Japan and Ethiopia cross for line honours at Blackmores Sydney Marathon 2016 up to 33,000 cross Sydney Harbour Bridge on four courses

12:10pm SYDNEY: For the second consecutive year a Japanese runner has won the Blackmores Sydney Marathon, Tomohiro Tanigawa finishing atop the standings in 2 hours, 12 minutes and 13 seconds (2:12:13), the third fastest time in the history of the event.

Up to 33,000 people ran and walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to finish lines at the Sydney Opera House and Conservatorium of Music in the 16th Blackmores Sydney Running Festival.

Tanigawa made his break for victory in the latter stages of the race after running in a three-man group that chased down early leader, and pre-race favourite and marathon debutant, Mogos Shumay of Eritrea.

Eventually Shumay fell away to finish fifth as Tanigawa won, Ethiopia’s Belachew Ameta finished second (2:13:09), Julius Wahome of Kenya finished third (2:14:15). Fellow Japanese athlete Taiki Yoshimura was fourth.

It was a one-runner show in the women’s event as Melbourne-based Ethiopian Makda Haji took a dominant victory to finish in a time of 2 hours, 32 minutes, 22 seconds (2:32:22). She finished an astounding six minutes and 39 seconds ahead of Bahrain’s Merima Hasen (2:39:02); China’s Yinli He (2:44:17) completed the podium.

This year is the second time that the Blackmores Sydney Marathon has been held as an IAAF Marathon Gold Label Race, the prestigious status ranking it alongside household name marathons such as London, Boston and Berlin.

In addition the course was refined to take in more spectacular harbour views and eliminate some of the more challenging terrain, culminating in one of the most accessible and visually beautiful marathon courses ever.

Despite the threat of morning showers, the weather held off as the cool conditions created an ideal running environment for athletes from 66 countries as they made their way over four separate courses in the run that’s fun for everyone.

While personal bests, fitness challenges or fun with friends may have been the motivation for many individuals, as a group contestants helped to add to the more than $16 million raised for charities in since the inaugural event was held in 2001.

In a further boost to fundraising efforts, Blackmores Sydney Running Festival and Guinness World Records announced a partnership prior to the event that would see costumed runners certified as Guinness World Record holders when they finished the event.

The partnership is the first of its kind outside of the successful nine-year relationship Guinness World Records has with the London Marathon that has proven to increase fundraising for local charities.

All participants in today’s event made their way over the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge to receive a Blackmores Sydney Running Festival medal, adorned with cityicons the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.

Also joining the hordes of enthusiastic competitors were event ambassadors Bec Wilcock and Kate Kendall. Fitness guru Wilcock is better known as an endurance hero who has tamed ultra-marathons, while Kendall is a highly accomplished yoga expert who also treated participants to a well-deserved cool down and recovery session post race.

Blackmores Sydney Running Festival Event Director Wayne Larden said the event was a huge success with a massive increase in entries from previous years.“We had record entrants in the marathon, half and family run,” Larden said.

“It’s such an iconic event that showcases Sydney’s most famous tourist icons,including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. The Blackmores Sydney Running Festival is known as one of the most beautiful courses in the world so its no surprise our entries are rising.

“We had a large increase in international and interstate participants also which contributed almost $12m to the local economy.

“And we showcase the event and city to the world with a 3hr30min live broadcast that is distributed worldwide.”

An estimated 1,000 runners and walkers are still on the course at time of this release.

RESULTS IN ALL EVENTS:
BLACKMORES SYDNEY MARATHON
Japan’s Tomohiro Tanigawa has won the 2016 Blackmore’s Sydney Running Marathon in a time of 2 hours, 12 minutes and 13 seconds (2:12:13), ahead of Ethiopia’s Belachew Ameta (2:13:09) and Kenya’s Julius Wahome (2:14:15).

Tanigawa established himself among the leading runners early on in the race as a seven-man group formed a breakaway by the five-kilometre mark. However the race soon opened up as pre-race favourite Mogos Shumay of Eritrea made a break to establish a 14-second lead by the 10-kilometre marker.

As the race wore on, Shumay wore out, with a chase pack that included 27-year-old Tanigawa as well as Ameta and Wahome ran down the early leader to be back on par by the half way mark. In a four-way battle for the lead, Tanigawa made his move in the final handful of kilometres to run to the third fastest time in the history of the event, but said his only focus was finishing first.

“I am very excited and very happy today. My only focus was to win the race, so I was surprised to run so close my PB,” Tanigawa said.

“It was hard to tell if I was leading or not, as we approached the last three kilometres the pack started to get slower, so I kept to my own pace and moved ahead and felt that I was winning.

“I was determined to win today and accomplished that. It will be a big record for my career.”

In the women’s race it was pure domination from Ethiopian Makda Haji who won in 2 hours, 32 minutes, 22 seconds (2:32:22) and was the clear leader from Bahrain’s Merima Hasen (2:39:02) and China’s Yinle He (2:44:17).

Haji came to the event ready to win and made her intentions clear from the start of the race as she opened up a six-second lead in the first five-kilometres, before hitting the gas to establish a two and a half minute lead by the half way point, leaving Hasen and Yinli in her wake.

Despite the fast first half of the race, and an eventual six minute and 39 second margin at the finish, Haji said the race didn’t quite go to plan but was still happy to record a winning result.

“I prepared for this race very, very well and from the start I came here to win,” Haji said.

“I had planned to run between two hours and 26 or 27 minutes, which would have been close to my best from Paris Marathon in 2012, but unfortunately I could not do that today. I am still happy with the result.

“I pushed the pace hard from the start, however in the middle of the race I felt something wasn’t quite right, which I think impacted my finishing time.

“Today I actually found this course quite difficult, but am very happy with my win.”

The event also doubled as the NSW Marathon Championships with Gary Mullins of Neutral Bay winning the men’s title, while Caringbah’s Magda Karimali-Poulos won the women’s title.

In the wheelchair marathon Richard Nicholson was the only competitor on course and found it to be a challenging event, however executed his plan to make it to the finish and have a good roll.

MARATHON NO JOKING MATTER FOR WORLD-RECORD BREAKING JESTER

Swiss runner Alexander Scherz was the fastest marathon-running jester in the world today as finished the Blackmores Sydney Marathon in a time of 2 hours, 59 minutes, 54 seconds (2:59:54), breaking the Guinness World Record for ‘Fastest marathon dressed as a jester’.

For the first year ever the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival partnered with Guinness World Records in a venture that would see costumed runners certified as world record holders should they be the fastest of their kind in the world.

The initiative was first seen at the London Marathon four-years ago.

Sydney is the first race other than the London Marathon to have this partnership, with Scherz making the trip down under to break his own record that was set at the London event in 2012.

BLACKMORES SYDNEY HALF MARATHON
TEENAGE JAPANESE FLYER AND AUSSIE BASED KIWI CLAIM VICTORY
Japanese teenager Kei Katanishi and Mackay-based New Zealander Victoria Beck have both run to decisive victories in the 2016 Blackmore’s Half Marathon, taking line honours in cool conditions at the Sydney Opera House this morning.

Contesting his first international event, 19-year-old Katanishi finished in a time of one hour, five minutes and 22 seconds (1:05:22), eclipsing the time of 2015 winner and compatriot Kinya Hashira to the tune of 28 seconds.

Finishing 44 seconds adrift in second place was Sydney’s Thomas Do Canto (1:06:07), while fellow Sydneysider Matthew Cox finished third (1:07:04)

In the women’s race Beck put together a consistent performance over the race distance to finish in one hour, 18 minutes and 25 seconds (1:18:25), her strategy yielding victory over Glenbrook’s Marnie Ponton (1:19:18), Fiona Yates of Longueville was third (1:21:05).

At the head of the pack, Katanishi ran clear to claim another significant victory in 2016. Today’s win follows his victory in Japan’s Kasumigaura Marathon, a sister event to the Blackmores Sydney Marathon, in April. Katanishi said that after he made his break for victory seven kilometres into the race it was the crowd lining the course that spurred him on to the finish.

“I broke away about seven kilometres into the race, and really enjoyed running in front of a big audience who cheered me on,” Katanishi enthused.

“Today I ran my second best time over this distance and it was my first international race.

“It was quite cool, and at times the wind was quite strong, but it was still an enjoyable day.”

Third placed Matthew Cox added that the course was big improvement on previous years, while also highlighting the authority in which Katanishi used to make his race- winning move.

“The course was good, a big improvement on previous years. It was flatter, but still had a few hills which is what you want, the hills are where you break people,” Cox said.

“We had all been running in a pack, and then Katanishi took off like he had been stung by a wasp!

“He put 100 metres on us in 20 seconds and just doubled his pace, which he held and pulled away from us. It was very decisive.”

While a strong surge from Katanishi was what busted the men’s race open, it was a consistent performance that won the women’s. Beck said that she found a comfortable pace that was good enough to put her in the lead early on and held on from there.

“I’m feeling quite surprised, it wasn’t a PB as I think some slight hills and turns on the course slowed me, but I’m happy with that result,” Beck beamed.

“I didn’t really make a move today, my style is to run consistently and so I did that today with a nice even pace from the start. About the third kilometre I took the lead and maintained it from there.

“It was nice and cool out on the course and there was no rain, which meant I was able to enjoy the course and water views that took my mind off the pain.”

Also taking part in the half marathon was MTV VJ Kristian Schmidt, who shot to fame in 2014 as the winner of a competition to find MTV’s next presenter. No stranger to athletic challenges, Schmidt is the cousin of Hollywood superstar Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

BLACKMORES BRIDGE RUN (9KM)
Upwards of 12,000 eager participants entered this year’s Blackmores Bridge Run, however they were all chasing Kings Park’s Brad Milosovic who stormed to a 58- second victory to be first across the line in a time of 26 minutes, 53 seconds (26:53).

No stranger to podium finishes at the Blackmore Sydney Running Festival, Milosovic was second in last years Blackmores Half Marathon.

Coming in second was Cammeray’s Ben Liddy (27:51) as Scott O’Connor rounded out the podium (28:12).

In the women’s race Coogee’s Victoria Mitchell maintained her stronghold on the event, winning for the third consecutive year, capping off her hat trick of wins with her fastest ever time at this event to finish in 29 minutes, 55 seconds (29:55)

Her closest challenger was Randwick’s Lara Tamsett (30:15), as fast 42-year-old Belinda Martin of Gymea in Sydney’s south was third (32:13).

BLACKMORES FAMILY FUN RUN/WALK (3.5KM)
Imogen Stewart made it a family affair on the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House when she won the women’s race in the Blackmores Family Fun Run.

Winning in 14 minutes, 33 seconds (14:33), Stewart celebrated with mother Belinda Martin who was third in the Blackmores Bridge Run.

Finishing in second for the women’s event was Sarah Playford from Wharoonga (15:19), while Emma Mahon of Narrabeen (15:25) was third.

In the men’s race Sylvania’s Mark Simpson turned the tables on his third place result from 2015 to win this year in a time of 13 minutes, 55 seconds (13:55). He beat home Malabar’s Bailey Habler (14:32) and Narrabeen’s Max Mahon (15:19).

www.sydneyrunningfestival.com.au

Top ten results in Half Marathon and Marathon listed below…

Results BLACKMORES SYDNEY MARATHON

Men
1.    Tomohiro Tanigawa (Japan) 2:12:13
2.    Belachew Ameta (Ethiopia) 2:13:09
3.    Julius Wahome (Kenya) 2:14:15
4.    Taiki Yoshimura (Japan) 2:15:47
5.    Mogos Shumay (Eritrea) 2:16:25
6.    Mulugeta Degife (Ethiopia) 2:19:00
7.    Keisuke Kusaka (Japan) 2:19:08
8.    Debebe Wolde (Ethiopia) 2:20:33
9.    Nao Kazami (Japan) 2:21:49
10.  Sohta Hoshi (Japan) 2:27:45

Women
1.    Makda Haji (Ethiopia) 2:32:22
2.    Merima Hasen (Bahrain) 2:39:02
3.    Yinli He (China) 2:44:17
4.    Goitetom Tesema (Ethiopia) 2:46:41
5.    Elizabeth Pittaway (Sydney, NSW) 2:49:34
6.    Yuki Tamura (Japan) 2:56:11
7.    Kaori Hirakawa (Sydney, NSW) 3:03:07
8.    Magda Karimali-Poulos (Caringbah, NSW) 3:04:11
9.    Mei Ling Jasmine Goh (Singapore) 3:04:44
10.  Orla O’leary (Naremburn, NSW) 3:05:02

Results BLACKMORES HALF MARATHON
Men
1.        Kei Katanishi (Tokyo, Japan) 1:05:22
2.        Thomas Do Canto (Wollstonecraft, NSW) 1:06:07
3.         Matthew Cox (Moorebank, NSW) 1:07:04
4.         Ben Moreau (Sydney, NSW) 1:08:24
5.         Vlad Shatrov (Kahiba, NSW) 1:09:22
6.        Russell Dessaix-Chin (North Wollongong, NSW) 1:10:05
7.        Erick Niyiragira (Marrickville, NSW) 1:10:29
8.         Ciaran Faherty (New Zealand) 1:10:45
9.        Kyle Macdonald (Milperra, NSW) 1:11:02
10.      Robin Vonk (Castle Cove, NSW) 1:11.30

Women
1.         Victoria Beck (North Mackay, QLD) 1:18:25
2.         Marnie Ponton (Glenbrook, NSW) 1:19:18
3.         Fiona Yates (Longueville, NSW) 1:21:05
4.         Gemma Jenkins (Greystanes, NSW) 1:21:20
5.         Regina Jensen (Dudley, NSW) 1:21:49
6.         Madoka Nakano (Japan) 1:22:32
7.         Laura James (Cronulla, NSW) 1:23:10
8.         Bernadette Chisholm (Matraville, NSW) 1:23:35
9.         Renee Simon (Sydney, NSW) 1:23:36
10.       Jane Fardell (Dubbo, NSW) 1:23:55