African runners win Taipei marathon
December 19, 2011, 12:16 am TWN
TAIPEI -- Yemane Adhane of Ethiopia and Helena Kirop of Kenya won the annual Fubon Taipei Marathon with record-breaking times Sunday, in the male and female categories, respectively.
Adhane clocked 02:10:24, while Kirop finished in 02:27:36, both breaking the previous records to bag an extra NT$1 million (US$65,897) on top of their winner's purse of NT$1 million each.
The marathon, one of biggest road racing events in Taiwan, took place this year along Taipei's riverside paths. The flat terrain gave the athletes a good chance of breaking the records, according to the Chinese Taipei Road Running Association.
Adhane, whose personal best was 2:06:30, started strong and led pack over the entire course. He crossed the finish line in a time that was 41 seconds faster than the record set by Luke Kibet of Kenya in 2006.
Adhane told the local media after the race that his transit flight from Bangkok was delayed because he was grilled by immigration officials about the purpose of his visit to Taiwan. His plan to arrive early and recover from his jet lag before the race therefore fell through, he said.
Despite all this, he said, he was very pleased to have won his first marathon title this year and hoped it would bring him luck in his 2012 Olympic bid.
Asked how he would spend the prize money, he said with a smile that as a professional runner, all of his prize money is used to take care of his family and relatives.
Kirop, who ran her personal best of 2:23:37 in a marathon in Italy this year, broke the 2009 record set by Yeshi Esayias Tesemma of Ehiopia by 2 minutes and 29 seconds.
Chiang Chieh-wen of Taiwan, who was running with an inflamed tooth, a swollen face, and a stomach ache, finished first among the local runners in a time of 2:24:19.
More than 120,000 runners participated in the race that started early Sunday morning at the square in front of Taipei City Hall.