Marathon return in New York has Abraham hankering after European record

Tadesse Abraham
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Tadesse Abraham

Switzerland’s 2016 European half marathon champion Tadesse Abraham proved he has recovered from the stress fracture at the base of his sacrum which ruined the first eight months of the year by returning to the marathon in style in New York on Sunday.

In his first race over the classic distance since finishing seventh at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and with only one race under his belt this year, Abraham finished fifth in the Big Apple in 2:12:01.

He was the leading European in a race, held in difficult conditions, won by Kenya’s multiple world champion Geoffrey Kamworor in 2:10:53.

Abraham was up with the leaders until five kilometres before the finish but ended the race with a big smile on his face.

“It was magical to see this race from the inside, I would tell any runner that they should run it once in their career.

“"I lacked the strength, or rather the speed, to follow them [the leaders] when they broke away but it does not matter. I finished well and, for me, the time was anecdotal. Next spring, possibly in London, I will set out on the hunt for the European record,” he said, speaking to Swiss media after the race.

Abraham set his personal best of 2:06:40 in Seoul Marathon last year, just four seconds shy of the official European record of France’s Benoit Zwierzehlewski set in the 2003 Paris Marathon.

Fitness permitting, he will also be one he favourites for the marathon gold at the berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships next summer.

Italy’s Sara Dossena is better known as a triathlete and duathlete, having won World and European Cup medals in both sports, but she also has also climbed the podium several times at European Athletics events, both at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships and European 10,000m Cup, as part of medal-winning Italian teams.

However, she may now focus on road running after being the first European woman home in New York in sixth place on her debut at the distance in 2:29:39, just over two minutes behind the US winner Shalane Flanagan.

“I was hoping but I never truly I could accomplish a place between the top 10 and go under 2:30.”

One position behind her in seventh was Czech Republic’s Eva Vrabcova, a two-time Olympian in Nordic skiing, who produced a personal best of 2:29:41.

Bedrani and Barca take world military cross country titles

France’s Djilali Bedrani had a day to remember on Sunday when he won the men’s 4.6km short course race at the 57th World Military Cross Country Championships in the Hungarian town Balatonkarattya.

Tuning up for the SPAR European Cross Country Championships in Slovakia on 10 December, Bedrani won in 13:27. Italy’s Lorenzo Dini was the next European home in fourth in 13:36 and while France’s Yohan Kowal, the 2014 European 3000m steeplechase champion, was seventh in 13:51.

France won the team silver and Italy took the bronze medals behind winners Algeria.

There was a European clean sweep in the women’s 4.6km as Romania took first and third.

Roxana Barca was crowned champion as she won in 15:28 and by 16 seconds from Poland’s Katarzyna Kowalska with Cristina Simon in 15:47 third. However, the team prize went the way of France from Poland and Italy.

The November cross country races in Italy are being used to select the teams going to the SPAR European Cross Country Championships for the Azzurri, which is why Italy’s Michele Fontana and Valeria Roffino will feel good after superb victories on home soil in the Cross Valsugana on Sunday.

Fontana won the men’s 9km event in 25:16, coming home three seconds clear of Paolo Zanatta, while Roffino took the women’s 7km in 22:53 n triumphed by seven seconds from of Isabel Mattuzzi.

In the Spanish city of Jaen, two-time European cross country champion Alemayehu Bezabeh won at the Cross del Aceite de Torredonjimeno over 9km in 28:33.

Bezabeh won by a huge margin from from Sebastian Martos (30:09) and Alvaro Aranda (31:07). Esther Hidalgo gave Spain another victory as she won women’s 7.5km race in 30:27.

Grodno was the setting for the Belarus Cross Country Championships on Saturday where Serhei Platonau and Nina Savina took the plaudits in the senior races.

Platonov ran 24:21 to win over 8km and Savina’s time of 20:58 brought her victory over 6km.

At the Easykit CrossCup series in Mol, Belgium’s Soufiane Bouchikhi won the senior men’s 9.2km on home soil in 28:45 while Poland’s Katarzyna Rutkowska was first in the senior women’s 5.5km in 19:30.