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1500 Press Conference
Rashid Ramzi - 1500m Press conference Athletics World Championships Helsinki 2005
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 Welcome to the Helsinki 2005 Day 8 - Men's Marathon 

Day 8 of the Helsinki 2005 World Track Championships, saw the running of the Men's marathon over a 4 lap course in the streets of Helsinki. After 4 days of rain one surely could expect more favourable conditions, however to no avail, a troublesome wind and a humidity factor made for difficult conditions over a course more tricky than anticipated.

Numerous persons had selected Morocco's 2003 Champion, Jaouad Gharib, to win, but for some reason not this scribe. However, after watching the Moroccan athlete clinically destroy the field, I have to question my sanity as to why I didn't have the athlete down for even a medal. Foolhardy to say the least.

The race started downtown near the market and after the first 5km, it linked up with the

First to appear at the front of the field were Holland's Luc Krotwaar [PB 2:10:59] and Angola's João N'Tyamba [PB 2:11:40], who were closely followed by Spain's Julio Rey [PB 2:07:27] A year before, during the Marathon at the Munich European Championships, the Spaniard had underestimated the ability of the front-runner. On that occasion the athlete did not come back and Rey had to settle for 3rd place. He was certainly not going to allow this to happen to him again. When Swiss runner, Viktor Röthlin [PB 2:10:54] , appeared in front and forged a slight lead, Rey was right there.

Passing through the 5K split and the Angolan, Swiss and Spanish athletes were clocked at 15:00, followed by the large pack in 15:05. The pack was content to be within striking distance, whereas Rey felt the purpose to be in control of proceedings at all times.

22 minutes into the race and the front pack still consists of more 40 athletes. The pace has slowed slightly allow those athletes who had backed off to return to the pack. A 15:20 next 5k and the pack in massive, very dangerous for fluid intake.

Traveling through the 10K split in 30:20 and the lead group consists of 49 athletes within a 4 seconds of each other. Shortly after 10k, 33minutes into the race and an Ethiopian athlete throws in a tester, not very convincing and within 2 minutes the whole pack is back together. The change in pace causes a slight 'concertina' effect and there is slight bumping and pushing with the Angolan athlete becoming quite annoyed. He has a slight argument with others in the pack and we guess he must be getting tired. 37 minutes into the race, the pace has dropped, and it is angry Angola to the fore. Grrrr then within 2 minutes he disappears. [N'Tyamba posts a DNF and quite incredibly this took place before 15K]

The 5k leading to the 15K split is 45:40, another 15:20 5k. The Arc de Triomphe appears shortly thereafter. The course is sprinkled with famous landmarks, from a spectator's point of view. From a runners' perspective it could be seem like far too many turns. For Australian hopes, Lee Troup is tucked in at the rear of the lead group, placed 47th, 4 seconds off the leader.

Kenya's Michael Rotich - PB 2:06:33, makes his presence felt by appearing in the lead for a short cameo. He is one of the many favourites, especially after his win on the streets of the Paris Marathon in April.

The 'waterpoints' are treacherous .... it is absolutely important to get the right sustenance in, and it is also during these moments that some athletes like to stage attacks. And this is exactly when Kenyan, Frederick Cherono - PB 2:08:47 Roma 2003, thought it appropriate to do. Some grabbed water only, whereas numerous runners were looking for their

Young-joon - Gharib - Shigeru
World Championships Helsinki 2005 Marathon
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designated bottles. The move would be significant only in that it would stagger the lead group into packs and not one massive group. The pace from 15 to 20K was not swift - 15:54, so the power of this surge is quite notable for creating a reason for concern.

At the half split, there were still 24 athletes within 5 seconds of one another and another 21 athletes packed together within 5 seconds of the athlete in position 24. The time was 1:04:45 for halfway, a 2:09:30 marathon pace ... not slow for a Championship and it would undoubtedly still pick up. For the spectators we had Notre Dame and hopefully some runners were not beginning to feel the weight of QuasiModo on their shoulders.

At 25K, incredibly 39 athletes were still within 3 seconds of the lead. This was due to the 5k pace dropping to a 16:27. The calm before the storm. Something had to give, but who would be the 1st to show their hand.

Going through 30K, and the real racing is expected to happen pretty soon. There are now 15 athletes within 1 second of one another with the clock reading 1:32.32 ... And Moroccan great, Khallid Skah is within 6 seconds of the lead, however that will be as good as it gets, eventually finishing 38th in 2:16:34.

Rey, found himself in front and offered Algerian Rachid Ziar [PB 2:09:54] a chance of pace duties, which was gracefully declined. Then the Spaniard decided to say 'bye bye', and speeded up without warning. It was not a hostile attack, however once Rey returned to the pack there were only a dozen at the table. Race favourite and defending champion Gezahegne Abera, is not one of them. Baldini certainly is though.

1hr 38 into the race and Gharib and Rey break clear. The response from the pack is not immediate, and Rotich is the 1st to break in pursuit followed by Japan's Shigeru Aburaya [PB 2:09:30 Tokyo 2003], Italians Daniele Caimmi [PB 2:08:59 Milano 2002] and Baldini. Gharib doesn't allow the pace to relax and the Spaniard allows a slight gap to open between him and

Passing the Eiffel Tower
World Championships Helsinki 2005 Marathon
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the athlete from North Africa clad in green. Rey is not out of it, however Rotich is now his tracker.

35K comes and goes in 1:47:16, with Rotich and Gharib together. Rey is 1 second behind this pace, with the Italian duo a further 13 seconds in arrears.

Gharib is not lying down and he is still pushing a punishing pace. The last 5K was 14:44 and we still have another 7K of racing left. 1:51 into the race and Baldini's group is making no impact on the front trio. Rotich suprisingly, is the 1st to feel the heat of the Moroccan's pace and is now prey for the Italian job.

2Hrs into the race, and Gharib is still content to apply the pressure. Rey seems to be biding his time, while Baldini finally leaves the safety of foursome and strikes out to vanquish Rotich. He has left his attack too late, as he breezes past the Kenyan with contemptuous ease.

2:02:06 and the leader is through 40K, a 14:50 5K and the last 10K a swift 29:34. Gharib in only his 2nd marathon is showing tremendous composure. 2:04 into the race and a large smile creases his face. They into the last 1.2K, and Rey comes alongside the Moroccan ... into the stadium ... Gharib breaks free for the last time and canters away to a well-deserved victory. 2:08:31 for a new Championship Record.

Rey 2nd in 2:08:38 ... Baldini takes Bronze with 2:09:14 with Portuguese surprise Alberto Chaiça 4th in a 2:09:25 PB [previous 2:12:02 Berlin 2002] and Shigeru 5th in 2:09:26 .

The Team Event is a tight affair with Japan edging Spain for the Gold and South Africa taking Bronze. | results |

Julio Rey quote : "After the European Championships last year (when he thought he had won but finished third because he had no information about two runners ahead of him) I was determined to be alongside anybody who was at the front. I didn't care about the time, I was staying with the person in the lead"

Men's Marathon Results - Saturday, August 13, 2005 : click here

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