European Championships, Diamond League Athletics, Fall Marathon Announcements and More
Start The Week: Racing season is full flow and we have the round up of news plus previews of the fall marathon season ahead
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Polish Runner Lisowska wins European Championships Marathon
Poland’s Aleksandra Lisowska won a historic gold medal in Munich on August 15 by winning the marathon on the opening day of the 2022 European Athletics Championships. Lisowska, 31, won the first-ever European marathon title for Poland in a nail-biting race in which four women were still in contention for the medals in the final 50 meters. Lisowska won the race in 2:28:36 amid hot, sunny conditions and thousands of spectators lining the streets.
Lisowska, who co-holds the Polish marathon record of 2:26:08, was not a favorite to win a medal at the European Championships. She had only broken 2:30 for the marathon once, and at last summer’s Tokyo Olympics she only finished 35th in 2:35:33.
But she ran a patient race, allowing other runners to do the leading during the relatively slow first half (1:14:33) of the race. She remained tucked in the pack as higher-profile runners Sara Moreira (Portugal), Miriam Dattke (Germany), Nienke Brinkman (Netherlands), Fabienne Schlumpf (Switzerland), Giovanna Epis (Italy) and Fionnuala McCormack (Ireland) did most of the work. It wasn’t until he 30km point, when the lead pack was down to 10 runners, that Lisowska began to assert herself.
“From the start, I felt I was in total control of the race,” she said. “In fact, the first 30 kilometers were too slow for me so I tried to attack the pace a bit so I could go ahead. After the 30th kilometer, I was able to run the pace I wanted and still kept the energy to attack if needed.”
All the significant action took place after the 35km mark. Brinkman, Dattke, Lisowska, Epis and Matea Parlov Kostro (Croatia) were the only athletes who remained in contention. With the clock showing 2:20:50, Epis had fallen back (and eventually finished fifth) and Lisowska and Dattke had pulled ahead of Brinkman and Parlov Kostro. Moments later, Lisowska began to surge and reached the 40km point in 2:21:18 in the lead. She quickly built up a seven-second advantage, a cushion which would prove to be enough to get her over the finish line first. “I had it under control,” Lisowska said confidently.
Parlov Kostro was the strongest of the rest of the field, taking silver in 2:28:42, followed by Brinkman (2:28:52) edging out Dattke (2:28:52) for third and Epis (2:29:06) finishing fifth.
American Trail Runners Run Fast in Switzerland
Kenya’s Esther Chesang won the historic 31km Sierre-Zinal race on August 13 in Switzerland by out-running three-time defending champion Maude Mathys of Switzerland. Chesang, who is more known for her road running prowess as a 2:26 marathoner, was well off Mathys’ 2:46:03 course record but still came away with a dominant victory in 2:52:01 over the second-place Mathys (2:52:32). The race, part of both the World Mountain Running Association’s World Cup and the Golden Trail World Series, gains 7,200 feet and loses 3,600 feet as it runs between the mountain villages of Sierre and Zinal. Kenya’s Philiares Kisang (2:58:00) was a distant third.
Several Americans fared well in the race, including Colorado’s Bailey Kowalczyk, who placed sixth in 3:04:48. Colorado’s Tabor Hemming was 10th (3:08:58), while Oregon’s Kimber Mattox placed 19th (3:14.45), California’s Dani Moreno was 20th (3:15.29), Nevada’s EmKay Sullivan was 28th (3:23:56) and Colorado’s Ashley Brasovan was 33rd (3:29:15).
Chicago Announces Deep 2022 Elite Field
The 2022 Chicago Marathon will have a stacked field on Oct. 9, with top Americans among the headliners in the elite field and more than 40,000 total runners in the race.
Americans Emily Sisson (2:23:08, London, 2019), Laura Thweatt (2:25:38, London, 2017), Sarah Sellers (2:25:43, Duluth, 2022), Sara Vaughn (2:26:53, Sacramento, 2021), Susanna Sullivan (2:26:56, Duluth, 2022) and Diane Nukuri (2:27:50, London, 2015) among the elite field. The frontrunner in the field is 2019 world champion Ruth Chepngetichwho won Chicago on a hot day last October in 2:22:31. The 28-year-old Kenyan has run the fourth-fastest women’s marathon of all-time (2:17:08) and the third-fastest half-marathon (1:04:02)
Kenya’s Celestine Chepchirchir (2:20:10) and Vivian Kiplagat (2:20:18) also figure to be contenders, along with Ethiopian Haven Hailu Desse (2:20:19). Other Americans hoping to have breakthrough races include Maggie Montoya (2:29:08, Houston, 2022), Carrie Verdon (2:31:51, Chicago, 2021), Brittney Feivor (2:32:41, Houston, 2022) and Meriah Earle (2:34:19, Duluth, 2022)
American Tatyana McFadden will also be back to defend her title in the women’s wheelchair division. The 33-year-old native of Russia who went to college at the University of Illinois about two hours south of Chicago is aiming for her 10th victory in Chicago. McFadden, who also boasts 20 Paralympic medals, including eight gold medals, is already the Chicago Marathon’s race’s most decorated athlete, having won the race nine times since her first victory in 2021.
New York City Marathon Draws Top Stars
World Championships medalists Gotytom Gebreslase of Ethiopia, Lonah Chemtai Salpeter of Israel and Hellen Obiri of Kenya will join previously announced 2021 New York City Marathon and Tokyo Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir (2:17:16) in the women’s professional athlete division at this year’s TCS New York City Marathon on November 6.
Last year Jepchirchir became the first woman to win both the Olympic marathon (2:27:20) and the New York City Marathon (2:22:39) in the same year. Gebreslase was the bronze medalist at last year’s Tokyo Olympics (2:18:18), Salpeter (2:17:45) owns the sixth-fastest women’s marathon time in history, while Obiri is a two-time world champion at 5,000 meters making her marathon debut.
The elite field also includes a star-studded contingent of American women headlined by Sara Hall (2:20:32) and Emma Bates (2:23:13), who placed fifth and eighth, respectively at the World Athletics Championships in July, 2020 Olympian Aliphine Tuliamuk (2:26:50), 2018 Boston Marathon champion Des Linden (2:22:48), Nell Rojas (2:25:57), the top American finisher at the Boston Marathon in 2021 and 2022, and retiring American veteran Stephanie Bruce (2:27:47).
Allyson Felix Retires from Competition
American track legend Allyson Felix officially ended her 20-year international track career at a special event on August 7 in Los Angeles. The event, The Race for Change, was a celebration of the most decorated track and field athlete in American history. During her career as a five-time Olympian, Felix won a women’s record 11 Olympic medals (7 of which are gold) an all-time record 20 career medals from World Championships, 24 Diamond League or Golden League wins, a Pan-Am Games bronze medal, a U20 200-meter world record set in 2004, and two relay world records that still stand today. But it’s what Felix does next in her career that could be her biggest legacy.
RELATED: How To Leave A Legacy: Allyson Felix
‘Mommy Rocket’ Runs 10.62 for 100 meters
Jamaican sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, a 10-time world champion, three-time Olympic gold medalist and mother of 5-year-old son, Zyon, ran a world-leading 10.62 in the 100 meters on August 11 at the Diamond League track meet in Monaco. The 35-year-old self-named “Mommy Rocket” is the first woman to break 10.7 seconds six times in a single season. “To be able to run 10.6 consistently means a lot to me,” Fraser-Pryce said.
Other notable results from that meet included Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon winning the women’s 1,500 meters in a near-record of 3:50.37. That’s the second-fastest time ever run behind Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba’s 3:50.07 on the same track in 2015. American Heather Maclean finished second in a personal best of 3:58.89, while Elise Cranny of the U.S. set her own new PR of 3:59.06 while finishing third.
Americans Sage Hurta (1:57.85) and Olivia Baker (1:58.05) placed second and third, respectively, in the women’s 800, and set new personal best times while finishing behind Jamaica’s Natoya Goule (1:56.98). Meanwhile, American Emma Coburn rebounded from a disappointing eighth-place in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, last month, with a fourth-place 9:07.93 effort. That time puts her on top of the U.S. list for 2022 and ranks her No. 8 in the world.
There are three more Diamond League meets left on the schedule: Lausanne (August 26), Brussels (September 2) and the series finals in Zurich (September 7-8).
What’s Coming This Week
The Leadville 100 trail running race is the biggest thing happening this week. The out-and-back race starts and finishes in the historic mining town of Leadville at 10,160 feet above sea level and sends runners on a journey over Sugarloaf Mountain, along parts of the Colorado Trail and over 12,600-foot Hope Pass and back. Colorado’s Clare Gallagher, the 2016 Leadville 100 champion and 2019 Western States 100 winner, is the top contender in the women’s field in Leadville. But even as the excitement brews about Leadville, expect news and information about next week’s Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc festival of races to start filling your digital feeds.