Ethiopian Athletes Obliterate at Valencia Marathon

5 Mons Ago 698
Ethiopian Athletes Obliterate at Valencia Marathon

Ethiopian athletes Sisay Lemma and Worknesh Degefa won Sunday the Valencia Marathon Trinidad Alfonso – a World Athletics Elite Platinum Label event.

While Sisay set a course record of 2:01:48 to move to fourth on the men’s world all-time list, Worknesh ran a PB of 2:15:51 to win the women’s race and complete an Ethiopian double, according to World Athletics.

As scheduled, the men's race kicked off at a brisk rhythm as the pacemakers went through the opening five kilometres in 14:28. They maintained that pace through to 10km (28:56), with Sisay always nearest to the pacemakers and other favourites – including Uganda's debutant Joshua Cheptegei and Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele – in close attendance.

Shortly after reaching the 13th kilometre, the pace of the lead pack picked up and only Sisay, Tanzania's Gabriel Geay and the Kenyan duo of Kibiwott Kandie and Alexander Mutiso managed to maintain it as that quartet clocked 14:08 for that 5km split. But Ethiopia’s Dawit Wolde and Chalu Deso plus Cheptegei re-joined them at the helm and seven men blazed through the half marathon checkpoint together in 1:00:35.

By then, the experienced Kenenisa had decided to set his own cadence and travelled alone behind them, clocking 1:00:58 for half way.

Over the closing stages only Sisay was able to tick off each kilometre well under 3:00 pace to reach 40km in 1:55:12, almost a full minute ahead of Dawit, while Mutiso ran in third another half a minute adrift but ahead of a faltering Kandie.

Sisay reached the finish line unopposed in 2:01:48, just seven seconds shy of Kenenisa’s national record. Mutiso overtook Dawit in the closing stages to take second place in a career best of 2:03:11, with Dawit completing the podium in 2:03:48, also a PB.

Kenenisa passed Geay and Kandie over the closing kilometres to finish a fine fourth in 2:04:19, improving his own masters record (M40).

In the women's event, shortly after 10km, only four women – Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana, Workinesh Degefa and Hiwot Gebrekiden, plus Germany's Melat Kejeta – remained at the helm.

The steady pace continued over the following kilometres and that quartet reached the halfway point in 1:07:29, running with a large group of male athletes and right on schedule to give last year's women's course record of 2:14:58 a scare.

Workinesh extended her lead over the next few kilometres and became a virtual winner by 40km as her margin had grown to 21 seconds.