Australian Michael Shelley goes one better that 2010 marathon silver, as Flomena Cheyech Daniel leads Kenyan one-two to claim first 2014 Commonwealth Games athletics golds
Michael Shelley and Flomena Cheyech Daniel won the first athletics golds of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games on Sunday with victories in the marathon events.
Running his own race, Australia’s Shelley clocked 2:11:15 for a personal best to go one better than his silver from Delhi in 2010, while Daniel – winner of the Paris marathon in a personal best 2:22:44 earlier this year – ran 2:26:45 for top spot in a Kenyan one-two.
With Glasgow having enjoyed some glorious weather recently, the conditions turned for Sunday’s action as athletes took to the rainy Glasgow streets to run the two-lap 26.2 mile course which crossed the River Clyde four times as well as passed through Bellahouston Park – venue for the 1978 World Cross Country Championships – and Pollok Park.
After working at around 2:12 pace, the leading men’s group picked it up slightly but then eased back down again to record a 65:17 half-way split. The Ugandan trio had been controlling the pace, led by Philip Kiplimo, but there was quite a nasty slip for his namesake Abraham Kiplimo as he cut across to grab some water just before the half marathon point but fell and took a while to get back running. He rejoined the lead pack along with team mate Solomon Mutai, who was making his marathon debut.
The home nation athletes were led by England’s Nick Torry who went through half way at 66:48, having run fairly even splits along with the likes of team mates Steven Way, Ben Moreau and Scotland’s Derek Hawkins.
Hawkins picked up the pace between 25km and 35km to close on the leaders, working his way to 11th in 1:51:20 as leaders Abraham Kiplimo and Mutai passed 35km in 1:49:56.
Behind them Shelley began to make his move. With a 14:47 5km split between 35km and 40km he looked strong to lead at that point with 2:04:43, 11 seconds ahead of Kenya’s Stephen Chemlany, who unsurprisingly had made his presence felt throughout, and a further 18 seconds ahead of Abraham Kiplimo.
Shelley grew that gap enough to allow him to begin celebrating as he approached the line, clocking 2:11:15 to take eight seconds off his previous best and join Dave Power (1958), Rob de Castella (1982/86) and Steve Moneghetti (1994) in claiming Commonwealth marathon gold for Australia.
“I just thought keep going, keep digging, keep focused,” said Shelley. “I was given great instructions by my coach – Dick Telford, what a legend – and followed them as best as I could.”
Chemlany also dipped under 2:12 with 2:11:58, as Ugandan duo Abraham Kiplimo and Mutai engaged in battle for bronze, Kiplimo shaking off his earlier fall to take it in 2:12:23 from Mutai’s 2:12:26.
Raising his arms as he approached the line, Hawkins led the home nation athletes with his 2:14:15 for ninth as Way also finished top ten with a 2:15:16 PB and British M40 best. Torry was another couple of places behind with 2:16:34 for 13th as Moreau ran 2:16:50 for 14th, Scotland’s Ross Houston 2:18:42 for 16th and Wales’ Andrew Davies 2:18:59 for 17th.
Over in the women’s race and Scotland’s World Championships 10th-placer Susan Partridge and England’s Alyson Dixon had settled at the front of the lead pack at the 10km mark, passing through in 36:17 as part of a group also including Australia’s Jess Trengove, Namibia’s Beata Naigambo and Helalia luleiko Johannes, Canada’s Lanni Marchant and the Kenyan duo Daniel and Caroline Kilel.
The Kenyans had asserted their dominance by the half-way point, clocking 74:26 along with Johannes as Trengove and Partridge sat behind Marchant with the clock at 75:12. Louise Damen passed her fellow English athlete Dixon to sit behind the Scot, Dixon eventually dropping out between 25km and 30km with a calf problem.
The pace of the leaders eased slightly but picked back up over the final 5km. Daniel and Kilel were well away, Daniel extending her lead to eventually cross the line 25 seconds clear, clocking 2:26:45 for victory ahead of Kilel’s 2:27:10.
After a 75:12 first half, Trengove sped up to clock a 2:30:12 personal best for bronze to add another medal to Australia’s tally. Having trailed Johannes by 84 seconds at the 35km mark, she easily closed the gap and was ahead by 20 seconds at 40km.
Partridge performed well in front of home crowds to run 2:32:18 for sixth ahead of Damen with 2:32:59 for seventh. Trengove’s fellow Australians Melanie Panayiotou and Sarah Klein joined her in running personal bests for top ten spots as England’s Amy Whitehead clocked 2:35:06 for ninth. Scotland’s Hayley Haining, the oldest of the female finishers at 42, ran 2:40:40 for 13th ahead of team mate Joasia Zakrzewski with 2:45:29.
» More in-depth results can be found here