European 10,000m champion Lonah Chemtai Salpeter clocked 2:22:37 in an elite-only marathon in the Hula Valley nature reserve in northern Israel on Sunday (14).
The race was staged by the Israeli Athletic Association to assist Israeli athletes in their preparations for the Olympic Games in Tokyo later this summer. A select group of 24 elite athletes took part in a race which began at 6.00am with Chemtai Salpeter, the only female starter, finishing tenth overall in 2:22:37.
Chemtai Salpeter posted negative splits in her first marathon since winning the Tokyo Marathon in 2:17:45 last March, passing through halfway in 71:31 before covering the second half in 71:06.
After the race, Chemtai Salpeter commented: "With the main goal of the Olympic Games and after one year without any marathon possibilities, I took the opportunity to feel the distance one more time before starting to focus the preparations for the Olympic Games.
“Me and my coach decided to take it very controlled in order to recover as quickly as possible and start the build-up. The course of this race is part of my daily training site and it is nice to race so close to home in one of the most beautiful and unique nature parks in Israel."
Her time was the third fastest in the world this year behind Mao Ichiyama (2:21:11) and Mizuki Matsuda (2:21:51) who won the Osaka and Nagoya Marathons respectively.
There was excellent depth in the men’s race with Maru Teferi crossing the finish-line in a European-leading 2:07:44, just 24 seconds outside his national record. Girmaw Amare was a close second in 2:07:50 with Godadaw Belachaw third on his debut in 2:07:54.
Like Chemtai Salpeter, Teferi also ran negative splits. He opened with a 64:06 first half before closing with 63:38 for the second half.
Tilga scores 6264 points to win NCAA indoor heptathlon title
Estonia’s Karel Tilga, who competes for the University of Georgia, was among the European winners at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville.
Tilga amassed an excellent tally of 6264 points to add more than 200 points to his lifetime best, moving to fourth on the Estonian all-time list behind Erki Nool (6374 points), Mikk Pahapill (6362 points) and Maicel Uibo (6265 points).
The 23-year-old set individual lifetime bests in six of the seven events and was particularly impressive in the long jump (7.62m), shot put (16.04m) and the 1000m, recording a solo 2:36.32.
Tilga’s score of 6264 points places him third on the 2021 world list behind European indoor champion Kevin Mayer (6392 points) and Russia’s Ilya Shkurenyev (6269 points).
Italy’s Emmanuel Ihemeje set a lifetime best of 17.26m in the triple jump and former European U20 champion Lisa Gunnarsson from Sweden cleared a lifetime best of 4.56m to win the pole vault.
Norway’s Thomas Mardal also won the weight throw with 24.46m.
Elsewhere around Europe...
Competing as a guest at the Spanish Race Walking Championships, Sweden’s world bronze medallist Perseus Karlstrom clocked a fast 1:18:45 to win the 20km race walk in Murcia on Sunday (14).
However, the Spanish title went to Diego Garcia who was a distant second in 1:19:40. European champion Alvaro Martin finished fifth in 1:20:59.
Fellow European champion Maria Perez strode out a comfortable winner in the women’s 20km race walk. She clocked 1:28:26 to win by more than two minutes from Raquel Gonzalez in 1:30:47.
Reigning Olympic and European discus champion Sandra Perkovic opened her season with 65.25m at the Croatian Winter Throwing Championships in Split on Sunday (14). She also had throws of 64.87m and 64.31m in her series.
Fresh from winning gold in the shot put at the European Indoor Championships in Torun, Auriol Dongmo threw 19.20m at the Portuguese Club Championships in Pombal on Saturday (13).