Report07 Apr 2024

Marathon debutante Fikir leads Ethiopian double in Paris


Mestawut Fikir wins the Paris Marathon (© AFP / Getty Images)

Mestawut Fikir excelled on her debut at the distance by winning the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon in 2:20:45, while compatriot Mulugeta Uma made it an Ethiopian double by taking the men’s title in 2:05:33 at the World Athletics Elite Label road race on Sunday (7).

In a close finish, Fikir won by three seconds from fellow Ethiopian Enatnesh Tirusew, who was also making her marathon debut. Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot, the 2016 Olympic 5000m champion and four-time world champion on the track, was third in 2:21:46 in what was the 40-year-old’s first marathon in five years.

Uma won the men’s race by 15 seconds from Kenya’s Titus Kipruto. Elisha Rotich, the course record-holder and 2021 winner, was third this time in 2:06:54.

A pack of about 10 women ran together during the early stages, with Ethiopia’s Rahma Tusa leading them through 10km in 33:23. That pack had reduced to six women by the time they reached half way in 1:10:11, with Tusa still leading from Tirusew and Fikir while Cheruiyot bided her time at the back of the pack.

By 30km, Cheruiyot had fallen about 20 seconds behind the leaders with Tusa still pushing the pace out in front. But the long-time leader started to fade a few kilometres later as Fikir and Tirusew made a break.

The Ethiopian duo continued to run side by side through the closing kilometres while Cheruiyot rallied back and made her way up into third place. In the final push, Fikir broke away from her compatriot to win in 2;20:45, while Tirusew claimed second place in 2:20:48. Cheruiyot crossed the line 58 seconds later.

The men’s race played out in similar fashion, the large lead pack going through 10km in 29:08 and half way in 1:02:09, at which point they were on track to challenge Rotich’s course record of 2:04:21.

The pack became strung out over the course of the next 10 kilometres with Kipruto leading them through 30km in 1:28:27, closing followed by Uma and his fellow Ethiopians Deso Gelmisa and Dejane Megersa.

Kipruto continued to lead through 35km, at which point he had just three others for company: Gelmisa, Uma and Kenya’s Bethwell Kipkemboi. Uma then started to pick up the pace and overtook Kipruto with just a few kilometres to go. Further back, Rotich was making his way through the field.

Uma continued to extend his lead over Kipruto in the closing stages and he went on to win in a PB of 2:05:33, finishing 15 seconds ahead of Kipruto. Rotich passed a fading Kipkemboi to take third in 2:06:54.

Leading results

1 Mestawut Fikir (ETH) 2:20:45
2 Enatnesh Tirusew (ETH) 2:20:48
3 Vivian Cheruiyot (KEN) 2:21:46
4 Valentina Mateiko (KEN) 2:24:21
5 Rahma Tusa (ETH) 2:24:48
6 Yenenesh Dinkesa (ETH) 2:26:00
7 Medina Armino (ETH) 2:26:01
8 Ethlemahu Sintayehu (ETH) 2:26:03

1 Mulugeta Uma (ETH) 2:05:33
2 Titus Kipruto (KEN) 2:05:48
3 Elisha Rotich (KEN) 2:06:54
4 Bethwell Kipkemboi (KEN) 2:07:08
5 Cosmas Muteti (KEN) 2:07:37
6 Deso Gelmisa (ETH) 2:07:39
7 Mathias Kyburz (SUI) 2:07:44
8 Dejane Megersa (ETH) 2:08:41


Aga breaks course record in Daegu

Ethiopia’s Rui Aga chopped 48 seconds off the course record at the Daegu Marathon, winning the World Athletics Gold Label road race in 2:21:08 on Sunday (7).

Kenya’s Stephen Kiprop, meanwhile, won the men’s race by a comfortable 36-second margin in 2:07:04.

In the women’s race, the lead pack passed through 10km in 33:23 but by 20km, reached in 1:06:17, the front group had been reduced to just three women: Aga, Kenya’s Evaline Chirchir, and Bahrain’s Tigist Belay. Angela Tanui – the fastest woman in the field – had dropped behind by about nine seconds by this point.

The same lead trio passed through the half-way point in 1:10:00, then Aga started to make a break a few kilometres later. By 30km, which Aga passed in 1:38:50, she had a 31-second lead over Chirchir. Tanui, meanwhile, had moved up into third, 12 seconds behind her compatriot.

Aga reached 35km in 1:55:28, which suggested a finishing time comfortably inside 2:20. But the Ethiopian – who was contesting her second marathon of the year, having equalled her PB of 2:18:09 in January – then started to tire in the final few kilometres.

Tanui, meanwhile, was going from strength to strength and started to catch glimpses of the Ethiopian on the longer stretches. Fortunately for the tiring Aga, the lead she had built up earlier in the race provided enough of a cushion for her to maintain the lead as she entered the Daegu Stadium – venue of the 2011 World Championships – and crossed the finish line in 2:21:08, breaking the course record of 2:21:56 that had been set by Eritrea’s Nazret Weldu in 2022.

Tanui finished second in 2:21:32, then Chirchir followed 40 seconds later. Australia’s Commonwealth champion Jessica Stenson came through for fourth place in a PB of 2:24:01.

By contrast, a large lead pack remained in contention in the men’s race and it was only in the final few kilometres that the group finally split apart.

They went through the first 10km in 29:48, and 20 men were still in contention at half way, reached in 1:03:20. Even by 30km, which was passed in 1:30:19, there were 18 men in the lead pack.

But at 35km (1:45:46), Stephen Kipruto started to push the pace. The lead pack, which still comprised 14 men, started to break up, and two kilometres later there were just five men out in front.

Cherop and fellow Kenyan Kennedy Kimutai made a break at about 37km, opening up some significant distance on the few remaining opponents. But they didn’t run as a duo for long, because Cherop then managed to carve out a lead of his own with just under three kilometres remaining.

He continued to extend his lead to the end, eventually crossing the finish line in a PB of 2:07:04. Kimutai held on for second in 2:07:40 and Tanzania’s Alphonce Simbu claimed third place in 2:07:55.

Leading results

1 Ruti Aga (ETH) 2:21:08
2 Angela Tanui (KEN) 2:21:32
3 Evaline Chirchir (KEN) 2:22:12
4 Jessica Stenson (AUS) 2:24:01
5 Tigist Belay (BRN) 2:24:39
6 Sandrafelis Tuei (KEN) 2:26:57

1 Stephen Kiprop (KEN) 2:07:04
2 Kennedy Kimutai (KEN) 2:07:40
3 Alphonce Simbu (TAN) 2:07:55
4 Ben Chelimo (KEN) 2:08:04
5 Kaan Kigen Ozbilen (TUR) 2:08:19
6 Gilbert Kibet (KEN) 2:08:32


Kipkosgei and Memuye the winners in Milan

Kenya’s Titus Kimutai Kipkosgei and Ethiopia’s Tigist Gebeyahu Memuye were the winners at the Wizz Air Milano Marathon – a World Athletics Label road race – on Sunday (7).

Kipkosgei crossed the finish line in 2:07:12, improving his PB by 34 seconds, while Memunye won the women’s race in 2:26:32. The race was held on a new loop course, with the start and finish in Piazza del Duomo.

In the men’s race, a large lead pack went through 10km in 29:57 and the half-way mark in 1:03:42.

Ten athletes were still in the lead group at 28km. Andrew Rotich Kwemoi, who won in Milan last year, made a move and reached 30km in 1:30:51 with only Kipkosgei, Isaac Kipkemboi Too and Raymond Choge Kipchumba able to stick with him.

Kwemoi surged away at 34km and held the lead until 37km when Kipkosgei caught him. Kipkosgei broke away from Kwemoi at 39km and held on to win in 2:07:12.

Kipchumba moved past Kwemoi at 40km to finish second in 2:07:36 with Kwemoi taking third place in 2:07:52.

“I’m very happy to set a PB in such a beautiful race,” said Kipkosgei. “I was careful to save some energy for the final part of the race. When I took the lead, I found the energy to launch my final sprint.”

In the women’s race, Ethiopia’s Fantu Gelasa Shugi and Kuftu Dadiso Tahir took an early lead and went through 10km in 33:27 with a 23-second margin over Memunye. Shugi surged away at 18km and reached the half-way mark in 1:10:34 with a gap of 26 seconds over Dadiso, while Memunye was a further 51 seconds adrift.

Shugi built a gap of almost two minutes over Memunye and reached 30km in 1:40:59, but her effort took its toll in the final stages of the race.

Sophy Jepchirchir from Kenya moved up into third, overtaking Dadiso at 30km. Then Memunye caught up Shugi at 39km and broke away from her compatriot in the final two kilometres before crossing the finish line in 2:26:32.

Jepchirchir moved past Shugi in the closing stages to finish second in a PB of 2:27:12. Shugi was third in 2:30:52.

“The win was totally unexpected,” said Memuye, who trains alongside world record-holder Tigist Assefa and world champion Amane Beriso. “I’m very happy with my performance. This is my come-back after a long break due to injury.”

Diego Sampaolo for World Athletics

Leading results

1 Gebeyahu Tigist Memuye (ETH) 2:26:32
2 Sophy Jepchirchir (KEN) 2:27:12
3 Gelasa Fantu Shugi (ETH) 2:30:52

1 Titus Kimutai Kipkosgei (KEN) 2:07:12
2 Raymond Choge Kipchumba (KEN) 2:07:36
3 Andrew Kwemoi Rotich (UGA) 2:07:52

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