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Mo Farah’s European marathon record falls at Valencia Marathon

They don't call Valencia the City of Running for nothing, as today's results attest

The biggest story out of Valencia today was Joshua Cheptegei’s world record in the road 10K, but equally astonishing are Ethiopian Kinde Atanaw’s win, at 2:03:51 only five seconds off the fastest marathon debut in history, and Kaan Kigen Özbilen of Turkey’s second-place finish of 2:04:16, which was almost a minute faster than Mo Farah’s European record of 2:05:11 set last year at Chicago. Several other records fell today in the Spanish city they call el ciudad del running (City of Running), including the women’s course record, the Spanish all-comers record and the Swedish and Northern Ireland marathon records.

RELATED: Joshua Cheptegei breaks world 10K record at Valencia

Valencia must have one of the most spectacular finishes in the world, with the ornamental lake flanking the blue boardwalk at the architectural complex known as the City of Arts and Sciences. It is known as el ciudad del running (City of Running), and for good reason–it has fast, flat courses, a beautiful climate, many scenic routes to choose from, spectacular architecture and strong race organization.

Roza Dereje set a new women’s course record of 2:18:30, bettering Ashete Dido’s previous record by two minutes, 16 seconds. (Atanaw’s mark also bests Leul Gebresilase’s previous CR by 40 seconds.) Dereje also set the course record at the Dubai Marathon this year, and finished second behind Brigid Kosgei when she set the new marathon world record at Chicago in October.


Guye Adola, who holds the record for the fastest marathon debut, set at 2:03:46 at Berlin in 2017, finished third in Valencia today, in 2:04:42.

In the women’s race, Azmera Abreha was second, just three seconds behind Dereje in 2:18:33, and Birhane Dibaba, who has podiumed twice at the Chicago Marathon, was third, in 2:18:46. All are Ethiopian. (Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot was fourth.)

David Nilsson did the same for Sweden with his 2:10:08 finish, for 16th place. (Officially, Nilsson still holds his country’s half-marathon record also, at 1:02:09, though Napoleon Solomon’s 1:01:17 finish at the 2019 Barcelona Half-Marathon is pending.)

Paul Pollock broke the marathon record for Northern Ireland with his 2:10:25 finish, which earned him a 18th-place finish and qualified him for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Full results are pending.