Kenya’s Beris Jepchershire won the Olympic marathon in Sapporo. The African won a direct duel with her compatriot Brigid Kosgei. American Molly Seidl came third. A supporting role was offered to the Belgian women: Miki Gorsen ranked 28th, and Hahn Verbruggen ranked 49th.
Previously world record holder and world champion Ruth Chepngetich Ksogei has been named the frontrunner, but it was two-time world half-marathon champion Jepchirchir who came up with the surprise. I managed to get gold by escaping from Kosgei in the last kilometers. It coped better with the hot weather in Sapporo. Chepgngetich had to surrender after thirty kilometers, while the Israeli Lonah Chemtai Saltpeter surrendered while on her way to a bronze medal.
The match was previously moved from Tokyo to usually cooler Sapporo, but the area has been hit by a heat wave in recent days. And bringing the start time up by one hour had little effect on challenging conditions. Temperatures rose to 30 degrees Celsius.
Jepchirchir finished at 2:27:20, 16 for Kosgei and 26 for Seidel. Besides Japan, Kenya is the only country to win the Olympic gold medal twice in a row and is also the record holder with seven women’s medals.
Nice marathon for the Belgians
The Belgian ladies had an excellent marathon. Mickey Gorissen finished 28th with a time of 2:34:24, while Han Verbruggen came in with a time of 2:38:03. Gorissen quietly started out of the top 60, but then started to climb up with Verbruggen. Verbruggen was eventually unable to follow, but Gorissen kept making places. Thrilled, she crossed the goal line in 28th place.
The Belgian ladies are not marathon pros, which makes their performance even more impressive. Hanne Verbruggen actually had to sell Mattentaarten to fulfill her Olympic dream, and both ladies are in education too.
Mickey Gorsen looks back with relief at 28th in the marathon: ‘I’ve reached my goal’
Am I 28? That is not possible. I was really pleased that I made it to the end,” said Gorissen, who seemed emotional to Sporza. She noted that the early start of the marathon, which was scheduled only on Friday evening, shook her plans. “I was able to justify it because it was because of the heat, but it wasn’t easy mentally. You have to make a schedule in advance. If you suddenly see that you can’t sleep for eight hours, you panic. I actually called my husband and he was crying.”
In the end we can be thankful for that. When we started, the temperature wasn’t actually that bad,” Gorissen continued. The temperature was only 26 degrees, and we’ve never had more fun here. It had an effect on racing speed. Since it was a little cooler, many runners started the race less conservatively. I started slower at first, so I wouldn’t have to move along the track like a zombie for the last kilometers.
Hanne Verbruggen satisfied after marathon: ‘But I would have preferred if I had finished a little more up front’
“I’m still feeling really fresh,” Verbruggen eventually explained to Spurza. But the heat took a toll on my body. It was intended to run slower in the first part, but in the end it turns out to be different due to the circumstances. I also have the impression that I started too early. But you don’t know beforehand what is “too fast” or “too slow”. I’m satisfied, but I would have preferred to finish a little ahead.
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