It was a very fast race at today’s Valencia Marathon as Leul Gebreselassie of Ethiopia, running his second marathon, broke the tape in 2:04:30, breaking the course record and the Spanish all-comers record of 2:05:15. Second- and third-place finishers El Hassan El Abbassi of Bahrain (2:04:43) and Matthew Kipkoech Kisorio of Kenya (2:04:53) also ran faster than the record. Altogether, six men ran under 2:05:30 for only the second time ever–the first time was at Dubai in January, when Gebreselassie finished second in his marathon debut.
Ethiopia’s Ashete Dido won the women’s race in 2:21:14, setting a new personal best by more than two minutes, and trashing the previous course record of 2:24:48. After leading for most of the race, Kenya’s Lydia Chermoei, 41, finished second, in 2:22:10, and Tinbit Weldegebril of Ethiopia was third, in 2:23:37, also a huge personal best.
Valencia quickly gaining a reputation for its very fast half and full marathon courses. This is just the second time in history (after this year's Dubai Marathon) that six men broke 2:05:30 in the same race.
Winner is Leul Gebrselassie, who was the runner-up in Dubai in January. https://t.co/OIOTlQbFH8
— Jonathan Gault (@jgault13) December 2, 2018
Cheromei’s huge lead over Dido began to dwindle in the second half, and was down to 20 seconds by kilometre 35, and two kilometres later Dido overtook Cheromei and created a comfortable lead.
The world silver medallist, Valeria Straneo of Italy, finished eighth, in 2:30:26, in her first marathon after two and a half years of nursing injuries. Straneo is 42, and at 2:23:44 had the fastest PB going into the race.
British runner Stephanie Twell made an excellent marathon debut in 2:30:12, good enough for seventh place, and marking her as the second-fastest British woman in 2018. Portugal’s Ana Felix was fifth in her first marathon after giving birth, with a time of 2:25:22.
TOP DEBUT . . . what a marathon start @StefApril with 2.30.12 (tbc) in Valencia in at No 5 on @scotathletics all-time list!
Many congrats Steph + coach @WightmanGeoff https://t.co/UORJWb65ON@ArnoldBlack1 @SALMarkMunro @ianbeattie1 @fisher_stewart @BBCSportScot @BBCRhonaMcLeod pic.twitter.com/OnSuoibOAr
— scottishathletics (@scotathletics) December 2, 2018
Conditions were perfect in the Spanish city as the lead group of men went through 5K in 14:48 and 10K in 29:47, and reaching the half at 62:30. At 35K it was Kisorio leading, with Gebreselassie and El Abbassi close behind. Finally El Abbassi dropped back, and the race was fought between Kisorio and Gebreselassie, with the Ethiopian surging ahead in the final 2K, and El Abbassi overtaking Kisorio shortly thereafter.
Kisorio was under suspension for doping from 2012 to 2014. His 2:04 finishing time is a personal best.
According to the IAAF, the cyclist riding alongside the lead women was five-time Tour de France winner, retired Spanish cyclist Miguel Induráin.
The day also featured a 10K, which was won by Sweden’s Jonas Leanderson (28:41) and Ethiopia’s Abreha Tsige (32:03), with both the male and female winners bettering the course records.