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Kenyans Say They Will Ace Gyeongju Race

Posted September. 21, 2007 07:43,   


Runners from the so-called kingdom of marathons, Kenya, are vowing to ace the Gyeongju race.

Korean athletes are equally keyed up, saying, “We can’t just watch Kenya take over in our home country.”

The Gyeongju International Marathon, which was elevated to international status recently, will start October 21 and feature world-class runners from Kenya, as well as Korean runners all vying to be the next Lee Bong-ju.

Out of the 20 runners invited from abroad, 15 will be from Kenya. Charles Kibiwott (32) is also on board with his personal record of 2 hours 6 minutes 52 seconds. This is 27 seconds faster than this year’s world record-high (2:07:19) and ranks a stellar 46th place in the all-time world record book. Edwin Komen (25) is Kenya’s “young blood,” clocking in at 2 hours 8 minutes and 45 seconds at the 2007 Seoul International Marathon/ 78th Dong-A Marathon. In his second full-course marathon, the Dong-A Marathon, he pulled his time up by 5 minutes. He credited the fair weather and course for his record.

Out of all the participating athletes with records of 2 hours 9 minutes or lower, 9 are Kenyan.

Korean athletes Kim Lee-yong (Seoul Olympic Sports Promotion Foundation), Hyung Chae-young (Gumi City) and other old-timers will be running as well. Kim took 2nd place (2:07:49) and Hyung was 10th (2:10:37) in the all-time Korean records. Up-and-coming Gil Kyung-sun (Seoul Olympic Sports Promotion Foundation), who won his 6th full-course marathon at the Jeonju Marathon in April, is also in good shape.

The course will start at the citizens’ sports grounds inside the Hwangsung Park and wind through Chumsungdae and other main historical sites.

In the past, Kim Wan-gi broke the Korean record with a time of 2 hours 8 minutes 34 seconds in 1994, but this time expectations are running high for better times because of increased lengths of flat strips through the city that even out the 9 kilometers of uphill slopes and fierce headwinds.