Despite Cold Windy Rain, Records Shatter at 2019 Philadelphia Marathon

by David Block for Runner’s Gazette

Mother Nature refused to let the 2019 Philadelphia Marathon stop her from carrying out her “untimely” agenda. At the starting line this past November 24, the rain fell, but no runner displayed the white flag. 

A couple minutes before the marathon began, marathon champion, Meb Keflezighi shouted words of encouragement to the marathon entrants. He said that the rain was ideal for marathon running. After the marathon runners took off, Keflezighi told this Runner’s Gazette writer that he meant every word he said. “I like this type of weather,” said Keflezighi, who won both the 2014 Boston Marathon and the 2009 New York City Marathon, and who also finished second at the 2004 Olympic Marathon in Athens, Greece.  “It’s nice and cool.”

Unfortunately, not all the elite entrants shared Keflezighi’s sentiments.

The first woman marathon finisher, Feyne Gudeto Gemeda, hated the weather. “It was cold and the rain bothered me,” said Gemeda about 20 minutes after crossing the finish line. 

When she finished, she learned right away that she set a new Philadelphia Marathon women’s course record, 2:32:47. It was also her new personal-best marathon time. Breaking the course record meant that instead of receiving just $10,000.00 for finishing first, she would collect an additional $1,500.00, thus totaling her cash purse to $11,500.00. She was happy, but if you were there at that moment, you never would have guessed that. In response to hearing the great news, she sat down. “I was very happy,” said Gemeda. “I didn’t like weather. Too cold.”

Feyne Gudeto Gemeda of Ethiopia on way to setting a new course record of 2:32:49. Feyne broke the record by four seconds.

No one challenged Gemeda for the lead. Finishing second was Viola Bor, 24, in 2:40:00. She trailed Gemeda by seven minutes 11 seconds.

The first man to cross the marathon finish line was Diriba Degefa Yigezu in 2:16:31. Finishing second was Milton Rotich, 2:18:49. Connor Reck of Minneapolis, MN was third 2:19:28.

Diriba Yigezu #3 of Ethiopia, and Milton Rotich #13 of Kenya lead the Philadelphia Marathon just after halfway. Yigezu was 1st in 2:16:31 and Rotich was 2nd in 2:18:49.

On the day before the marathon, Saturday November 23, James Ngandu won the Dietz & Watson Philadelphia Half Marathon, 1:02:16, to set a new course record. He won $2,500.00 for finishing first and an additional $1,000.00 for setting a new course record. He received a total of $3,500.00. “I just wanted the race to be over and done, so I tried to be as quick as I could,” said Ngandu. “It was cold, uncomfortable. It bothered me.”

The sun was out, but the temperature was in the low 40s.

Finishing second was Panuel Mkungo 1:02:27.

In the women’s field, Vicoty Chepngeno set a new course record of 1:09:09and received $3,500.00. “I was expecting to win,” said Chepngeno, who added that no one challenged her. Finishing second was Leslie Sexton, 1:11:22. 

In the Men’s field of the Rothman Institute 8K on November 23, Lawrence Kipkoech won with a 23:17 clocking. He collected the first place prize of $1,000.00. “My strategy was just to stick with the front guys,” said Kipkoech. But after two and a half miles, Kipkoech broke away from the lead pack without anyone trying to pass him. This was Kipkoech’s first time racing in Philadelphia. Originally from Kenya, Kipkoech graduated from Campbell University in North Carolina where he ran both cross-country and track. “I like Philadelphia,” said Kipkoech.

Finishing second was Eliud Ngetich, 23:29.

Nuhamin Bogale Ashame was the first woman to finish the Rothman Institute 8K, 26:09 followed by Catherine Mwanzau, 26:27. “I broke away after one mile,” said Ashame. “I was expecting to win. I will be back next year.”

Categories: Race Coverage

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