Report17 Sep 2023

Saina and El Goumri win Sydney Marathon titles


Betsy Saina wins the Sydney Marathon (© Organisers)

USA’s Betsy Saina held off a late challenge from Ethiopia’s Rahma Tusa to take the women’s title, while Othmane El Goumri claimed the men’s race win at the Sydney Marathon presented by ASICS, a World Athletics Platinum Label road race, on Sunday (17).

Saina, who finished fifth at the Tokyo Marathon in March, clocked 2:26:47 to win by six seconds ahead of Tusa, while Gladys Chesir claimed third place in 2:28:41.

El Goumri’s winning time was 2:08:20 as he triumphed by 23 seconds ahead of Kenya’s Laban Kipngetich, with Ethiopia’s Getaneh Molla placing third in 2:11:22.

Racing on a hot morning, Saina formed part of a pack that passed 10km in 34:57 and the half way mark in 1:14:23 – with Kenya’s Angela Tanui to the fore at that point.

They reached 30km in 1:46:22, with a number of athletes still in contention.

Then Saina and Tusa started to make a move. As they left their rivals behind, they were together through 35km in 2:02:49, with Tanui back in third in 2:03:35.

Saina was still clearly feeling good and she pushed again to create a gap on Tusa, passing the 40km point in 2:19:30, 16 seconds ahead of the Ethiopian. But Tusa wasn’t content to sit back and watch the title run away, so she made a late charge. While she was able to close the gap to six seconds by the finish, it wasn’t quite enough, and Saina secured the crown, with Tusa taking second place and Chesir coming through for third.

Tanui finished fourth in 2:28:52, while Ethiopia’s Bekelech Borecha was fifth in 2:29:13. Australian record-holder Sinead Diver won the national marathon title in 2:31:27, finishing eighth overall.

In the men’s race, El Goumri made a move ahead of the 30km mark, but he had formidable company in the form of Tanzanian record-holder Gabriel Geay, who set his PB of 2:03:00 in Valencia last year.

Othmane El Goumri claims the men's title at the Sydney Marathon

Othmane El Goumri claims the men's title at the Sydney Marathon (© Organisers)

After a half way split of 1:03:56, they passed 30km together in 1:30:58 but Geay could not maintain the pace and he dropped to third by 35km – with El Goumri ahead in 1:46:11 and Kipngetich overtaking Geay to pass that point in 1:46:28 to Geay’s 1:46:58.

Geay dropped out from the race after that point, with El Goumri forging ahead to win in 2:08:20 and Kipngetich claiming second place in 2:08:43. Molla, who had reached 35km in 1:47:31, claimed third place in 2:11:22.

He was followed over the finish line by his Ethiopian compatriot Limenih Getachew, who finished fourth in 2:12:34. Kenya’s Moses Kibet, who was defending his title after winning last year in an Australian all-comers' record of 2:07:03, was fifth in 2:13:28, while Oceanian record-holder Brett Robinson won the Australian title in 2:23:05, and like Diver he finished eighth overall.

With more than 17,000 entrants, the event was the largest marathon to ever take place in Australia.

Leading results

1 Betsy Saina (USA) 2:26:47
2 Rahma Tusa (ETH) 2:26:53
3 Gladys Chesir (KEN) 2:28:41
4 Angela Tanui (KEN) 2:28:52
5 Bekelech Borecha (ETH) 2:29:13
6 Antonina Kwambai (KEN) 2:29:33
7 Haven Hailu Desse (ETH) 2:30:45
8 Sinead Diver (AUS) 2:31:27

1 Othmane El Goumri (MAR) 2:08:20
2 Laban Kipngetich (KEN) 2:08:43
3 Getaneh Molla (ETH) 2:11:22
4 Limenih Getachew (ETH) 2:12:34
5 Moses Kibet (KEN) 2:13:28
6 Jonathan Korir (KEN) 2:15:02
7 Elkanah Langat (KEN) 2:20:15
8 Brett Robinson (AUS) 2:23:05

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