EVENTUAL MARATHON WINNER BONIFACE KONGIN, IN REAR OF THE
PACK ALONG BOATHOUSE ROW.
CLAY SHAW PHOTO

Strong Winds Help, Hamper Elite
Runners at Philadelphia Marathon

BY DAVID BLOCK

PHILADELPHIA, PA--Two hours before the 2017 Philadelphia Marathon began (November 19) the rain sounded like a torrential downpour. The winds were also blowing hard enough for the race director, Jam Marino, to order that all race clocks on the course be removed.

By the time the race started 7 a.m., the rain stopped, but the winds were too hard for anyone to even consider putting the clocks back on the course.

Not seeing mile splits had no effect on the overall winner, Boniface Kongin who posted 2:16:24.87. "I just used my watch," said Kongin.

While some runners complained about the winds, Kongin welcomed them, particularly at 20 miles when he took the lead.

"The tailwind (at 20 miles) was hitting my butt," said Kongin. That helped him pull ahead of Nelson Oyugi, who finished second, 2:18:07.80.

For the first 20 miles, Oyugi and Kongin ran together.

"By 21 miles, I knew I wasn't going to win, so I focused on second place," said Oyugi.

Kongin collected $10,000.00, while Oyugi earned $5,000.00. Kongin and Oyugi train together in New Mexico. Their goal was to run together and push the pace.

The first woman finisher, Sarah Kiptoo, clocked 2:38:13.45 to collect the lion's share, $10,000, while runner-up Hellen Jemutai, 2:40:10.53, received $5,000.

"I didn't expect to win," said Kiptoo, who had never before been to Philadelphia. "The challenge was the wind. It bothered me from the start."

 

GOTYTOM GEBRESLASE, FIRST
WOMAN IN THE ROTHMAN 8K.
KAREN MITCHELL PHOTO
She then told herself that everyone had the same problem so she decided to just focus on winning the race. With just a few hundred yards from the 13-mile mark, she pulled ahead.

"I saw they were tired," said Kiptoo. At that point, she was confident about winning.

The first Philadelphia male finisher was Patrick Richie, who placed 11th overall, with a 2:27:32.71 clocking. He collected $1,000.00. This was his second straight year as the first Philadelphian to finish the marathon. "These are the only two marathons that I ever ran," said Richie.

The first female Philadelphia finisher was Beth Blendell, 3:01:04.75. She was the 20th woman to finish. Before running the Philadelphia Marathon, her previous marathon PR was 3 hours and 13 minutes. Blendell attributed her improved time to the change in her tempo workout. Before, her tempo runs were 15 to 17 miles long. "Now it's 20 miles," said Blendell, "and I do a lot of tempo at the end."

On the day before the marathon, November 18, Panuel Mkungo, set a new Philadelphia Half Marathon course record, 1:02:20.89. Valentine Orare set the previous course record of 1:02:29 in 2006.

Mkungo collected the winner's share, $2,500 along with a thousand-dollar bonus for setting a new course record.
Finishing second was Benard Ngeno 1:02:37.80 to earn the second place prize of $1,000.00.

"I was confident I was going to win after 12 miles," said Mkungo. "I pushed."

The first woman to finish the half-marathon was Emily Setlack of Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada who posted a 1:13:59.89 clocking. Runner-up was Sophy Jepchirchir, 1:14:59.01.

 

PAUL MATUSZAK, EIGHTH IN
THE HALF.
KAREN MITCHELL PHOTO
This was Setlack's Philadelphia Half Marathon debut.

"I heard a lot of good things about this race," said Setlack.

Setlack had no idea who her female competitors were. "That's what I love, when you have no idea whom you're competing against so you just go out and run as hard as you can do," Setlack said.

The Rothman Institute 8K also took place on November 18. Finishing first in the men's field was Awet Habte Ghebrezghiabher 23:19.62, and the first woman finisher was Gotytom Gebreslase, 25:07:57. They both collected the lion's share, $1,000.00.

Philadelphia Mayor, Jim Kenney, kicked off Marathon weekend, by wishing all the competitors the best of luck.
In a brief interview with this writer, Mayor Kenney said that he liked how the race's sponsorship expands every year.

"We keep expanding our reach," said Kenney.

Additional Notes from Clay Shaw

Ethipian runner Awet Habte Ghebrezghiabher (23:20), and Gotytom Gebreslase (25:09) were the winners of the very competitive Rothman 8K.  Gebreslase set a new women's course record while winning a battle with second place Monicah Ngige (25:18) of Kenya. 

The Rothman 8K was very competitive with strong regional elite competition.  Sixteen men broke 25 minutes, and 12 women broke 30 minutes.  Among those was Masters star Christy Peterson of North Wales, PA who ran 29:29 to win among a strong Masters field. 

Of note my good friend from England, Simon Newton, ran 28:23 in the 8K, and 2:45:16 in the marathon the following day to win the Independence Challenge, 

 

 

EMILY SETLACK IS ALL SMILES AS SHE WINS THE HALF MARATHON.
CLAY SHAW PHOTO

MARATHON

 

TOP 15 MEN

  1  2:16:25  Boniface Kongin       KENYA
  2  2:18:08  Nelson Oyugi            KENYA
  3  2:18:58  Kenneth Kosgei        KENYA
  4  2:19:41 Teklu Deneke             ETHIOPIA
  5  2:22:24  Kiplangat Terer         KENYA
  6  2:22:57  Kimutai Cheruiyot     KENYA
  7  2:23:43  Robert Gomez          ME
  8  2:24:41  Jeffrey Seelaus         MA
  9  2:26:34  John Bleday              NY
10  2:27:26  Johan Trimaille         CANADA
11  2:27:35  Patrick Richie            PA
12  2:27:37  Graham Tribble         VA
13  2:27:58  Gregory Mariano       VA
14  2:28:26  Stephen Hallman      PA
15  2:28:34  Spencer McElwain    ME
33  2:37:13  Brock Butler (40)       PA

TOP 15 WOMEN

  1  2:38:14  Sarah Kiptoo             KENYA
  2  2:40:11  Hellen Jemutai          KENYA
  3  2:42:14  Julianne Quinn          NY
  4  2:43:36  Hilary Dionne            MA
  5  2:45:33  Meseret Dekebo       ETHIOPIA
  6  2:49:26  Leonora Petrina        NY
  7  2:50:22  Chelsea Benson       NY
  8  2:53:20  Cassidy Nagle           PA
  9  2:54:26  Rachel Coogan         MA
10  2:55:56  Sarah Duffy               NC
11  2:57:52  Elizabeth Conlon       MD
12  2:58:44 Daniella Orton            DC
13  2:58:55 Jennifer Paul              DC
14  2:59:00 Maureen Mahoney     CANADA
15  2:59:06 Juliet Bottorff              MA
25  3:04:22 Julie McElroy (50)      NY

 Notes: Richie 11th man, and Beth Blendell (20thF, 3:01:18) were top PHILA marathoners.

HALF MARATHON

TOP 10 MEN

  1 Panuel Mkungo                       KEN  1:02:21
  2 Benard Ngeno                         KEN  1:02:38
  3 Nicholas Kipkemboi                KEN   1:04:00
  4 Macdonard Ondara                 KEN   1:06:29
  5 Pier-Olivier LaFlamme            CAN   1:07:25
  6 Simion Chirchir                       KEN   1:07:29
  7 Collin Frost                                NJ    1:07:39
  8 Paul Matuszak                           PA    1:08:06
  9 Matt Kane                                  PA    1:08:22
10 Alex Hershman                          DE    1:09:53

TOP 10 WOMEN

  1  Emily Setlack                          CAN   1:14:00
  2  Sophy Jepchirchir                   KEN   1:15:00
  3  Margaret Wanjiru                    KEN   1:15:47
  4 Crystal Bacon                             PA   1:18:05
  5 Christine Ramsey                       PA   1:20:21
  6 Hayley Germack                        CT    1:21:09
  7 Karen Jablonski                         PA    1:21:16
  8 Adrienne Viola                           NJ    1:22:18
  9 Becky Schaumberg                   PA    1:22:23
10 Marilou Ferland-Diagle            CAN   1:22:23

 

ROTHMAN 8K

 TOP 15 MEN

  1  23:20 Awet Habte Ghebrezghiabher  ERIT
  2  23:34 Joshua Izewski                            PA
  3  23:44 Ernie Pitone                                 PA
  4  23:46 William McDermott                      PA
  5  23:56 Cyrus Korir                                KEN
  6  24:02 Charlie Marquardt                       PA
  7  24:13 Gian-Paul Caccia                        NY
  8  24:26 Kieran Tuntivate                          DE
  9  24:30 Owen Dawson                            PA
10  24:31 Paul Thistle                                 MD
11  24:33 Jimmy Daniels                             PA
12  24:35 Qadree Counsel                          PA
13  24:38 Zach Mains                                 PA
14  24:39 Guillaume Ouellet                      CAN
15  24:57 Ken Fontal                                   DE
21  25:34 Juan Almonte (40)                       PA

 

TOP 15 WOMEN

   1  25:09 Gotytom Gebreslase                ETH
   2  25:18 Monicah Ngige                         KEN
   3  26:56 Eglay Nalyanya                        KEN
   4  27:29 Samantha Roecker                     PA
   5  28:14 Margaret Vido                             PA
   6  28:22 Elena Barham                             DC
   7  28:42 Emily Giannotti                            PA
   8  28:49 Meghan Bishop                           PA
   9  29:12 Megan Lacy                                NJ
 10  29:27 Katie O'Regan                            PA
 11  29:29 Christy Peterson (43)                 PA
 12  29:45 Jillian Pollack                              VA
 13  30:05 Megan Marshall                          PA
 14  30:18 Jenn Cronin                                PA
 15  30:39 Amy Darlington                           PA