This was also the first time that the IAU has held its international event in the Middle East. There were 38 invited athletes from 17 countries that took part in the Trophy Final race.
In the Men’s competition, Collen Makaza (ZIM) took top honours with a time of 3:00:40. He was followed by Phil Anthony (GBR) in 3:01:26 and Harm Sengers (NED) in the bronze medal position running 3:05:01.
Makaza, Anthony and Elijah Biwott (KEN) took the early lead with Michael Wardian (USA) running close to the pack. Both Makaza and Biwott are former champions at this event and are well in tune with each other’s running strategies. At about the 3rd lap into the 10 lap course, Paul Martelletti started challenging for the podium finish as well. He followed this by settling into fourth place comfortably.
At about the 30km mark Makaza increased the pace of the lead group and this led to dropping Biwott. He then increased it further in the next lap to create a 100 meter distance between him and Anthony which would ultimately become an eighty six second lead at the finish. While the sequence of events was changing in the front, Sengers moved past Biwott who ultimately pulled out from the race, giving Sengers the bronze medal.
In the women’s race, Emily Harrison (USA) finished first with a time of 3:32:27. Joasia Zakrzewski (GBR) took second in 3:33:20 and Catrin Jones (CAN) got 3rd running 3:37:54.
Harrison, assuring her pre-race favourite status took the lead from the start along with Jones who ran stride for stride with her until the 30km mark. Zakrzewski, always a solid runner and fresh from running the marathon at the Commonwealth Games made her way through the field as the race went on.
Between 30 and 35 kilometers, Harrison took the lead back from Jones and increased her speed to create a gap between her and the Canadian runner. As in the men’s race a lot of action was taking place behind the leaders as well. Zakrzewski made her move in the next couple of laps to take over the silver place. Rita Nordsveen (NOR) had an outstanding race as well moving into 4th place to finish strong.
Athletes ran very well under hot warm temperatures. Outstanding performances were achieved at the Aspire facility and the athletes made history running in the first international ultra event in the Middle East. Next year’s 50km World Championships takes place at the same venue in Doha.
The current 50km Series ran over two years (2013-2014) and had 21 races in its folds encompassing qualifications from Australia through to Japan, Germany and Canada.
Qualifications were based on men and women running under 3hr 20min and 3hr 50min respectively. In case of open spots, wild cards were issued, based on running performances in marathons and longer distances.
1) Collen Makaza ZIM 3:00:40
2) Phil Anthony GBR 3:01:26
3) Harm Sengers NED 3:05:01
4) Paul Martelletti GBR 3:11:05
5) Gary O’Hanlon IRL 3:14:34
1) Emily Harrison USA 3:32:27
2) Joasia Zakrzewski GBR 3:33:20
3) Catrin Jones CAN 3:37:54
4) Rita Nordsveen NOR 3:45:18
5) Neza Mravlje SLO 3:48:39
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