Sunday 22nd March 2009
The record for the Marathon of Monaco and the Riviera was beaten in 2h11’01 by the Kenyan Ben Mutai Kimwole. The previous record was in 1999 during the third edition in 2h11’26 by another Kenyan, Kenneth Cheruiyot. Proof therefore that the new course for the Marathon of Monaco and the Riviera is less difficult.
As for the two thousand runners of 49 different nationalities taking part in the two events, they will be returning home with their minds full of wonderful images of the course along the seafront on a beautiful sunny spring day!
This is the second time that the Monegasque Athletics Federation has organised the Marathon in the spring. On the beautiful sunny morning of Sunday 22nd March 2009, the 800 participants set off for the 12th edition of the Marathon of Monaco and the Riviera at 9 a.m. on boulevard Albert I, at the exact spot where Monte Carlo Grand Prix racing cars will be speeding off shortly. The public turned up in their numbers to encourage all the participants.
In existence since 1997, this race has the distinctive feature - making it unique in the world – of crossing through three countries. Set between the sea and the mountain, the marathon stretches through the Principality of Monaco, France and Italy. On leaving Monaco, following a magnificent route along the seafront, the race passes through Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Menton then onto Ventimiglia before returning to the Principality and finishing in the Louis II Stadium.
The French pacemaker, Benoit Z (Zwierzchiewski) started off the race extremely well, and according to the future winner "did an extraordinary job as he managed to hold back the enthusiasm of the runners at the beginning of the race and maintain the pace required until the 20th kilometre”. Passing the half-way point (21st km) in 1h06 as requested, the leading trio consisting of the 2nd pacemaker, the Kenyan Luca Kanda, de Kimwole and the Ethiopian Folisho Tum Tuko, appeared to be on track to achieve an excellent performance. But the latter lost his grip and let the Kenyan continue alone from the 25th kilometre. His manager told us later “that he felt so good he felt he had taken flight at the 32nd kilometre on the Roquebrune Cap Martin coastline”. He managed to keep up the remarkable pace enabling him to finish the second half in under 1h06 and complete the marathon in excellent time, a personal record and event record in 2h11'01, to the great cheering from the spectators in the Louis II Stadium. Following, Tum Tuko (5th in 2h25’32) “exploded” losing 14mn over the winner in the second half and allowing the Kenyan Jackson Rono, 2nd in 2h17’50, to catch up and overtake him, followed by the Russian Andrei Bryzgalov in 2h18’03 (for his third podium in Monaco) and finally the other Kenyan Christopher Rutto, 4th in 2h22'45.
As for the women, the Kenyan Florence Chepkurui led the entire race before collapsing just before entering the race track of the Louis II Stadium, and having to withdraw totally exhausted. Consequently the Ethiopian Belaynesh Bekele won the event in 2h48’48 beating a Russian trio, Ekaterina Fateeva, 2nd in 2h51’29, Elena Kozhevnikova, 3rd in 2h52’11 (last year’s winner) and Jeanna Malkova, 4th in 2h56’18 (3rd last year).
Just behind, the three best French runners gave a very good show with Laurent Leglise, 8th in 2h37’35, Christian Dilmi, 11th in 2h46’48 and a local, Franck Duportal, 14th in 2h49'25. As for our Italian neighbours, they also gave a good performance with Andrea Anselmi, 10th in 2h45'33 and Diego di Toma, 16th in 2h50’05.
They were many perspiring, suffering and hanging on at all costs, spurred on by thousands of spectators on a unique course following the superb Mediterranean shore via Roquebrune, Menton and Ventimiglia. The best reward!
The awards were presented in the Louis II Stadium in the presence of HSH Prince Albert II, the President of the Monegasque Athletics Federation, accompanied by representatives of the towns crossed (Roquebrune, Menton, Ventimiglia and Monaco), as well as local authorities.
In addition to the Marathon and for the sixth year running, a 10 km race was organised on the same day. At 9.45 a.m., the 1,200 runners taking part in the Monte Carlo 10 km also set off from Monaco harbour and started arriving back in the Louis II Stadium just before the marathon runners. A large number of spectators took up their positions along boulevard Albert I to the stadium, and in avenue Princesse Grace and Port Hercule, to encourage the runners while waiting for the return of the Marathon participants. The two Swedish twin brothers Gross dominated this event; Peter in 31’20 beating Henry in 31’29 and the athlete from AS Monaco Kaïs Adli in 32’04. For the women, Cécile Roblez won the race in 39’34, beating the Italian Celestina Malugani in 39’49 and the French woman Christine Morfin in 40’13.
HSH Prince Albert II and Belaynesh Bekele For further details and all the results: www.monaco-marathon.org