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Abel Kirui The New Champion Of The World
by: LetsRun.com
August 22, 2009
Berlin, Germany
(photos coming soon)

The last time Abel Kirui raced, he was only the third-best Kenyan in the Rotterdam Marathon. On Saturday in Berlin, Kirui was the best in the world, as he pulled away over the final 5k to win the 2009 World Championships Marathon in a championship record 2:06:54.

Granted, Kirui's last race - when he finished third - he ran 2:05:04 in one of the most exciting races in the history of the marathon.

This time on the warming streets of Berlin (65 and sunny at the start, 70 and sunny at the finish), the pace was not quite as fast, but Kirui faced a more daunting field that included the hottest marathoner in the world, the reigning Boston Marathon champ Deriba Merga, the four-time Boston Marathon champ Robert Cheruiyot, in addition to the Olympic bronze medallist Tsegay Kebede of Kenya.

12th IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day Eight Eight Up Front Halfway
After brisk opening half of 1:03:03, the lead pack was down to eight and included 3 Kenyans (Cheruiyot, Kirui, and Emmanuel Mutai (winner of 2007 Amsterdam Marathon), 3 Ethiopians (Merga, Kebede and Deressa Chimsa), Rwanda's Diudonne Disi and Brazil's Marilson Dos Santos (two time NYC champion).

At 25k (15.5 miles), the pack was down to five, as Kebede, Dos Santos, and Chimsa were gone. Between 25k and 30k, Disi  - while with the lead pack - just stopped running on the side of the road. He then resumed running for a little while before stopping again and dropping out.

At 30k, it was now three Kenyans (Cheruiyot, Kirui, Mutai) versus the unstoppable-in-2009 Merga. Could he survive the Kenyan trio? The pace had been relatively consistent throughout (after an opening 5k of 15:09, the pace had been between 14:49 and 15:05 for each subsequent 5k), but it was taking its toll.

Cheruiyot was the next victim as he fell off the back. Then, surprisingly, the next to struggle was Merga, despite the pace slowing (from 30 to 35k they ran 15:13 for 5k). By 35k, he was 2 seconds back of Kirui and Mutai. It now appeared to be a two-man Kenyan battle for the title. All along, Tsegay Kebede, the Olympic bronze medallist, who had fallen back before 25k, had not lost much ground and was within striking distance if one of the first three would falter.

Merga Drops Out, Kirui Vs. Mutai
12th IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day Eight Merga, once he fell off the leaders, was soon done as he would drop out. Kirui and Mutai went stride-for-stride for only about five minutes and then Kirui began to pull ahead around 1:50 into the race. He would only lengthen his lead the final 5k as he would go on to capture the world title in a championship record 2:06:54, with Mutai nearly a minute back in 2:07:48. In the final k, Mutai vomited his sports drink, but his place in second was secure as Kebede was well behind him and would get his second straight global bronze in 2:08:35. Tsegay would get fourth, and Robert Cheruiyot held on for fifth in 2:10:46 to give Kenya the World Marathon team title (the total time for the top 3 from each country is how the teams are measured).

12th IAAF World Athletics Championships - Day Eight Things then fall off quickly, as the honest opening pace was taking its toll. Japan's Atsushi Sato, who had gone out in 1:03:51, would hang on for sixth in 2:12:05, and raise his hands triumphantly at the finish. In 7th was Adil Enani in 2:12:12 and then was nearly a 2-minute gap until 8th (2:14:04), where the guys who had gone out more reasonably (1:05:58) would start to come in, led by Jose Martinez of Spain.

Dan Browne Leads The Americans
The US's Dan Browne, back in the active duty Army and in the WCAP program after six years with Nike and the Army Reserves, had gone out with the big secondary pack but faded a bit down the stretch to finish in 24th in 2:16.49. Afterwards, Dan and his coach Bob Larsen (coach of Meb Keflezighi) said the plan was to run around 2:14 (2:14-flat would have been eighth). Dan said, however, he encountered a bad patch around 25k, 26k and then struggled until 35k.

Afterwards, Dan said he was reasonably pleased (the IAAF has requested that we no longer post post-race interviews). He said, "I feel reasonably pleased ... I loved running here in Berlin." There were huge crowds at the finish of Brandenburg Gate, where music was blasted on the criterium course. Dan loved the atmosphere. He said, "It was awesome they were playing techno music. It was inspiring." Dan is focused on the 2012 Olympics and says making the team is his mission for the Army.

Matt Gabrielson was second American in 36th in 2:18.41. Matt didn't have an explanation for fading the second half of the race, but felt perhaps he was not ready for the flat course. He said, "I don't have an explanation. I don't think we trained on flat surfaces enough. I feel like I'm in so much better shape than that ... Coming down the final stretch I can't even describe it, the intensity, thousands and thousands of peopls just screaming."

Nate Jenkins finished (so the US would get a team score) in 63rd in 2:32.16, as Justin Young dropped out before 25k.

Big Win For Kirui
Kirui definitely made a name for himself on Saturday and he knew it. He bounced up and down at the finish to the techno music and his bright personality will be an asset if he continues atop the sport. He said of his immediate plans, "I hope to go and shake hands with the president of Kenya ... My life is now high exposure." However, Kirui was aware that he can not let the success get to his head, as he added, "I need to be disciplined to retain (my title)."

1 731 Abel KIRUI KEN 2:06:54 CR
2 737 Emmanuel Kipchirchir MUTAI KEN 2:07:48
3 410 Tsegay KEBEDE ETH 2:08:35
4 417 Yemane TSEGAY ETH 2:08:42
5 720 Robert Kipkoech CHERUIYOT KEN 2:10:46 SB
6 702 Atsushi SATO JPN 2:12:05
7 805 Adil ENNANI MAR 2:12:12
8 371 Jose Manuel MARTINEZ ESP 2:14:04 SB
9 931 Jose MOREIRA POR 2:14:05 PB
10 929 Luis FEITEIRA POR 2:14:06
11 704 Masaya SHIMIZU JPN 2:14:06
12 961 Norman DLOMO RSA 2:14:39 SB
13 939 Fernando SILVA POR 2:14:48
14 689 Satoshi IRIFUNE JPN 2:14:54 SB
15 418 Dejene YIRDAW ETH 2:15:09
16 224 Marilson DOS SANTOS BRA 2:15:13 SB
17 964 Johannes KEKANA RSA 2:15:28 SB
18 562 Andre POLLMACHER GER 2:15:36
19 211 Adriano BASTOS BRA 2:15:39 PB
20 999 Oleg KULKOV RUS 2:15:40
21 134 Martin DENT AUS 2:16:05
22 970 Coolboy NGAMOLE RSA 2:16:20 SB
23 222 Jose DE SOUZA BRA 2:16:40
24 1169 Daniel BROWNE USA 2:16:49 SB
25 255 Reid COOLSAET CAN 2:16:53 PB
26 809 Rachid KISRI MAR 2:17:01
27 984 Yuriy ABRAMOV RUS 2:17:04
28 1096 Phaustin Baha SULLE TAN 2:17:11
29 832 Ser-Od BAT-OCHIR MGL 2:17:22 SB
30 141 Andrew LETHERBY AUS 2:17:29 SB
31 1129 Daniel Kipkorir CHEPYEGON UGA 2:17:47 SB
32 475 Simon MUNYUTU FRA 2:17:53 SB
33 260 Dylan WYKES CAN 2:18:00 SB
34 526 Martin BECKMANN GER 2:18:08
35 1257 George MAJAJI ZIM 2:18:37 SB
36 1182 Matt GABRIELSON USA 2:18:41 SB
37 829 Alejandro SUAREZ MEX 2:18:55
38 1107 Chia-Che CHANG TPE 2:19:32 SB
39 697 Kazuhiro MAEDA JPN 2:19:59
40 237 Khalid Kamal YASEEN BRN 2:20:11
41 481 James Kibocha THEURI FRA 2:20:24
42 1035 Roman KEJZAR SLO 2:20:25 SB
43 944 Song-Chol PAK PRK 2:21:12
44 452 Driss EL HIMER FRA 2:21:19
45 1000 Mikhail LEMAEV RUS 2:21:47
46 753 Myongseung LEE KOR 2:21:54 SB
47 148 Mark TUCKER AUS 2:21:57 SB
48 592 Jose Amado GARCIA GUA 2:22:00 SB
49 821 Carlos CORDERO MEX 2:22:16
50 529 Falk CIERPINSKI GER 2:22:36
51 945 Hyon U RI PRK 2:22:48
52 893 Costantino LEON PER 2:23:34 SB
53 258 Andrew SMITH CAN 2:24:48
54 437 Samir BAALA FRA 2:25:12
55 830 Juan Gualberto VARGAS MEX 2:25:26
56 256 Giitah MACHARIA CAN 2:25:40 SB
57 1088 Getuli BAYO TAN 2:25:52 SB
58 150 Scott WESTCOTT AUS 2:26:02
59 286 Nelson CRUZ CPV 2:27:16 SB
60 1095 Andrea SILVINI TAN 2:28:48
61 686 Arata FUJIWARA JPN 2:31:06 SB
62 742 Valery PISAREV KGZ 2:31:32 SB
63 1193 Nate JENKINS USA 2:32:16 SB
64 627 Wodage ZVADYA ISR 2:34:58
65 752 Myong-Ki LEE KOR 2:35:12
66 564 Tobias SAUTER GER 2:35:43
67 376 Pedro NIMO ESP 2:36:39
68 345 Tesfayohannes MESFIN ERI 2:39:51
69 757 Geuntae YOOK KOR 2:40:47
70 190 Sangay WANGCHUK BHU 2:47:55 NR
881 Michael AISH NZL DNF
789 Sechaba BOHOSI LES DNF
405 Deressa CHIMSA ETH DNF
1026 Dieudonne DISI RWA DNF
807 Abderrahim GOUMRI MAR DNF
1089 Lucian Disdery HOMBO TAN DNF
843 Reinhold Ndalikokule IITA NAM DNF
1094 Christopher ISENGWE TAN DNF
746 Youngjun JI KOR DNF
235 Stephen Loruo KAMAR BRN DNF
1132 Nicholas KIPRONO UGA DNF
729 Benjamin Kolum KIPTOO KEN DNF
414 Deriba MERGA ETH DNF
958 Mubarak Hassan SHAMI QAT DNF
336 Franklin TENORIO ECU DNF
1247 Justin YOUNG USA DNF
786 Ali Mabrouk EL ZAIDI LBA DNS
745 Junhyeon HWANG KOR DNS
739 Daniel RONO KEN DNS
1237 Edwardo TORRES USA DNS



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