Bahrain’s Mimi Belete set a new course record and a four-minute personal best with her 2:22:39 finish at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon today. Defending champion Marta Megra of Kenya was second, in 2:22:35, and Ruth Chebitok of Kenya was third, in 2:23:29. Megra also brought her PB down by a couple of minutes.
Belete, 30, is originally from Ethiopia. She is a four-flat 1,500m runner who only recently moved up to the marathon, finishing third at the Hamburg Marathon in April, with a personal best of 2:26:06.
Runners had to deal with a steady headwind heading out to the west end turnaround, and again in the final kilometres of the race. It was Belete and Megra leading through the 35K mark, as Amane Beriso, who at 2:20:48 had the fastest personal best of any woman ever at this race, dropped behind. The pacer leading the two female frontrunners got a lot of credit for doing his job extremely well today. Beriso finished in sixth place, behind Australia’s Jessica Trengove in fourth (2:25:59) and Celestine Chepchirchir in fifth (2:26:58).
In the men’s race, not many picked Benson Kipruto to win today’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, but that’s the beauty of the marathon–anything can happen, and usually does. Kipruto finished in 2:07:24, narrowly missing the course record and Canadian soil record. Kipruto ran his personal best of 2:07:11 at the Seoul Marathon in March 2018.
The defending champion, Philemon Rono, who still holds those records, and Benson Kiprotich (the only Olympic gold medallist ever to run this course) fell off the pace early in the race. New Zealand’s Jake Robertson, Augustino Sulle and Felix Kandie emerged as the leaders running east through the Beach neighbourhood. Sulle finished in second place (2:07:46) and Kandie in third (2:08:30). Finally Canada’s Cam Levins strode past Robertson in the final few metres for fourth place and a new Canadian record, in 2:09:25.
Second-place finisher Augustino Sulle, 21, hails from Tanzania, and set a tremendous three-minute personal best today. Third-place finisher Felix Kandie is a training partner of Jake Robertson’s in Kenya.
Kipruto is the younger brother of Dickson Chumba, who was hoping to break the Canadian soil record here one year ago. Chumba ended up finishing second behind Rono last year.
Rono finished ninth today, in 2:13:37, and Kiprotich seventh, in 2:11:06.