Monday, October 20, 2008

Charles Kibiwott Third at Dong-A Marathon

Charles Kibiwott (right) at the 2007 Dong-A Marathon.At yesterday’s Dong-A Ilbo Gyeongju Marathon in Gyeongju, Korea, Charles Kibiwott placed third in 2:10:06. (Charles was second in last year’s race.)

Tom Ratcliffe was on hand and files this report:

“I’m not sure if if made a difference, but Charles was leading with 1K to go and followed the press truck straight when the course, and the two guys with him, took a sharp right. He was suddenly 20 meters behind and, although he closed the gap, they surged just as he got back to the lead with about 600 meters remaining and he was gone. John Yuda was with the group of 5 until 35K, but ended up 7th in 2:11:55.”

TOP TEN

1. Sylvester Kimeli Teimet, KEN 2:09:53 PB
2. Yirefu Birhanu, ETH 2:09:56
3. Charles Kibiwott, KEN 2:10:06
4. Samson Barmao, KEN 2:10:22
5. Edwin Komen, KEN 2:11:12
6. Shadrack Kiplagat, KEN 2:11:13
7. John Yuda, TAN 2:11:52
8. Lee Myoung-Ke, KOR 2:16:22
9. Mikhail Khobotov, RUS 2:17:39
10. Min Ji-Hong, KOR 2:18:36

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Kibiwott Fifth in Korea

Charles Kibiwott took fifth this morning at the Dong-A Marathon in Seoul, South Korea. Tom Ratcliffe was there and filed this report:

A nice, sunny, cool day here. Very little wind at the start, but a bit of a headwind over the final few kilometers. The pacemakers were supposed to start with 15:10, 15:10 and then drop to 15:00 and continue through 30k, but they started with 14:43, 14:56, 15:33, 14:48. I’m not sure why the organizers wanted 15:10 x 2 and then 15:00, but that didn’t matter as the pacemakers seemed to have no clear sense of their orders … just that someone was shouting at them to slow down, thus they ran 15:33 for the 3rd 5K and then to speed up and then ran 14:48!

Regardless, it was quite a good race with Sammy Korir always near the front, pushing the pacemakers along and then taking the lead at 30K and periodically injecting a significant increase in speed. The field was down to 5 at 30K and Charles fell off at just before 35K. Korir got a bit of a gap at 41K, but 2nd place finisher Mbote looked like he was going to take the lead as they entered the Olympic Stadium, but Korir was too strong and ran away over the final 300m.

Sammy Korir 2:07:30
Jason Mbote 2:07:37
Edwin Komen 2:07:45
Francis Kiprop 2:08:30
Charles Kibiwott 2:08:33

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Close, But No (Victory) Cigar

Charles finished second, just one second back, at the 2007 Gyeongju International MarathonAfter a brilliant 26.1 miles, Charles Kibiwott found himself on the losing end of a 100m sprint to the finish line at the Gyeongju International Marathon in Gyeongju, South Korea. Countryman and friend, Edwin Komen won the race in 2:09:44; Charles ran 2:09:45. “So close,” he said immediately after the race, his thumb and index finger stretched apart indicating a close margin. “So close…” Laban Kipkemboi was forced to drop out with an injury to the ball of his foot.

The race played to Charles’s strength, a nice even effort with very few swift changes in pace. Perhaps the biggest surge was the one Komen threw in after making two sharp turns just before entering the stadium. It was a race that tested the athlete’s patience and will, an occasion to which Charles rose today.

The race went out rather slow, with none of the contenders eager to push the pace. In fact, for much of the first half, the pacemakers ran alone about 30 meters in front of the main pack. At 18.5 kilometers I thought the athletes made a terrible error, allowing Wilson Kigen to tuck in behind the pacemakers while the rest of them sat back. Quickly they realized their mistake, and six athletes, Charles and Komen included, pressed to close the gap. At that point, the race was on.

By 32K the pack was down to five athletes – Kigen, Kibiwott, Komen, Matthew Sigei, and pacemaker Hosea Kogo, Laban and Charles before the racewho did a fantastic job keeping the athletes in the race and on pace as best he could. At this point, the nerves started to creep in. We – the agents, coaches, and marathon staff – were watching the race in a small makeshift locker room inside the stadium. People were getting tense. Or at least I was. I thought Charles looked good, but at 35K his facial expression changed. He was constantly looking at his watch and over his shoulder. And he wasn’t taking sponges from the tables like the other athletes. I thought he was in trouble.

At 35K Kogo stepped off the road, a job well done. At 37.5K Sigei lost his rhythm and faded off the back of the pack. It was down to three – Charles, Komen, and Kigen. Kigen’s manager, Arien Verkade, looked over at me and shrugged; we both agreed that Komen looked very relaxed and effortless. We hoped to be proved wrong.

Charles, smiling, with winner Edwin Komen after the raceAround a slight bend at 39K, Komen became the aggressor for the first time in the race. He didn’t break away from the other two, but he pushed the pace hoping to. Approaching 40K I thought to myself, “Charles should skip his water and make a charge to the finish line. He doesn’t have the strongest kick.” After the race, Charles would tell me that he thought the same thing, but was scared to push from too far out because of what happened in Rotterdam 2006. There, he pushed from a few kilometers out and appeared to have the race won, but his back tightened with about 600 meters to go and he almost slowed to a walk. Three athletes passed him in the last quarter mile.

As they approached the last water stop, Charles found himself on the outside, away from the table. All three athletes had their water on the first table, so they all lunged at the same time. Charles just grabbed his bottle by the flag. After they each ditched their bottles to the curb, with 1.4 kilometers to run, they pulled even with one another, running three abreast. At that point we all left the locker room and headed to the finish line.

When we stepped outside and locked up at the jumbotron, Kigen had fallen off the back. It was down to Charles and Komen. Before entering the stadium the athletes make two semi-sharp turns. Komen almost missed the first one, veering to the right before the course marshals waved him to the left. Unfortunately, Charles was following right behind him and in the quick change of Charles Kibiwott, 2nd Placedirection, lost a step. But Charles quickly regained his ground and I honestly thought he was going to go right past Komen. They pulled even again, but at the final turn before entering the stadium, Komen got the inside track. He stepped on the track, 100 meters from the finish line, two strides in front of Charles. Charles gave it one last grind, his head down with arms flailing across his body, his singlet waving off his shoulders. But it wasn’t enough. Komen crossed the line, arms raised, with Charles just two steps behind.

Despite being “so close,” Charles was very happy with his race. “After Chicago and Rotterdam (where Charles ran poorly), I needed a good effort here. And I did that. I am happy.” From the minute he crossed the finish line until now, save for the 120 seconds when he was vomiting into the trash can, Charles hasn’t stopped smiling. At the awards ceremony the top six athletes were given a trophy and a Charles hands a boy his flowers after the awards ceremonybouquet of flowers. As Charles came off the awards stand, I watched as a young boy ran up to him, having scrambled away from his mother. Charles shook the boys hand and then gave him the flowers. The boy was grinning from ear to ear.

Now we’re back at the hotel, where I’m sure the rest of the day will consist of napping and eating, in no particular order. Tomorrow is another early morning for most of us, as we have the dreaded five hour bus ride back to the airport before our 10+ hour flights. At least we’ll be leaving with a smile.


Gyeongju Race Results – Top Ten
1. Edwin Komen – 2:09:44
2. Charles Kibiwott – 2:09:45
3. Wilson Kigen – 2:09:56
4. Matthew Sigei – 2:10:10
5. Yusuf Songoka – 2:12:36
6. Procopiofra – 2:14:16
7. Teklu Tefera – 2:16:03
8. Heiyang Deng – 2:16:20
9. Thomas Chemitei – 2:17:59
10. Sin Jung-Hoon – 2:18:00

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

KIMbia 2nd, 4th, and 5th in San Jose

Yuda, Nyariki, and Munyeki at the Start of the San Jose 1/2 Marathon (Photo by Victah Sailer)Coming off his pacing duties last week in Chicago, John Yuda ran an impressive 61:13 at the San Jose Rock ‘n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon. Unfortunately, McDonald Ondara ran 61:11 for the win. It’s the third race this year where Yuda has come out on the short end of the kicking stick (Beach to Beacon and VA Beach Half Marathon being the other two). About one minute back from the leaders was Tom Nyariki in 62:17, good for fourth place. “It wasn’t my best race, but I ran okay,” Nyariki said after the race. “I think I am a little tired after Boston [BAA Half Marathon] last weekend.” Charles Munyeki rounded out the KIMbia contingent with a 5th place finish in 62:58.

Next week Laban Kipkemboi and Charles Kibiwott will be racing the Seoul Marathon. And this week chasingKIMBIA continues Tom Nyariki at the San Jose 1/2 Marathon (Photo by Victah Sailer)with its coverage from Boulder, Colorado where Fasil Bizuneh and Stephen Kiogora are preparing for the US Olympic Marathon Trials and the NYC Marathon, respectively. The Trials are on November 3rd, the regular Marathon on November 4th.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

chasingKIMBIA Season Three

40K at Magnolia. Ugali and Chicken. Table Mountain. CNN and Fox News. Trips to Wal*Mart. Yep, it’s that time of year again. Welcome to Season Three of chasingKIMBIA.

KIMbia in FalmouthThe Chicago and New York City Marathons are fast approaching, and the athletes have been getting fast. Season Three kicks off next Monday from Boulder. You’ll meet some new athletes this season, like Christopher Cheboiboch, who has a PR of 2:08 and has finished second in both New York and Boston. You’ll also see some old faces, like Baba (New York) and James Koskei (Chicago).

But the biggest change this year will be the addition of an American to the group. Fasil Bizuneh is an up-and-coming American marathoner. His half-marathon PR of 1:02:20 came in the US Championships where he finished second to Ryan Hall, and ahead of Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi. He’s been training with the guys in Boulder since the end of August in preparation for the US Olympic Marathon Trials, which take place in Central Park the day before the regular NYC Marathon. He had this to say right before his move to Boulder:

“The Marathon trials are 10 weeks away and I know that this is the right decision for me. Training with the KIMbia marathon group will give me the best possible chance to succeed on race day. With all of the American talent that will be in Central Park on November 3rd, no one will be backing his way into one of the three Olympic spots. It will take a great race to make that team. Based on my last two marathons Read the full article

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