Kenya clash for Brighton


Course records are under threat in the third Brighton Marathon that takes place on Sunday April 15th.

Grounded Events, organisers of the race, have put together elite fields that include four sub-2:12 men and five women who have bettered 2:35.

Following on from the news that Commonwealth Games champion, John Kelai of Kenya, will be attempting to add the Brighton title to his impressive portfolio, his task will be made all the more difficult by the presence of two fast fellow-Kenyans, James Rotich and Peter Some.

Rotich’s best time of 2:07:12 came when he finished fourth in the Amsterdam marathon five years ago while Some’s lifetime best of 2:10:16 was set in Padua last April 

Inaugural winner, Serod Batochir, returns to the scene of his 2010 triumph having improved his personal best by over three minutes in the last two seasons.

“Confirming the signing of Kelai was a huge coup for us in January,” said Race Director Tim Hutchings, “and to some extent this sums up our philosophy – bringing elite athletes to Brighton who are known, who are consistent, who give 100% effort, and who will go back to their country telling others what a show we put on.

 “Being able to welcome back our inaugural winner Serod Batochir, who has improved considerably since his 2010 win, is also a real positive. He and several other athletes that we’ve signed are capable of challenging John and that is important; we would prefer to have a competitive and exciting race up front than a runaway winner.”

The women’s record of 2:34:51 could fall to any one of a clutch of five women who have broken 2:35.

Aspiring to join them is Bath’s Holly Rush who came within a whisker of setting a lifetime best in Houston in January when she failed by just three seconds to revise her time of 2:37:35 from Zurich 2008.

Fastest on paper is France’s Svetlana Pretot, 40, who last year clocked her second best time of 2:33:07 to finish third in Beirut. Pretot enjoys an average of 2:38:28 for her ten best marathons.

Belarus’s Sviatlana Kouhan (2:33:18PB), Etaferahu Tarekegne of Ethiopia (2:34:06PB), Kenya’s Irene Chepkirui (2:34:41) and Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Lucia Kimani (2:34:57) complete the main contenders.

There are two more intriguing British entrants in Shona Crombie-Hicks and Joasia Zakrzewski..

Scottish international Crombie-Hicks is a former jockey who once beat Frankie Dettori into third place in Wolverhampton.

Born in Aberdeen and raised in Portsmouth, she set a lifetime best of 2:38:42 in Berlin 2005 and was immediately picked to represent Scotland at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. No stranger to Brighton and Hove, last November Crombie-Hicks was seventh woman to cross the line in the Brighton 10km.

Dumfries’s Joasia Zakrzewski, a GP, only started running in her early thirties, but went to New Orleans last year and slashed 14mins from her previous best to clock 2:47:24 and win the race. Then in November she lopped almost six minutes off that time to establish a lifetime best of 2:41:27.

Not content with running marathons, Zakrzewski is also an ultra runner who two years ago became the fastest woman to cross Chile’s Atacama desert, a punishing six-day, 250km ordeal.

Dr Zakrzewski was sixth overall and more than two and a half hours ahead of the second-placed woman. She also secured silver in the World and European 100km championships in the Netherlands in 2011.