Muindi & Tolosa Face off Again at Honolulu Marathon Russians Take on Japanese in the Women's Race By David Monti (C) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(06-Dec) -- Going into last year's Honolulu Marathon, Jimmy Muindi had
won the race five times, but that didn't matter to Ambesse Tolosa. The
feisty Ethiopian was the only rival left to challenge the willowy
Kenyan at the 35-K mark, and the race quickly got physical.
was trying to mess me up," said Muindi after last year's race,
explaining that Tolosa had bumped him and clipped his heels with is
aggressive running style.
Tolosa, who had won both the Tokyo and
Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathons last year, powered up the two
kilometer climb of Diamond Head Avenue past the 35-K mark, leaving
Muindi behind and breaking the Kenyan's winning streak at Honolulu at
"The move he made was very powerful," Muindi later admitted.
of these athletes are back for Sunday's 35th edition of this storied
marathon, the third largest in the United States and the sixth largest
in the world with 24,575 finishers last year. According to elite
athlete coordinator, Jon Cross, the enduring friction between Tolosa
and Muindi will provide the competitive spark for this year's men's
"For me, I think the big story is the rematch between
Muindi and Tolosa," said Cross. "There was some bumping out there last
Each athlete could use the victory. Muindi was unable to
finish both the Rotterdam and Chicago Marathons this year; amazingly
both races were contested in unusually hot weather. Tolosa was third
at Lake Biwa and sixth at Rotterdam, but finished a disappointing 38th
at the IAAF World Championships.
According to Cross, Muindi, 34,
is very focused on winning this year. "He didn't bring his family this
year so he could concentrate," said Cross. It takes about 25 hours to
travel from Nairobi to Honolulu.
Muindi (2:07:50) and Tolosa
(2:08:56) are the fastest men in the field, but there are other
contenders, according to Cross. Kenyans Lawrence Kiptoo Saina (2:09:52
PB), Eric Nzioki (2:10:34) Joseph Mutiso (2:10:34) and Boniface Mbuvi
Muema (debut) could also contend for the $40,000 first prize. Russian
10,000m champion, Aleksey Aleksandrov, should also be in the mix; he is
making his marathon debut.
RUSSIA VS. JAPAN IN THE WOMEN'S RACE
has fashioned a Russia vs. Japan match race on the women's side of the
competition. In the Russian camp are contenders Alevtina Biktimirova
and Tatyana Petrova with pacemaker Olga Romanova. Biktimirova, 25, who
finished second here last year in 2:29:42, has both the experience on
the Honolulu course and the fastest personal best time in the field of
2:25:12. Petrova, 24, the silver medalist at last August's IAAF World
Championships in the 3000m steeplechase, is at the top of her class in
her specialty on the track, but is inexperienced in the marathon, with
a modest 2:31:03 personal best. She does, however, have a solid road
racing résumé, and made the podium at all four road races she did in
the spring in the United States this year.
Team Japan is led by
2003 Honolulu Marathon champion, Eri Hayakawa, 26, with a 2:28:11
personal best. She will be joined by two athletes from the Second Wind
Athletic Club, Kaori Yoshida and Akemi Ozaki. Yoshida, 26, won the
Hokkaido Marathon in her debut at the distance last year in 2:32:53.
Ozaki, 30, just set a personal best of 2:28:39 at the Tokyo
International Women's Marathon last month, and is running here
primarily as a pacemaker. However, according to her manager Brendan
Reilly, she may continue all the way to the finish line she feels good.
can't count out Akemi Ozaki," said Jon Cross who pointed out that the
Second Wind AC had also brought a group of recreational runners to
Honolulu, part of the approximately 18,000 Japanese runners expected to
Significant prize and bonus money is on the line at
this race where warm and humid conditions combined with a challenging
course make achieving fast times very difficult. In addition to the
$40,000 first prize and prize money going five-deep based on finish
position, a $10,000 bonus can be collected by the race winners for
breaking either the male or female course records of 2:11:12 and
2:27:19, respectively. There is also a table of time bonuses which
begin at sub-2:18 for the men and 2:38 for the women.
weather continues to be iffy here; a big storm came through Honolulu
last night causing some tree damage and scattered power outages.
Fortunately, however, it probably won't be excessively hot, even if it
is rainy and a bit windy.
"It's really hard to say," said Cross who has been following the weather forecast closely. "I'm getting conflicting reports."