In the women’s marathon at the world championships on Monday, Gotytom Gebreslase of Ethiopia patiently trailed her Kenyan adversary until the very end of the race before bursting ahead and sprinting to victory.
Gebreslase set a championship record by finishing the short, flat course in 2 hours, 18 minutes, and 11 seconds. Nine seconds separated her from Judith Jeptum Korir, who finished the race strong.
The Israeli runner Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, who was born in Kenya, won the bronze medal. With her fifth-place result, Sara Hall spearheaded the Americans’ impressive performance.
Ethiopia has now won the world marathon on the streets of Eugene and Springfield twice. The day prior, Tamirat Tola also triumphed in a championship-record time.
Around the 17-mile mark, Korir and Gebreslase separated themselves from the pack, and shortly after, they widened the distance to over a minute. Gebreslase was content to tuck in behind Korir as she looked to become more and more irritated while carrying out most of the job. Korir continued signaling Gebreslase to assist her to maintain the frenzied tempo.
Up until a downhill stretch with roughly six minutes left in the race, the Ethiopian runner didn’t move. She instantly pushed forward and accelerated.
Gebreslase shattered the championship record of 2:20:57 set by British athlete Paula Radcliffe in 2005. Many of the 40 runners in the field were left in the dust early on as the front group rapidly sped off. Around the 121-mile mark, Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich, the reigning champion, started to fade and eventually pulled out, altering the course of the race.
Throughout the race, the 39-year-old became stronger and stronger, finishing in 2:22:10. Keira D’Amato, an estate agent and the current American women’s marathon record holder, came in eighth. Emma Bates came in seventh.