For Immediate Release Contact: George Bezanis
Tel: +420 224 91 92 09
Fax: +420 224 92 33 55
The Prague International Marathon - May 18, 2003
Despite the rainy weather yesterday evening here in the Czech Republic, the
start gun at today's 9th Annual Prague International Marathon was fired
under clear skies. Even though most of the athletes agreed that once they
were outside of the city center the conditions turned a bit windy, the flat
course still proved to be both fast and enjoyable for the estimated 3200
runners that participated in the full 42.195 KM competitive marathon. In
addition to the classic marathon distance, an approximate 18,500
non-competitve runners also took part in the day's activities by
participating in the shorter CSOB Pojištovna City Run (10KM), CSOB
Pojištovna Family Run (4.2 KM), Synergie Recruitment Corporate Run (4.2KM)
and Salomon In Line Skating Race (4.2KM).
The top athletes ran an interesting marathon. Perhaps the biggest surprise
among the males, however, was the fact that the athlete expected to win,
the Italian Giacomo Leone, dropped out of the race after only 9 kilometers
due to what he described as liver problems. It was the Kenyans, then, who
led the crowd throughout the rest of the long race. A group of around ten
of them, along with one Ethiopian, crossed the 10KM mark within 1-2 seconds
of each other (00:30:38). By the time they had reached the half marathon
mark, the group of ten had dwindled into five top competitiors, all with a
time of 01:05:31. With 10KM left to go, there were only really three
competitiors for a first place finish. Willy Cheruiyot (KEN), Habtamu
Bekele (ETH), and Paul Kanda Kangogo (KEN) had seperated themselves from
the rest. Eventually, Cheruiyot and Kanda Kangogo pulled ahead from the
Ethiopian and ran head-to-head for quite a while. The race seemd to be
finished at the 38KM as Kanda Kangogo started to take a commanding lead
ahead of Cheruiyot. At one point, he was nearly 800 meters ahead. But
something clicked inside of Cheruiyot as he crossed under the famous
Prague landmark, the Charles Bridge, at around 40.5 KM into the race and
mustered together enough extra energy to actually once again overtake Kanda
Kangogo. Cheruiyot eventually crossed the finish line nearly half a minute
before his fellow Kenyan with a time of 02:11:56.
As for the female top athletes, the race was also a close and exciting one.
Three runners remained in front throughout the marathon's entire duration -
Alice Chelangat (KEN), Abeba Tola (ETH) and Anna Jelagat Kibor (KEN). They
all crossed the 10KM mark within a second of each other at 00:35:17 and
remained together until they crossed the 30KM mark where Chelangat and
Jelagat Kibor left Tola behind by some 500-600 meters. It seemed as if
Chelangat was beginning to take a lead when, suddenly, at the 33KM mark she
started feeling severe left foot pains and significantly slowed her pace.
Jelagat Kibor lost no time and quickly took advantage as she caught up and
overtook the other Kenyan runner. While Jelegat Kibor was enjoying her
newfound lead, she accidentally fell at the 39KM while neglecting to notice
a footpath to the side of the road. Despite that fall, Jelagat Kibor was
still able to best her fellow Kenyan by winning with a time of 02:31:10.
Jan Bláha won the Czech National Marathon Championship with a time of
The "Marathon Man of India", Dr. Ashis Roy finished first in his age
group (70+) at and plans to run the marathon in Vienna next week.
Complete numbers and official race results of the race have been
provided in detail by Winning Time Running and should be available at:
More information regarding the PIM Running Circuit 2003 at www.pim.cz.
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