Fana: At a Speed of Life!

Ethiopia’s Tigst Assefa obliterates marathon world record in Berlin

Addis Ababa, September 24, 2023 (FBC) – Ethiopia’s Tigst Assefa successfully defended her BMW Berlin Marathon title in style, smashing the world record with 2:11:53* at the World Athletics Platinum Label road race in the German capital on Sunday (24).

The 26 year old Tigst Assefa took more than two minutes off the women’s world record of 2:14:04, which had been set by Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei at the 2019 Chicago Marathon.

A large pack of the leading contenders ran together through the early stages of the women’s race, passing through 5km in 15:58. 13 women were still in contact with the lead as they passed through 10km in 31:45.

By the time 15km was reached in 47:26, Tigst Assefa and compatriot Workenesh Edesa had managed to open up a slight gap on Kenya’s Sheila Chepkirui and Ethiopia’s 2015 world 5000m silver medallist Senbere Teferi and Zeineba Yimer. The first 12 women were strung out, but still within 15 seconds of one another – and all were running inside world record pace.

Sensing that most of her rivals were already starting to fade, Assefa took greater command of the race by throwing in a 2:59 split for the 16th kilometre. By the time she reached 17km, Tigst Assefa had dropped Workenesh, the last of her opponents, and had just a few male pacemakers for company.

Assefa seemed to grow in confidence – and pace – once she knew she was alone at the front of the pack, and she went on to reach the half-way point in 1:06:20, putting her on track to smash the world record by more than a minute.

And then she sped up. The next kilometre was covered in 2:48, the fastest of the race up to that point, extending her advantage over Edesa and Chepkirui. Tigst Assefa’s 25km split of 1:18:40 was still well inside world record schedule; Chepkirui and Workenesh, now almost a minute behind the leader, had dropped off the pace, but were still on course for huge PBs.

Tigst Assefa, still looking incredibly relaxed and composed, covered the next 10km segments in a remarkable 31:02, bringing her to 35km in 1:49:41. Her 30km split was 1:34:12, the second-fastest mark in history for that checkpoint (behind Ruth Chepngetich’s 1:34:01 from the 2022 Chicago Marathon).

But while Chepngetich faded badly in that race last year, Tigst went from strength to strength in the closing stages in Berlin.

She got to 40km in 2:05:13, following another 15:32 5km split, putting her on course for a finishing time in the 2:12 range. Spurred on by the knowledge that the world record was in the bag, Assefa picked up her pace in the closing kilometres and charged through the finish line in 2:11:53.

Chepkirui held on to second place in 2:17:49, while Tanzania’s Magdalena Shauri made a remarkable breakthrough to take third place in 2:18:41, a huge national record.

Whereas, other Ethiopian athletes, such as Zeineba Yimer (2:19:07), Senbere Teferi (2:19:21), Dera Dida (2:19:24), Workenesh Edesa (2:19:40), and Helen Bekele (2:19:44) have finished from 4th to 8th, respectively.

According to the statistics of World Athletics, a record eight women finished inside 2:20.

Meanwhile, Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge notched up a record fifth victory at the BMW Berlin Marathon, followed by his compatriot Vincent Kipkemoi who clocked 2:03:13 to claim second spot.

Tadese Takele has finished third by clocking 2:03:24, whereas his compatriots Haftu Teklu (2:04:42) and Andualem Shiferaw (2:04:44) finished 5th and 6th, respectively.

Kipchoge may not have improved on his own world record, but he added to his legacy on the streets of Berlin by achieving a record fifth win, clocking 2:02:42.

The two-time Olympic champion eventually won by 31 seconds, but for most of the race he had company in the surprising form of Ethiopia’s Derseh Kindie.

A record nine men finished inside 2:05 and 15 finished inside 2:06, making it the deepest men’s marathon in history.




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