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Spring rain puts damper on Seoul Int’l Marathon

Posted March. 21, 2011 10:27,   


Rain helped to clear yellow dust in the sky but was an uninvited guest for runners in the Seoul International Marathon Sunday.

Fanned by northeast winds of 2.9 meters per second amid temperature as low as 2.9 degrees Celsius, the rain caused runners’ muscles to stiffen. Temperatures were as low as 3.4 degrees around 10 a.m., when the race was over, and the wind chill factor fell to negative due to gusty winds.

Promising Korean runner Kim Min suffered hypothermia at the 25-kilometer point and was taken to the hospital by an ambulance. Kenyan runner Sylvester Teimet, who won last year’s event with a time of 2 hours, six minutes and 49 seconds, and compatriot Boniface Wambua Nduwa gave up early in the race.

Lim Sang-gyu, coach of Samsung Electronics’ marathon team, said, “If not for rain, the winner could have cut the event’s record by two to three minutes.”

Jeong Ha-joon, coach of Kolon’s marathon team, also said, “The winner of the men’s race could have finished within 2 hours and seven minutes, but rain prevented this.”

Most experts say it was amazing that Abderrahim Goumri of Morocco finished with a time of 2:09:11 and Jeong Jin-hyuk with 2:09:28 despite the rain.

Jeong stood out by running a clean race. In his third full-course run, he used the tactic of tracing Kenyan runner Paul Kirui among pacemakers.

“I followed Kirui because he had similar step size and race rhythm as I do,” Jeong said. When Kirui quit at the 30-kilometer point, Jeong spurted first to come from behind eventual winner Goumri and Girma of Ethiopia, who finished fourth.

Jeong’s premature spurt blocked him from winning the race, however. He led through the 35-kilometer point but was overtaken by Goumri at 36 kilometers soon after crossing Jamsil Bridge.

Among women competitors, Robe Guta of Ethiopia and Wei Yanan of China went neck-and-neck early in the race, with Guta emerging victorious. Jeong Yoon-hee, Lee Sun-young and Lee Sook-jeong of Korea ran together through 35 kilometers before Chung broke away and became the first to cross the finish line among the trio.