International flavour at the Weighbridge
KENYAN star Dan Tanui kept up his excellent form to record victory in Sunday's Standard Chartered Jersey Marathon, while the event’s international reputation was further enhanced by Ukrainian star Khrystyna Bhomiahkova lifting the women’s title.
Following on from the Super League Triathlon bringing world-stage stars to the Waterfront last weekend there was again a good number of international-quality athletes raising the Island’s profile at a sporting event.
Although a brisk wind on exposed parts of the 26.2-mile course around the central and western parishes made records unlikely, 33-year-old Tanui was understandably delighted with his victory, having finished runner-up in 2016.
Tanui broke the tape at the Weighbridge, 2 hours 19 minutes and 34 seconds after leaving the same area, to record his second win of 2018, having also triumphed in the Walled City Marathon, in Derry, Ireland. The latter was in a course record of 2 hr 19 min, still outside his personal best of 2 hr 17 min.
He said: ‘I’m so happy. I enjoyed this so much better than last time – it’s always good to win! The course is good and I’m thinking that this will be the end of the season for me. A good way to finish.’
England’s Peter Le Grice, on his Jersey debut, was second to finish and recorded a PB of 2.21.11, despite needing to regain form over the closing miles. Having enjoyed an excellent start to the race ‘but perhaps putting in too much’ he was up with Tanui until hitting a difficult patch when he fell back to third spot. ‘I felt really good ’till about three-quarters of the way round – the hills had gone really well. I thought it was just between Dan [Tanui] and myself, but the other Kenyan runner joined us later and they went off together around 17 or 18 miles.’ The Cornishman recovered well, however, to win back second spot over the last mile from that second Kenyan runner, Jacob Yano, who finished third in his first-ever UK marathon in 2.22.55.
First Jerseyman to finish was 38-year-old Phil Taylor who was pleased with his time of 2.42. That’s off his PB set in London last year (2 hr 38 min), but in a race in which the wind ‘played a significant part’, but was ‘really helpful from First Tower to the finish,’ he was delighted to record a personal best for the course.
Ukraine international Bohomiahkova, a 27-year-old, now back to distance running after the birth of her daughter two years ago, is developing a taste for ultra-running – she’s off to China for an ultra marathon [50 km] next week – but still managed to keep enough speed in her legs for victory. Her 2.48.46 finish was two minutes slower than she set in finishing third in the Belfast Marathon earlier this year, but she was ‘so happy’ with the victory, having ‘loved running in Jersey.’
Her time placed her eighth overall.
She returns to the Ukraine before heading to China where she is keeping a coach’s eye on her daughter – who started to run after just seven months.
Veteran Ulrike Maisch of Germany, last year’s winner and ‘fresh’ from a 3 hr 3 min victory in the Guernsey Marathon, was more than happy with her time of 2.59.06, smiling as she added: ‘at 41 I’m not getting any faster. I was really tired today, so I’m happy how the race went – really happy with my second place. There’s no way I could have challenged the winning time.’
A real class act, Maisch is a former European Games marathon champion, way back in 2006 in Sweden.
The third woman home was another Kenyan runner, Salome Jepkoech Kimutau in 3.03.41.
Jersey regained the relay honours from last year’s winners Guernsey IAAC, with Sports Bug consisting of several well-known runners led home by tennis coach Mark Gilmour. The first four legs were run by Joshua Brian, Ryan Poingdestre, Elliot Dorey and Tom Perchard.
Among the other local runners to finish was former Muratti skipper Luke Watson, who was happy to get in round in under three hours for a top-20 placing.
First to break the tape in the day’s races was Bel Royal pupil Rory Baines who raced around the Jersey Evening Post 3K Fun Run course in St Helier in just over 11 minutes.
His second year tackling the popular family event, he just edged out Jem Gurner at the line, followed by hordes of other talented youngsters and gutsy adults. Many were in fancy dress, disguised as anything from a donkey to ballerinas.
Sent on their way from the Weighbridge by the day’s special guest, former Liverpool FC defender Phil Babb, they all earned their medals on a bright morning with the community feel of the event shining through.