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Valencia Marathon winners stun fans with scorchingly fast victories

Kenya's Kelvin Kiptum and Ethiopia's Amane Beriso became the third-fastest man and woman in marathon history

Kelvin Kiptum 2022 Valencia Marathon Photo by: World Athletics

Near-perfect running conditions and a fast course aided Sunday’s 2022 Valencia Marathon winners to incredibly fast finishes and some surprise PBs. Kenyan runner Kelvin Kiptum, 23, won the race (his first marathon) in 2:01:53, while Ethiopia’s Amane Beriso, 31, was a surprise win on the women’s side in 2:14:58, becoming the third-fastest man and woman in marathon history.

Men’s race

Kiptum not only won the race but ran the fastest-ever men’s marathon debut in 2:01:53, adding his name to a short list of legends. Only two runners have gone faster–Kenyan GOAT Eliud Kipchoge holds the 2:01:09 world record, and previously ran a 2:01:39, and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele (2:01:41). Kipchoge and Bekele were 28 and 31 respectively when they made their marathon debuts, leading fans to speculate what lies ahead in Kiptum’s career.

With a solid lead pack of 19 men hanging on until the halfway mark, it was anyone’s guess who would take the win–but pre-race favourite and 2022 world champ, Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola, took the lead for a time and picked up the pace. Only seven runners hung on to the lead pack at the 30K mark in 1:27:34, with that quickly dwindling to three (Tola, Kiptum and Tanzania’s Gabriel Geay).

Kiptum gestured to Geay and Tola to take the lead, but when neither athlete made a move, he sped up, running a blistering 60:15 second half and leaving his competitors behind at 32K. Kiptum was followed in by Geay, who set a new Tanzanian record in 2:03:00, and Kenya’s Alexander Mutiso in 2:03:29 in what was also his debut marathon. Tola ran to fourth in 2:03:40.

The top six men broke 2:05, with the first 12 finishing inside 2:07 in an unbelievably fast overall race.

Top 10 male finishers
1. Kelvin Kiptum (KEN) 2:01:53
2. Gabriel Geay (TAN) 2:03:00
3. Alexander Mutiso (KEN) 2:03:29
4. Tamirat Tola (ETH) 2:03:40
5. Kaan Kigen Ozbilen (TUR) 2:04:36
6. Chalu Deso (ETH) 2:04:56
7. Milkesa Mengesha (ETH) 2:05:29
8. Ronald Korir (KEN) 2:05:37
9. Philemon Kiplimo (KEN) 2:05:44
10. Goitom Kifle (KEN) 2:06:09

Women’s race

The women’s race also did not finish as expected, with Beriso stunning fans as she ran to a remarkable PB of 2:14:58, coming shockingly close to the world record. With a previous best of 2:20:48 from January 2016, Beriso was not expected to be a top contender heading into the race. Kenyans Brigid Kosgei (2:14:04) and Ruth Chepngetich (2:14:18) are now the only women to have run faster than Beriso.

Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey followed Beriso in 2:16:49, the fastest-ever time for a woman in her marathon debut. Gidey, the world record holder at 5,000m, 10,000m and the half-marathon, was running a highly anticipated debut, with many hoping she would take down the world record. Gidey hit the halfway mark in a speedy 67:18 and the record seemed destined to fall, but Beriso was keeping pace with Gidey.

At the 33K mark the pair began to slow slightly, and Gidey showed signs of fatigue, letting Beriso take the lead by the 36K mark. The group of four men who had been running with them–one official pacemaker–did not follow Beriso, staying with Gidey. Kenyan half marathoner Sheila Chepkirui chased the lead pair to round out the podium in 2:17:29.

In her post-race interview, Beriso shared that she felt she could have broken the world record if the pacemakers had been working for her and not Gidey.

Top 10 women 
1. Amane Beriso (ETH) 2:14:58
2. Letesenbet Gidey (ETH) 2:16:49
3. Sheila Chepkirui (KEN) 2:17:29
4. Tadu Teshome (ETH) 2:17:36
5. Fancy Chemutai (KEN) 2:18:11
6. Tiruye Mesfin (ETH) 2:18:47
7. Tigist Girma (ETH) 2:18:52
8. Etagegne Woldu (ETH) 2:20:03
9. Dolshi Tesfu (ETH) 2:20:40
10. Majida Maayouf (MAR) 2:21:01

For full results of the 2022 Valencia Marathon, head here.

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