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Kelai (2:09:30) in Rematch at ScotiaBank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

The promise of an excellent re-match between 31 year-old returning champion, John Kelai of Kenya, and 24 year old Tariku Jufar of Ethiopia, highlights the strongest-ever men’s field for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, announced today for the 9th edition, to be run on September 28th. 

Kelai is an athlete who knows how to win.
excitement across Canada last year when he triumphed in

 

He created major

a thrilling, come-from-behind, sprint to the line over fellow countryman Daniel
Rono. His time of 2:09:30 was the fastest marathon ever on Canadian soil. It
eclipsed the previous All-comers mark of 2:09:55 that had stood for 31 years
since the Montreal Olympics in 1976 — run 4 months before Kelai was born. Kelai
and Rono made Scotia Toronto Waterfront one of only four sub 2:10 marathons in
North America in 2007 and helped propel the
event into the top ranks of world marathons with the awarding of an IAAF Silver
Label for 2008.

 

Since last Fall, Kelai
has maintained his winning ways, running to victory in Mumbai for the second
year in a row, in January. Again, he used his patented strong finish to defeat a
young Ethiopian, Tariku Jufar, by a scant 5 seconds, 2:12:23 to 2:12:28. This
was only 20 seconds off the course record at Mumbai and reminiscent of his
thrilling, 6-second victory at Toronto Waterfront ‰âÂèÏ07. Jufar then went on to
record an impressive 2:08:11, for 3rd place in Hamburg in April. Daniel
Rono was 2nd place again, in Rotterdam this Spring, but in a remarkable
2:06:58. Jufar now has the time, but no victories; Kelai clearly knows how to
win. 

“I am training hard for Toronto
Waterfront and will be ready to defend my title, and run a new PR [2:09:09,
Eindhoven 2005],‰âÂVbCrLf
says Kelai.  It promises to be a fine
duel.

 

Thanks to Scotiabank
sponsorship, the Toronto Waterfront prize purse has been increased again for
2008, to $20,000 for first place, with money going down to 8th in the
Open division. In addition, Scotiabank is also offering the extra $20,000 cash
bonuses for new “fastest time on Canadian soil‰âÂVbCrLf records that were so alluring
last year– now sub 2:09:30 for men and sub 2:26:01 for women. The men’s bonus
will be increased to $25,000 if the new mark is under 2:09:00. The total purse
is just over $180,000, plus time bonuses.

 

The increased purse
and growing reputation of the flat, fast, Waterfront course as a place where
young up-and-comers can get a fast time, have attracted the event’s deepest
men’s field to date. Besides Kelai, Kenya will be well represented by
Peter Kiprotich, Jonathan Yego, Phillip Sanga, Kenneth Mungara, David Tarus and
Samuel Ndereba. The 29-year old Kiprotich, from Iten, ran his PR of 2:08:49 last
October in Frankfurt, placing third. Yego, just
30 years old, won Rome on a windy morning this
March in his best time of 2:09:58 — winning a good battle with Sanga who was
2nd in 2:10:02.The 27 year-old Tarus was 6th at Rome in a best of 2:11:18.
Mungara also knows how to win, crossing the line first in Prague in May, after a
2:10:37 for 2nd at Tiberius in January. Samuel Ndereba, younger
brother of Olympic silver medalist Catherine “The Great‰âÂVbCrLf, has run only one
previous marathon, a 2:17:04 for 9th in the “monsoon‰âÂVbCrLf that was Boston
’07, where Robert K. Cheruiyot ran 2:14 for victory. Ndereba’s 61:50 half PR,
and good, build-up performances at Falmouth and The Crim this summer suggest he is
ready to run in the sub-2:10 pack.

  

Besides Jufar, Ethiopia will also be represented by Amersisa
Ketema; Tomas Abyu, now running for “Team England‰âÂVbCrLf in the International Team Challenge at
the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront, is originally from Arsi, emigrating to
Manchester in
1999.  Ketema finally faded to
4th in Mumbai [2:13:29] in January, behind Kelai and Jufar, after
staying with them until a decisive incline at 35k. Abyu is definitely running
with something to prove in his new English vest. He had a huge 
breakthrough last
autumn, when he ran 4th at the Great North Run on September
30th, in 62:50, behind Martin Lel, Sammy Wanjiri and Hendrick
Ramaala; then went on to finish 2nd at Dublin in 
 2:10:37. “Tomas Tanks It! Abyu looks
Beijing bound,‰âÂVbCrLf shouted the front page of Athletics Weekly– only to discover
that the course was not IAAF recognized and so could not be considered for
selection. A bout of bronchitis just before London in April finished off Tomas’ Olympic
dreams.

“Of course I was disappointed after
London‰âÂå_. But I’m
only 29, and I knew there would be other opportunities. I think I’m capable of a
sub 2:10 at Toronto Waterfront, with a 2:08 in the
not-too-distant future‰âÂVbCrLf.

  

 “We’re delighted to have John Kelai back,
and such a strong field around him,” said Race Director Alan Brookes. With so
many good guys, it could be anybody’s day. With Paul Kimugul and Charles Koech,
we’ve really improved our pace-making in a major way. We hope this gives the
athletes the chance to run some really fast times, have some thrilling battles,
and set a new Canadian All-comers record!‰âÂVbCrLf

 

The 9th
annual running of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, presented by
adidas, and the 19th edition of the accompanying Half Marathon and 5K
are expected to attract more than 13,000 participants from every Canadian
province, more than 40 American states and 35 countries. Combined, they will
raise more than $1 million for 63 smaller neighbourhood charities, and have an
estimated economic impact on the city of $20 million.

 

For entries and
information, go to www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com

 

ATHLETES:
Men

Bib
#

PR

Recent
Performances

 

KELAI, John  [KEN]

1

2:09:09
(2005)

2:09:30 1st, CR, CAR,
STWM07

2:09:09 PR 1st Eindhoven
2005

JUFAR, Tariku
[ETH]

2

2:08:11
(2008)

2:08:11 3rd Hamburg
27/04/08

2:12:28 2nd [to Kelia] Mumbai
20/01/08

KIPROTICH, Peter
KEN]

3

2:08:49
[2007]

2:08:49 4th Frankfurt 28/10/07

2:11:10 8th Hamburg
07

YEGO, Jonathan
[KEN]

4

2:09:57
[2008]

2:09:58 1st Rome
16/03/08

 2:12:16 1st Brussels
’07

SANGA, Phillip
[KEN]

5

2:10:02
[2008]

2:10:02 2nd Rome
16/03/08

2:13:44 2nd Madrid
22/04/07

MUNGARA, Kenneth
[KEN]

6

2:10:13
[2007]

2:10:37 2nd Tiberius
10/01/08

2:11:06 1st Prague
11/05/08

ABYU, Tomas
[ENG]

7

2:10:37
[2007]

2:10:37 2nd Dublin  29/10/07

 

KETEMA, Amersisa
[ETH]

8

2:10:59
[2007]

2:12:02 10th Hamburg
27/04/08

2:13:37 4th Mumbai
20/01/08

TARUS, David
[KEN]

9

2:11:18
[2008]

2:11:18 6th Rome
16/03/08

 

NDEREBA, Samuel
[KEN]

10

2:17:04
[2007]

2:17:04 9th Boston
16/04/07

 

RUTO, Evans
[KEN]

11

2:11:56
[2008]

2:11:56 6th Dusseldorf
4/05/08

2:17:06 7th Mumbai
20/01/08

MAJAJI, George
[ZIM]

12

2:15:13
[2008]

2:16:08 15th Rome
2007

2:15:13 Rotterdam
13/04/08

RONO, Stanley Kiprotich
[KEN]

13

2:22:09
[2008]

2:22:09 8th
Monaco  30/03/08

 

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