Chemtai Salpeter speeds to a 2:19:46 clocking in the Prague Marathon

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European 10,000m champion Lonah Chemtai Salpeter set the fastest marathon time by a European athlete in more than a decade with an emphatic victory in the Volkswagen Prague Marathon, a five-star certified road race by Running for All, on Sunday (5).

Chemtai Salpeter slashed more than two minutes off the course record as she broke the tape in 2:19:46 to move to third on the European all-time list behind world record-holder Paula Radcliffe (2:15:25) and Germany’s Irina Mikitenko (2:19:19).

This was Chemtai Salpeter’s second marathon win in five months after winning the Florence Marathon last December in a course record of 2:24:17 but this was her most notable win on the roads thus far. She won by nearly three minutes from a top class field including Bahrain’s Shitaye Eshete (2:22:39) with Ethiopia’s Genet Yalew a distant third (2:24:34).

Chemtai Salpeter made a decisive move just before the halfway point which she reached in 70:12 with a slender but growing gap of four seconds over a quartet of athletes including Eshete, Yalew and reigning champion Bornes Kitur from Kenya.

Mindful of the windy conditions, the Israeli kept plenty in reserve for the second half and her lead grew to 17 seconds at the 25km checkpoint (1:23:25) and to over one minute at 30km (1:39:55).`

Chemtai Salpeter picked up the pace even more in the last twelve kilometres and a high-five from her son just before the 40km checkpoint provided a timely pick-me-up for the last 2.2 kilometres as she did battle against the clock.

“Lonah was assisted by the pacer until the 28 kilometre mark and then started to push the pace to try for a sub-2:20. Regardless of the windy conditions in parts, Lonah ran the 10km between 30-40km at 32:37 and got an high five from our son Roy at 40km and maintained the pace until the finish line,” said her coach and husband Dan Salpeter after the race.

“The two half marathons along the preparations showed that in perfect conditions, Lonah can run under 2:20 but Lonah is still an upcoming runner so we are trying to be patient and the results will come as long as we keep it healthy and gradually. We are happy today.”

There was also an Israeli record in the men’s race as Girmaw Amare finished eighth in 2:09:54 although he was beaten in the continental stakes by Spain’s Hamid Ben Daoud. After passing halfway with the leaders in 62:52, he maintained good pace in the second half to finish sixth in 2:08:14 to improve his lifetime best by more than two minutes.

With the spring marathon season drawing to a close, European marathon running on both the men’s and women’s side looks in fine shape. Already in 2019, 13 men have ducked under the 2:10-mark for the distance.

European athletes will be very much in the spotlight at the next race on the RunCzech calendar. The Karlovy Vary Half Marathon takes place on 18 May and is one of four races on the RunCzech calendar to endorse the ‘EuroHeroes’ project which is aimed to support elite European distance runners.

The European Athletics Quality Road Race standards act as an assurance for road runners throughout Europe. They distinguish between races that respect the standards and those that haven’t sought certification or assessment. They form the foundation of Running for All, a strong recognisable brand for running activities throughout Europe.

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