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January 21, 2019

Kimetto struggles as Ethiopians dominate Shanghai race

Dennis Kimetto celebrates winning the Berlin Marathon on September 28, 2014. /COURTESY
Dennis Kimetto celebrates winning the Berlin Marathon on September 28, 2014. /COURTESY

Former world record holder Dennis Kimetto was relegated to 10th position after clocking 2:14:55 as Shanghai Marathon was dominated by Ethiopians.

His time was almost 12 minutes slower than his 2:02:57 world record posted 2014. However, the feat must have given him some confidence after three successive incomplete marathons.

Ethiopia’s Abdiwak Tura took the men’s title following a breath-taking home stretch battle, securing the first Ethiopian double in the 19-year history of the IAAF Gold Label event.

In the men’s event, two sub-2:05 runners turned the race into a last 100-metre sprinting contest, with Tura rallying to edge fellow Ethiopian Tsegaye Mekonnen in front of the finish.

The 21-year-old Tura clocked 2:09:20 to claim the title, 4:36 shy of his career best of 2:04:44 set in Dubai earlier this year. Mekonnen, a 2:04:32 performer, finished with the same clocking but had to settle for second place. 

A leading group of more than 10 runners reached 5km in 15:25, 10km in 30:47 and 20km in 1:01:21. Nine men were still in contention as they reached the 30km mark in 1:32:12, and after another 5km, the pack was trimmed to seven.

It soon became clear that the leaders were focused only on winning—and not challenging the 2:07:14 course record set by Kenya’s Paul Lonyangata in 2015 —as none of them were willing to risk speeding up too early.

The seven runners remained together until they entered the Shanghai Stadium, where the finish line was located.

Mekonnen was the first to launch a charge for the line and he was followed by Tura and Kenya’s DicksonTuwei. Tura passed Mekonnen in the final 10 metres to take his second title of the year following his 2:09:04 victory in Milan in April.

In the women’s category Betty Lampus finished third by posting 2:23:41to improve her personal best by six minutes.

Ethiopia’s Yebrgual Melese reduced the women’s course record by more than a minute to win the event in 2:20:37 with Azmera Abreha coming home second in 2:21:51.

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