The 2018 Limassol marathon was the events most successful yet with a record number of entries in both the full and half marathons. It was an especially good day for British runner Gemma Hockett who finished in 2nd with a new personal best in the Limassol half event. The ‘Marathon Girl’ spoke to jogger.co.uk about her time in Cyprus.
After a busy training camp in the Algarve prior to the race, Gemma flew out to Cyprus. Thanks to her experience she knew a good race-day breakfast would get her back on track.
“I was out of my routine entirely. My main priorities were on track though: a high carbohydrate orientated dinner the evening before, lots of electrolytes, plenty of rest and a whopping carbohydrate breakfast on race morning.”
The winner of the female race was Russian runner Elena Danilova with a time of 01:17:24. Gemma placed a near second and Hannah Howard of Ireland clocked in at 01:28:24. A real pleasure for her to secure such a great time especially after her injury in summer 2017. Despite only returning to training early January she’s earned a new PB at one of her favourite courses.
“This race has to probably be the flattest and fastest courses I have ever completed. It’s a superb route too. Highly recommend for runners wanting to PB.”
The OPAP Limassol Marathon is a flat, fast and straight course and could be an ideal first international race. That with its idyllic Mediterranean location and sunny weather has made it the event onto the shortlist for the Best International Event at the 2018 Running Awards next month.
When asked how she felt about her new time Gemma said she “felt like a champion” and it was a “fantastic result” she was very pleased with.
Gemma wasn’t the only British face in Cyprus. For the first time, these two races featured a team o international pacers led by experienced British pacer Paul Addicot. This meant that more runners than ever were able to hit their target times and there were fantastic scenes of jubilation as they crossed the finish line and received their medals.
“To be honest my strategy was to just go hard or go home. Run, hold pace from early on and just hang on. I had literally only just finished a marathon training camp in the Algarve, a couple of days beforehand, so I was fatigued because of this and the travelling.”
Gemma looks forward to the rest of her camps and other upcoming races. She hopes to continue her success into the later phases of the year and onward.
Simon Kiprugut dominated the men’s marathon event. He led from the start and claimed the title in 02:18:28. Ukrainians, Serhii Popov and Anatoliy Bondarenko, finished in 02:34:23 and 02:38:59 taking second and third.
In the women’s marathon event, a dominating performance from Jevtic Olivera saw her nearly 5 minutes ahead of the field. Simeonova Radosveta of Bulgaria finished in 02:50:18 claiming second and Estonian Olga Andrejeva in 02:59:56.
The Half marathon events saw the Russian taking top spots in both the male and female categories. Only Kenyan Nelson Kipkogei could beat them to the podiums top spot in a time of 01:05:40. Russians Igor Polyansky and Dmitry Polanskiy closely followed with times of 01:09:59 and 01:13:03 respectively.
We all know our home favourite, Gemma Hockett, finished closely behind Russian, Elena Danilova. Danilova finishing the day with a time of 01:17:24 and Gemma with a PB of 01:26:19. Irish runner Hannah Howard took third with 01:28:24.
Race Director, Andreas Spyrou is delighted with the overwhelming success of the 2018 event,
“It has been an absolute privilege to see so many runners achieve their targets and celebrate the sport they love with thousands of other runners from the international community. We would like to congratulate everyone who crossed the finish line over the course of the weekend for their phenomenal effort.”
Dates for next years event have now been confirmed. The 2019 OPAP Limassol Marathon GSO takes place on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th March. Full details of the opening of entries and the availability of bespoke race packages will be announced shortly.