Sisay Lemma oozed class as he destroyed Kelvin Kiptum's course record at the Valencia Marathon on Sunday with Ethiopians dominating the marathon.
Ethiopia’s Sisay Lemma completely obliterated Kelvin Kiptum’s course record as he won the Valencia Marathon on Sunday.
Lemma clocked 2:01:48 to cut the tape first ahead of reigning Prague Marathon champion Alexander Mutiso who timed 2:03:11 to finish second. Wolde completed the podium in 2:03:48.
Bekele came from behind to take fourth place with a new master’s world record time of 2:04:19 as Kandie, who was in the leading pack for the better of the race, finished sixth.
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The men’s race started with a pack of more than 10 who were each hoping to impress in the streets of the Spanish city.
Among the notable athletes were Ethiopian legend Kenenisa Bekele, debutant Joshua Cheptegei, former world half marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie, and Alexander Mutiso.
Passing the 5km mark, the pack was intact and every athlete looked very comfortable and ready for top contention. Cheptegei, the debutant, was also looking poised to run the leading pack.
39 minutes into the race, legendary marathoner Bekele was dropped and the Ethiopian was now running his race in position 15.
At the 25km mark, Tanzania’s Gabriel Geay was dropped from the leading pack which now had Kandie and the Ethiopian duo of Sisay Lemma and Dawit Wolde. Cheptegei, who was running in the leading pack past the 21km mark, had also been dropped.
As the athletes passed the 30km mark, Lemma and Wolde were running in first place and Kandie was looking comfortable running in third place. Mutiso was running in fourth place at this point.
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At the 35km mark, Lemma was giving the fans a spectacular show with Wolde, Kandie, and Mutiso running behind him in second, third, and fourth places respectively. Lemma was still looking on target to go inside Kelvin Kiptum’s course record time of 2:01:53.
Passing the 40km mark, it was all clear that the Ethiopian would take the top prize. With 800m left, Lemma, the 32-year-old was all clear and gearing up to the finish line and he knew the victory was his.
The women’s race was owned by Ethiopian women who were each vouching for the top prize. Almaz Ayana, the 2022 Amsterdam Marathon champion, was looking very comfortable at the start of the race.
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Ayana led the Ethiopian charge that had also attracted Workinesh Degefa, Hiwot Gebrekidan, and Melat Kejelcha among other stars.
Ayana did most of the leading in the race but her compatriot, Degefa had other plans for the Olympic champion.
She took charge at the 30km mark and meant business as she kept opening the gap while Ayana was forced to keep fighting to close the gap.
At the 40km mark, it was evident that Degefa would take the title since she was running alone. She went ahead and finished the race, clocking 2:15:51 to win the race. Ayana crossed the line second in 2:16:22. Gebredikan completed the podium after clocking 2:17:59.