Thrilling finishes at Race Weekend

Around the 32-kilometre mark of the Ottawa Marathon, things weren’t looking good for David Cheruiyot.

 

Around the 32-kilometre mark, things weren’t looking good for David Cheruiyot.

 

Already a three-time winner of the Ottawa Marathon who set the course record in 2007, the 39-year-old from Kenya had developed a stitch in his side and fallen behind. But he came back — blowing past the second and third place finishers —to become the second person to win his fourth Ottawa Marathon, with a time of 2:13:23.

 

“It was hard,” said Cheruiyot after yesterday’s race, the final day of Ottawa Race Weekend. “I trained hard for this one. The organizers are great and I like this city.

 

“I hope to come back for a fifth win.”

“It was a pleasant surprise to see him come storming back,” said Manny Rodrigues of the race’s elite athletes division.

The first woman to cross the finish line was Asmae Leghzaoui of Morocco, who completed the course in 2:27:41, beating the course record of 2:28:44 — a record she set herself in her 2008 marathon debut.

“I’m very happy,” said the 32-year-old, who trained for a year to break her own record. Ottawa’s marathon course isn’t easy, she said. “The first half is a lot of hills.”

Leghzaoui’s husband and coach, Mohammad Ar-Ar, said the athlete plans on returning next year and is focusing on the Ottawa Marathon because “we want to fix her name here.”

More than 100,000 people come out to watch 36,690 runners take part in seven events over the weekend.

Coming in second and third respectively in the marathon were Wegayehu Girma and Ahmed Baday in the men’s division, and Canadian Lioudmila Kortchaguina — who won four of the five marathons she has run in Ottawa since her first appearance in 2002 — and Irene Jerotich Kosgei in the women’s.

Canada’s top-ranked 5000 metre runner and debut marathoner Reid Coolsaet the first Canadian man to finish the race with a time of 2:17:10.

On Saturday, two world records were broken in the 10K.

Deriba Merga from Ethiopia broke the 8K world record of 22:02 at 21:48 minutes en route to finishing the 10K race at 27:24. While he fell just short of breaking the 10K world record — and taking home the $100,000 prize — he did break the course record of 28:12 held by race weekend director John Halverson since 1988.

“It was a very valiant effort,” said Rodriguez. “It’s difficult to set a world record.”

Orillia’s Rick Ball also broke the world record for a single leg amputee with a time of 37:55.

“It is rare that one, let alone two world records are broken at a single race,” said race weekend’s general manager Jim Robinson. “This solidifies our position as a world-class running destination.”

Metro Ottawa reporter Tim Wieclawski finished the Ottawa Marathon with a gun time of 3:28:11.

 
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