Kenyan 27-year-old Joel Kiplimo Kemboi has blitzed the field to take out the 2011 Blackmores Sydney Marathon as approximately 35,000 people ran, jogged and walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Sydney Opera House finish line in the 11th Blackmores Sydney Running Festival.
A beautiful sunny Sydney morning greeted runners from 43 countries as they made their way around four separate courses in the run that’s fun for everyone, aiming to raise more than $2 million for charities.
Among the masses enjoying the sights of Sydney were Blackmores Sydney Running Festival Ambassador Glenn McGrath, who was joined by Matt Shirvington in the Sunday Telegraph body + soul Bridge Run (9km). Co-ambassador and TV personality Emma Freedman completed her first Half Marathon, while Adam Gilchrist joined the many family groups on the Sunday Telegraph Family Fun Run and walk course (4km).
Blackmores Sydney Running Festival Event Director Wayne Larden said Sydney had turned on a wonderful day to showcase the city’s sights in the iconic event.
“People from around the globe and across Australia come to Sydney to participate in this event for the unique chance to run or walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and cross the finish line at the world famous Sydney Opera House," said Larden.
“The weather co-operated today and there couldn’t be a better advertisement for Sydney and our healthy, outdoor lifestyle.”
An estimated 3,320 runners and walkers are still on the course.
RESULTS IN ALL EVENTS:
BLACKMORES SYDNEY MARATHON
With Australian marathon legend Rob deCastella, whose image is on this year’s medals given to all finishers, firing the starter’s pistol, Kenya’s Joel Kiplimo Kemboi took control of the race at the 18km mark before pulling away to clock 2:17.39.
In the end Kemboi won emphatically from Tanzania’s two-time former Blackmores Sydney Marathon winner Oswald Revelian and American Michael Aish.
Revelian, who won the race in 2003 and 2004, finished in 2:25:51, while Aish, who has represented New Zealand in two Olympic Marathons but now has US citizenship, came home in 2:26:40.
Kemboi, whose time was seven minutes 38 seconds faster than last year’s winning time, the first Blackmores Sydney Marathon run over a new course, paid tribute to the toughness of the Sydney event but hinted he wanted to return next year and attack fellow Kenyan and four-time Blackmores Sydney Marathon winner Julius Maritim’s course record of 2:14.38.
“I am happy with the time because the course here is hard and there’s a lot of climbing up and going down, it’s very undulating,” the quietly spoken Kemboi said.
“I did my personal best of 2:11 in Cologne so maybe next year I’ll come back here and try to run under 2:10.”
The women’s marathon was won by Letay Hadish, 26, of Ethiopia in a time of 2:43:22.
Kenyan Margaret Mjuguna was second in 2:45:16 and NSW runner Gabrielle O'Rourke claimed third in 2:53:17
BLACKMORES WHEELCHAIR MARATHON
Australian Paralympian Kurt Fearnley has won his sixth Blackmores Sydney Wheelchair Marathon in a race record time of 1:36.38, trimming a mere five seconds off the time he set in 2009. It was Fearnley’s third consecutive win in the event.
NSW’s Fearnley finished ahead of ACT’s Richard Nicholson, who recorded a time of 1:51:04, and the Northern Territory’s Tyler Byers in 1:54.18.
BLACKMORES HALF MARATHON – Australian Championship
Victorian Lee Troop took out the 2011 Blackmores Half Marathon, crossing the finish line at the Sydney Opera House in a time of 1:07:15.
The race also doubled as the Australian Half Marathon Championships and incredibly Troop’s victory was his tenth national crown across road, cross-country and track events.
Finishing in second on a balmy Sydney morning was Erwin McRae from the ACT in 1:08.07, with Victoria’s Nathan Hartigan in third with a time of 1:09.04.
After the race Troop, who now lives in Boulder, Colorado in the USA, said it was great to win on a glorious Sydney morning.
“I’m wrapped to have ten Australian titles across track, road and cross country, at 38 and a half (years), and to know that every day I’m taking now is getting me closer to retirement, I’m thrilled,” Troop said.
The first woman across the Blackmores Half Marathon line was NSW’s Belinda Martin in a time of 01:17:18, just 17 seconds ahead of Queensland’s defending champion Clare Geraghty (01:17:35). Kelly Jarrett (Victoria) was third in 01:21:22.
THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH body + soul BRIDGE RUN (9KM)
Almost 16,500 people took part in this year’s Sunday Telegraph body + soul Bridge Run with North Wollongong, NSW’s, Russell Dessaix-Chin winning in a slick time of 26:33.
Ironically it was exactly the same time as Dessaix-Chin clocked when he won the race in 2007. He also won the event in 2004.
Finishing behind Dessaix-Chin in second was NSW duo Lachlan Chisholm (27:49) and Jason Harrison (28:02).
In the women’s race it was a NSW trifecta with Melinda Vernon winning back to back titles and crossing the finish line with a time of 31:33. Second place was taken out by Anna White in 32.24 minutes, whilst Lauren Mitchell placed a close third with a time of 32.44.
THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH FAMILY FUN RUN/WALK (4KM)
Berowra Heights’ Adam Halmy, 13, won the Sunday Telegraph Family Fun Run & Walk in a time of 14:43 from Clinton Coker (14:53) and Bryce Collins (15:17).
The women’s race was taken out by another 13-year-old - Cremorne’s Dominica Lucas in 15:46, ahead of Jane Boyd in 16:15 and Bethany Halmy (16:53).
TOP FUNDRAISING RUNNER
Clyde Campbell is the winner of the Suncorp Bank Highest Fundraiser, raising over $25,800 for the Shake It Up Foundation, which he founded after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease two years ago.
He has since partnered with Hollywood star Michael J Fox to raise money for Australian researchers to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease and won approval to establish Team Fox Australia as its official fundraising arm of the Shake it Up Foundation. Clyde and a team of 70 supporters ran today for The Shake It Up Foundation, which is one of 29 official charities to benefit from more than $2 million being raised by runners taking part in this year's event.