By Paul Gains
Kenya’s Philemon Rono won the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon for the second consecutive year today in a Canadian All Comer’s record of 2:06:52.
A tremendous surge at 34 kilometres saw him put daylight between him and favoured countryman, Dickson Chumba, a past winner of the Chicago and Tokyo Marathons, which he extended to the finish. Indeed, his winning margin in this IAAF Gold Label race was over two minutes as Chumba came home in 2:09:11. Ethiopia’s Solomon Deksisa took third in 2:11:27.
“The first thing I came here for was to defend,” a smiling Rono said afterwards. “I was expecting the time will come automatically. Today the time came because I was pushing with Chumba. When I went in front I said ‘I will not reduce the pace and let me maintain my constant pace.’”
Ethiopian pride was partially recovered with the 1-2 finish of Marta Megra (2:28:20) and Sutume Asefa (2:29:26) in the women’s race.
Asefa and Megra train together in Ethiopia and shared tactics as well as the occasional water bottle during the race. After an opening half in 71:01 the pace slowed considerably with all the combatants struggling as they crossed the line totally spent.
“The first part is very easy,” Megra said of the course, “but the second part is very challenging especially after 30 kilometres I had sickness problem after 30km. I felt pain, real pain.
“I am very happy to win Toronto the first time I came here. I am happy but my plan was to run under 2:23 and I did not succeed. So I am upset about the time.”
The event also served as the 2017 Canadian Marathon Championship. Trevor Hofbauer a member of Guelph’s Speed River Track Club emerged victorious in his debut marathon with a time of 2:18:06. Asked how he felt about winning a Canadian Championships the affable Calgarian offered a smile.
“I think I am the Trevor Hofbauer champion I just did my best,” said the winner. “The Canadian championships is cool and all but I just wanted to be the best version of me. I laid everything out out there and I just wanted to give the best version of me; and the time is decent. There is going to be more to come I know over the years I can improve Today was a good starting point. So I can’t complain.”
Toronto’s Sami Jabril was second in 2:22:04 with Aaron Cooper of Camlachie, ontario claiming bronze in 2:24:42.
Meanwhile the women’s race saw Leslie Sexton come close to her best time with a 2:35:47 performance to win the crown. The London native was delighted to finish 5th overall.
“I picked a pace that I thought I could handle,” she revealed. ‘I was actually hoping that the front group would get aggressive because then you just get carnage. People drop and you pass a few people. I think I moved up into 5th or 6th with a few kilometres etc go. The one I passed was just wobbling. I was hoping they would make mistakes so I could run them down.”
Behind her the Canadian silver medal went to Toronto elementary school teacher, Lyndsey Tessier in a time of 2:36:55 and the bronze to Melanie Myrand of Pierrefonds, Quebec 2:39:10.