The Gulf International Bank Riyadh Marathon was held on 26th February 2016 and was a fun and well organised event. You can visit our Events page to view the photos and results from the day. Here is the report which was published in the Saudi newspapers:
Foustok and Roghi celebrate back to back wins in Gulf International Bank Riyadh Marathon
Mo Foustok and Claudine Roghi returned to Ranco Farm, the scene of their 2015 Riyadh Marathon triumphs last Friday, and in a compelling race both emerged victorious once more in Saudi Arabia’s premier long distance running event.
Before dawn on Friday morning, the Riyadh Road Runners committee and several volunteers met in the south of Riyadh to put together the finishing touches of the Gulf International Bank Riyadh Marathon. The full length marathon (42.2 km) is the largest of its kind in the Kingdom, and runners travelled from as far away as Al Hasa and Jeddah to take part in it.
The race comprises an individual race, running the full 42.2 km over 5 hilly laps, and a team race, in which teams of up to 4 run in relay fashion to complete the distance.
In he individual male race, the hot favourite for the second year in succession was Mo Foustok. Mo bounded into an early lead, and left all others trailing in his wake as he ran kilometre after kilometre at 3:50 pace. With several premier runners opting to run in the team race instead of the full marathon, no one was able to go with Mo and he cruised to a comfortable victory in 2:47:32, despite slowing down somewhat on the final lap. Behind him, newcomer Mark Trewren ran a fine race, his DQ training paying off as he finished in a little over 3 hours. In third place was Bengt Lofgren, who as usual paced himself superbly and worked his way through the field to finish a mere 6 minutes behind Trewren and clinch the final podium place.
In the individual female race, the contest was expected to be close between the two outstanding long distance racers, Claudine Roghi and Nikki Layne. Layne was participating in her first ever full marathon, whereas Roghi was competing in her second one in as many months, however Layne’s performance belied her lack of marathon experience as she completed the race in a formidable time of 3:33:05. Roghi however proved too strong on the day, setting a new personal best time of 3:32:29 and ensuring that her reign as the female marathon champion continues. In third place, but quite a way back, was Franziska Saller, showing good character to gain a couple of places in the final two laps and make her way on to the podium as a result.
The team race was won by hot favourites Abdulmajeed Al Muayquil and Sylvain Girardeau, who ran a half marathon each in impressive time and beat all other teams, even those comprised of 3 and 4 runners! Closely behind there were the teams of Gareth Gallagher and Paul Dewfall, “Fast and Faster” Rod Woodward and Roger Radua Castano and also the husband-wife team “The Blazeks”.
In all, runners and spectators enjoyed an excellent day out in what was a very well organised event. This year, the Road Runners were also able to make a significant donation from the proceeds of the race to Al Mawaddah charity, who work with divorced families to provide a safe environment for children to meet.
The club would like to thank Gulf International Bank for being title sponsor of the 2016 race and for their support in providing t-shirts, podium and start / finish arch, which gave the race a very professional look. Another thanks goes to Carrefour for their ongoing support and provision of 1920 bottles of water – all of which were drunk!
Male race: 1. Mo Foustok (KSA) 2:47:32, 2. Mark Trewren (UK) 3:03:05, Bengt Lofgren (SWE) 3:09:18
Female race: 1. Claudine Roghi (NZ/FRA) 3:32:29, 2. Nikki Layne (UK) 3:33:05, 3. Franziska Saller (DEU) 4:15:51