Ayana lead Ethiopians to a podium sweep in their marathon debuts in Amsterdam

October 16, 2022

The women’s race lived up to the expectations of marathon fans worldwide when two of the world’s top track stars chose to use the TCS Amsterdam Marathon to stage their marathon debuts. 

Almaz Ayana came in as a former world record holder over the 10,000m, an Olympic and two times world champion. Genzebe Dibaba came in as the reigning world record holder in the 1500m event and the 2015 world champion at the same distance.

From the start, the women appeared focused on lowering the course record as they crossed the 10K point in 32:43, which was way faster than the 33:31 schedule for the previous course record. However, it was still a large pack of over ten runners. They crossed the half-marathon point at 1:09:26.

However, as they approached the 29km, the leading pack was composed only of three track stars from Ethiopia who had never run a marathon before. Shortly after, Tsehay Gemechu, the least decorated Ethiopian track runner, dropped behind, leaving the two big names, Dibaba and Ayana, to battle for the title.

Perhaps, being more of a distance runner on track than Dibaba, who was a middle-distance runner,  Ayana would have a better advantage in the latter stages of the race and began to spread the gap at the lead against her main rival.

The course record of 2:17:57 that was set by Kenya’s Angela Tanui last year was safe in the hands of Ayana as she approached the finish line. However, there was another record on the line for her. Her strong push toward the tape would earn her the title of becoming the fastest marathon debutant in history as she beat Yalemzerf Yehualaw’s time by 3 seconds to win the race in 2:17:20.

Dibaba would follow in another fantastic time of 2:18:05, well ahead of Gemechu, who held on to the third position in 2:18:59.

It was a great day for the Ethiopian runners as their male counterparts also took the title.

Two pacesetters in the men’s race did a perfect job and stepped out of the race at precisely 30km after taking a leading pack of 10 men under the course record schedule. At 1:28:06, they were 27 seconds inside the course record.

Kenya’s Josphat Boit then took to the front, perhaps attempting to break away, but he would not easily shake off the pack. Interestingly, Boit was the first to drop about 5km after the pacers and before Bazazew Asmare increased the pace at the lead. A single file soon formed behind five runners at the front.

It was soon down to three at the 40km point. Tsegaye Getachew then separated the three with a decisive move as Titus Kipruto followed, just ahead of Asmare.

Getachew won the race in 2:04:49. Kipruto followed in 2:04:54, while Amare completed the podium in 2:04:57.

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