Kenyan Willy Koitile wins the 2013 Blackmores Sydney Marathon


Kenyan Willy Koitile has powered home to win the 2013 Blackmores Sydney Marathon
in two hours, 13 minutes 48 seconds (2:13:48) as more than 34,000 people ran and walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to finish lines at the Opera House and Conservatorium of Music in the 13th Blackmores Sydney Running Festival.

A gloriously sunny Sydney day greeted runners from 57 countries as they made their way over four 
separate courses in the run that’s fun for everyone, aiming to raise more than $2 million for charities.

All participants received a Blackmores Sydney Running Festival medal with the face of 1968 Olympic 200 metres silver medallist Peter Norman on one side.

In winning his second career marathon title, Koitile beat home El Hassane Ben Lkhainouch of France 
(2:14.28), with South African Lucky Mohale snaring third in 2:15.58.

The women’s event was won by Ethiopian Biruktait Degefa who clocked a sizzling 2:32.46 to slash almost six minutes from the race record of 2:38.11 set in 2001 by Australian Krishna Stanton. 

Wheelchair racing great Kurt Fearnley won his ninth Blackmores Sydney Running Festival title and fifth straight marathon crown.

Ultra-marathon runner Pat Farmer ran in the Blackmores Sydney Marathon alongside members of ‘the Blue Line Legends’ - who were competing in the race for a record 13.

Also joining the throng of competitors enjoying the sights of Sydney were Blackmores Sydney Running Festival Ambassador Glenn McGrath, Wallaby Lachie Turner and singer Damien Leith in the Blackmores Bridge Run (9km) and Hockeyroos star Kate Hollywood in the Blackmores Half Marathon.

Meanwhile, former State of Origin winger Eric Grothe Jr and fitness guru Shannan Ponton joined the many family groups on the Sunday Telegraph Family Fun Run and walk course (3.5km).

Blackmores Sydney Running Festival Event Director Wayne Larden said the event was a tremendous 
“Once again we had a wonderfully successful event for the people of Sydney and our thousands of interstate and international visitors,” Larden said.

“The standard of the elite competitors, particularly in the women’s marathon, where we saw two Ethiopian runners smash the previous course record, indicates the growing status of the Blackmores Sydney Marathon on a global level.

“The conditions were just about perfect and the picture perfect footage of Sydney broadcast around 
Australia and internationally live this morning will be seen by millions. I expect entry numbers in the event and in particular the marathon to grow substantially in future years.

Larden said a record number of entrants in the Blackmores Sydney Marathon, more than 4000, reflected the growing popularity of this event.


Kenyan Willy Koitile clocked 2:13.48 to win the Blackmores Sydney Marathon, beating home El Hassane Ben Lkhainouch of France (2:14.28), with South African Lucky Mohale snaring third in 2:15.58.

Koitile was too strong for his rivals in the closing stages, putting 30 seconds on Ben Lkhainouch and almost a minute on Mohale between the 35 and 40km marks after there had been seven runners in the lead pack at the halfway point.  The victory was the second of Koitile’s career after his breakthrough performance to claim the 2011 Shanghai Marathon, a title he will try to reclaim later this year.

The 27-year-old from the western Kenyan town of Eldoret said he enjoyed the picturesque route around. “The course is beautiful, very fast but it was humid today,” Koitile said.

“When I came from Kenya I was so very comfortable to be able to come and win this race.”
Koitile also declared he would return to the Blackmores Sydney Marathon in 2014 and attempt to break the race record.

“This race was really part of my preparation because I want to be able to come back next year to be able to remove the course record," said Koitile.

The women’s event was won by Ethiopian Biruktait Degefa who clocked a sizzling 2:32.46 to slash almost six minutes from the race record of 2:38.11 set in 2001 by Australian Krishna Stanton. 

Degefa’s compatriot Workitu Ayanu Gurma posted a time of 2:33.20 - also well under the former race record - with Kenya’s Irene Mogaka third in 2:38.20.

Degefa said she was delighted with both the victory and her time.
“I am very happy, I knew what the time was for the record and I wanted to be extra fast to get it,” Degefa “I will be back next year to run faster.”

Illustrating the incredibly strong standard of this year’s women’s field, defending champion Mitsuko Hirose could only manage fifth.

The Blackmores Sydney Marathon also doubled as the Australia Marathon Championships with 
Turramurra’s Alexander Matthews (2:25.32, eighth overall) winning the men’s title and Currumbin Waters’ athlete Sharon Ryder (3:01.43, sixth woman overall) taking the women’s crown.


Australian Paralympic star Kurt Fearnley has won his ninth Blackmores Sydney Wheelchair Marathon in a time of 1:39.15. It was Fearnley’s fifth consecutive win in the event.

Veteran racer Fearnley finished ahead of fellow Australians Nathan Arkley (1:51.30) and Richard Nicholson (1:54.35), while five-time Paralympian Christie Dawes finished in a time of 2:01.23, crossing the line as the fourth wheelchair marathon athlete.

Fearnley, who said he was inspired by the upset victory of Melbourne by his beloved Newcastle Knights in last night’s NRL elimination final, revealed he would return to the event in 2014 in a bid to claim at tenth.

“I’m still buzzing from last night. I was driving back and I had to listen to it on the radio. I was with some family out near Bathurst and listening to it on the radio the whole way I was screaming in my car. They’re a good bunch of guys and they’re going to fight bloody hard next week too," said Fearnley.

“Today, it’s all about getting out here and enjoying this marathon and the Blackmores Running Festival.

“This is about the only marathon I’ve done in Australia in the whole time. It’s the first marathon I ever did back in 2000 and it’ll be the last one I do in hopefully twenty years from now. I’ll be back next year and the year after and the year after and the year after. This is home."


Japan’s Yoshihiro Nishizawa and Cronulla’s Laura James took out the respective men’s and women’s 2013 Blackmores Half Marathon, both cruising to victory in the day’s first event.

Nishizawa crossed the finish line in one hour, seven minutes and two seconds (1:07.02), to win from 
Ethiopian born Australian Gemechu Woyecha (1:07.56) and Merewether’s Vlad Shatrov (1:09.20).
In the women’s event, James clocked 1:18.36 to account for Dubbo’s Jane Fardell (1:19.26) and Japanese representative Ema Harada (1:20.16).

James, who was shocked by her win, calling it the best result of her career, said she trained in and around the city most weekdays on her lunch break from her marketing role with Evolution Healthcare overlooking Circular Quay.

“It’s definitely the biggest result of my career,” James said. “I wasn’t expecting to win that’s for sure. I run around the city a lot and I knew the course pretty well.”

The 27-year-old’s victory was made even more impressive by the fact she is still in heavy training for her number one goal of the season, the a marathon in three weeks time.

“I want to break three hours, I haven’t done that in a marathon, so that’s the goal for the year.”


More than 16,000 people took part in this year’s Blackmores Bridge Run with Wollongong based runners taking home all three medals in the men’s event.

David Mainwaring won gold in 28minutes 57seconds (28:57) ahead of Barry Keem (29:12) and James 

In the women’s race it was another NSW trifecta with Gymea’s Belinda Martin just winning in 32:16 from Abbotsford’s Milly Clark in 32:24. Third was Corrimal’s Anita Keem in 33.04. Martin’s triumph was her second Blackmores Sydney Running Festival win in recent years after she claimed the Half Marathon.


Oakville’s (NSW) Josh Hall won the 3.5km Sunday Telegraph Family Fun Run & Walk in a time of 11mins 02 seconds - just seven seconds ahead of last year’s bronze medallist, Mosman’s Ed Goddard (11:09). Neutral Bay runner Bryce Collins grabbed the last spot on the podium in 11:33.

It was an all NSW finish in the women’s event with Georgia Evans (Birchgrove) easily greeting the judges in first place in a slick winning time of 12:14. Bethany Halmy (Berowra Heights) won silver in 12:42, with South Penrith’s Sianna Steele (12:53) third.


Clyde Campbell is again the winner of the Suncorp Bank Highest Fundraiser. Clyde, who took part in the Blackmores Bridge Run, raised more than $31,000 for the Shake It Up Foundation, which he founded after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease two years ago. Clyde was also the top fundraiser in 2012. There are 34 official charities to benefit from more than $2 million being raised by runners taking part in this year's event.

1. Willy Koitile (Kenya) 2:13.48
2. El Hassane Ben Lkhainouch (France) 2:14.28
3. Lucky Mohale (South Africa) 2:15.58
4. Julius Korir (Kenya) 2:16.22
5. Yared Sharew (Ethiopia) 2:20.44
6. James Cheboi (Kenya) 2:24.55
7. Samuel Gebremichael (Ethiopia) 2:25.31
8. Alexander Matthews (Turramurra, NSW) 2:25.32
9. Akihiko Okubo (Japan) 2:28.04
10. Matthew Cox (Moorebank, NSW) 2:29.13

1. Biruktayit Degefa (Ethiopia) 2:32.46
2. Workitu Ayanu Gurma (Ethiopia) 2:33.20
3. Irene Mogaka (Kenya) 2:38.20
4. Lingling Jin (China) 2:38.53
5. Mitsuko Hirose (Japan) 2:52.26
6. Sharon Ryder (Currumbin Waters, QLD) 3:01.43
7. Suzanne Harrington (Kogarah Bay, NSW) 3:02.25
8. Katrina Milne (Dural, NSW) 3:04.37
9. Aileen Waldron (Sydney, NSW) 3:06.05
10. Clare Durrant (Hendra, QLD) 3:09.16

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