Toronto Marathon Confirms Bonus For Women’s Winner

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Oct. 18, 2011
Thanks to a recent ruling, Koren Yal will be awarded the bonus for breaking the course record at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Photo:

Thanks to a recent ruling, Koren Yal will be awarded the bonus for breaking the course record at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Photo:

She set a new course record by three tenths of a second.

By David Monti
(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

(18-Oct) — Organizers of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon confirmed yesterday that their women’s winner, Koren Yal of Ethiopia, would be paid a CAD 25,000 bonus for achieving a new course record, even though under present international rules she had only tied the record.

“We’ll be paying,” explained race director Alan Brookes in an e-mail message to Race Results Weekly yesterday.

Yal, a 24 year-old Ethiopian, clocked 2:22:43 in winning Sunday’s race, the same time achieved by Kenya’s Sharon Cherop in last year’s contest when Cherop set the event record.  However, when Yal’s time was looked at to the tenth of a second, it was 2:22:42.5 compared to Cherop’s 2:22:42.8, a scant 3/10ths of a second faster.  Under present international rules, road race times are expressed in whole seconds, and shown to the next highest second in official results.  However, Brookes thought that paying Yal a bonus –not quite the CAD 35,000 promised had she surpassed the record by at least a full second– was the right thing to do.

“I think the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon has worked hard to build a good reputation of supporting (especially) young, developing athletes,” Brookes wrote.  “We’re absolutely thrilled with Koren’s race yesterday in some tough, windy conditions, and are pleased to see it rewarded.”

Yal and compatriot Mare Dibaba ran yesterday’s race aggressively, blasting through the half-way mark in 1:08:36, a time which would win all but a handful of half-marathons held in the world this year.  They kept up the hot pace through 30 km where the pair set pending world 30-K records of 1:38:31.  Buffeted by strong winds, they slowed significantly in the final kilometers.  Nonetheless, Yal’s time was the fastest ever run in Canada (Dibaba ran a personal best 2:23:25 in second place).  

As Brookes watched the race, he was floored by their fast first half.

“The half split was scary, and then hanging on into the wind the last 7-K was superb,” Brookes wrote.  “We also very much appreciate having a great sponsor in Scotiabank, so committed to building the sport.”

Yal’s victory in Toronto was her second in a marathon this year.  She also won the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon last January in India.  She also made the podium at the Paris Marathon last April, finishing third.

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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