the IAAF World Half Marathon in Birmingham in a PR of
69:24, then followed that up with another 2nd place marathon – this time in
Shanghai in November, in 2:28:16. Then it was onto Paris this April:
Paris Marathon was a beautiful day. I took a big risk to follow Atsede
Beysa [5th at STWM08] in a speed of 70 minutes at half-way, but I felt very
strong, my training was very good, and the weather conditions perfect.
Birmingham was a very difficult course, and my 69 minutes there gave me
For Toronto I have followed the same system of training as for Paris, but
increasing a bit the quality of some workouts on the track to try to
improve the power of my "engine"
To run 2h24' again is not easy because you must be lucky, to be in top
shape, and to find a day with perfect weather conditions and strong
opponents. Anyway I will try my best to improve my personal best because
always, since I started my carrier, every marathon I ran faster than the
previous 42 km and I am proud of this.
Just a year older than Tsegaye, at age 26, Firehiwot Dado finds her
marathon career on an almost identical path. Her debut was also in the Fall
Kosice was my first marathon. I was in good shape but you never know how
you are going to run the first time. I was competitive and it was very
windy. I almost won, but I was not happy with my time [2:37:34]. Then Rome
was a very big marathon and competitive with great pacemakers. I ran to my
fitness level and was victorious.
We have a great group of athletes who train together in Addis with Coach
Haji Adillo, and we all motivate each other to keep improving. I hope I
can keep improving and run sub 2:25 in Toronto.
While relative veterans Tsegaye and Dado will toe the Start line as
favourites at Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront, fellow-Ethiopians Koren Yal
and Merima Mohammed are still learning, but possess lots of talent. Only 23
years old, Yal had her come-uppance at Boston this Spring. Following a very
encouraging marathon debut in Venice last Fall, where she ran 2:28:41 for
2nd, she went out aggressively with the leaders at the Ras Al Khaimah Half
in February, passing 10k in 31:55 before fading to 10th in 70:52. That day,
she was 3 minutes behind compatriot Teyba Erkesso. Then at Boston this
April she bravely -- but injudiciously -- was the only one to go with
Erkesso when she made the decisive break at halfway, running 16:21 between
20k and 25k. Koren paid the price, fading badly in the later stages,
finishing 12th in 2:33:48; Erkesso also faded but hung on for victory in
"In Boston I made a big mistake," says Koren. "Instead of being patient
when I saw Erkesso move, I felt good and decided to follow her. Anyway, I
learned a big lesson and I hope that this negative experience will help me
Now that I have a bit more experience, I hope I will make the right
decision the day of the race...I would like to try to run a new personal
best and I hope to be competitive to finish on the podium. But if my
training continues as well as it has, I think it will be possible to do
At a mere 18 years of age, Merima Mohammed comes to Scotiabank Toronto
Waterfront with the same combination of talent and inexperience. Like Dado
and Erkesso, she trains with Coach Haji Adillo's group in Addis Ababa. She
ran her first marathon last Fall in Cannes, in 2:33:56, was 12th in the
World Junior Cross in Bydgoszcz in March, then took a huge step forward
winning the Ottawa Marathon in May in a fine solo run of 2:28:16.
To maintain their supremacy on the Toronto Waterfront, this formidable
Ethiopian pack will have to prevail over a deep international field that
offers a similar mix of experience and talented up-and-comers. Russians
Alevtina Ivanova and Albina Mayorova provide both talent and experience.
They train together with Coach Mikhail Kuznetsov in Cheboksary, the base of
so many of Russia's top female marathoners. At 35, Ivanova has been
running marathons for 8 years, including two victories in Nagano in 2007
and '08, where he set her PR of 2:26:38. This Spring she was 2nd in Prague
in 2:27:36.Now 33, Albina Mayorova's marathoning career began in 2001, and
has seen her on the Start lines in Chicago , London [2004 and her PR
of 2:27:25] and Boston this Spring where she finished 10th in 2:31.
Kenya and Japan will both provide two strong female challengers in Sharon
Cherop and Rose Koskei, and Ayumi Nakayama and Maki Suzawa. Cherop is
hoping to come close to 2:26 on a good day in Toronto, following her
confidence-boosting victory in Hamburg in April in 2:28:36 At age 26 she is
looking for the opportunity to move her career to the next level. Rose
Kosgei is on debut on September 26th, hoping that she can convert some fine
half marathon performances into an impressive race over 42km. She comes in
as Prague Half Marathon champion for '09 and 2010, running impressive times
of 69:03 and 69:57 for the two victories.
Similarly, Nakayama and Suzawa will start Toronto Waterfront, one wanting
to improve her 2:28 PR and the other trying to make a strong move up from
the half to the full marathon. Both are from the Yamada Denki team and are
currently finishing their training at altitude camp at Sugadaira in the
mountains of Nagano; both will be racing in North America for the first
time. Ayumi Nakayami is just 25 years old, and holds her PR of 2:28:50 from
the 2008 Osaka International Ladies Marathon. Freezing rain at this year's
Osaka prevented her from improving on this mark but since then she has
clocked her best half marathon since she began running marathons. Her
teammate Suzawa is the current #1 distance runner on the Yamada Denki
[women's] corporate team, with high hopes of building on the promise
suggested by her half marathon best of 70:23. She will be 22 years old on
race day for her marathon debut. According to their coach, Katsuaki Isobata
who reports from the camp, "Suzawa is enthusiastic and looking tough.
Nakayama looks great and seems very confident, planning on a PR. I think
she is going to do fantastic."
Organizers are hoping that this combination will provide Toronto's
best-ever Women's marathon.
"We're especially excited about the prospects for our Women's race this
year. Frankly, our women's Course Record is a bit soft [2:28:31].
Historically, our women's field has not been as strong, nor nearly as deep
as the men's. But that's definitely not the case this year. With so many
talented women from a broad range of countries and continents, we're hoping
for a cracking race and a world-class time. It would be very special to see
someone take out Lidia Simon's Women's All-comers mark. Then Scotiabank
Toronto Waterfront would hold both records for fastest men's and fastest
women's marathons run on Canadian soil," said Race Director Alan Brookes.
There are still about 1,000 places available for this year's Scotiabank
Toronto Waterfront, to be run on Sunday, September 26th. Information and
entry at www.stwm.ca/a>