Ethiopia’s Ashete Bekele Dido set a women’s course record of 2:27:47 and there were three men under the 2:10 barrier at the 90th edition of the International Peace Marathon in the Slovakian city of Kosice, the oldest Marathon in Europe, on Sunday (6).
Starting in cool conditions, with the temperature just six degrees Celsius, Dido also took more than three minutes off her personal best, which had been 2:31:23 from when she finished second in Rome last year.
Second place went to Dido’s compatriot Marta Lema, who improved her own best by almost three minutes to 2:28:02.
With the leading group going through halfway in 1:13:43, the pair were then together on their own from 25km onwards and passed through 35km in 2:02:12 before Dido pulled away in the closing stages of the race.
"I wanted to run 2:26, but also the final time is very satisfying. I was surprised with my teammate Marta as she has been (finishing) so close to me. I did not have any crisis, I felt excellent, also supported by the great spectators. Actually, it was better for me than in Rome, also the support on the course. I want to improve in the next years a lot more," said Dido.
The halfway point in the men’s race was reached in 1:04:33 by pacemaker David Kibet and there were still seven men together at 36km when Ethiopia’s Alemayehu Abebe surged and pulled away.
However, the Kenyan pair of Patrick Kiptanui Korir and Elisha Kiprop worked together and started to reel in Abebe 3km from the line to set up a thrilling end to the race.
The 36-year-old Kiptanui Korir, the 2012 Madrid Marathon winner who only started running international races at the age of 30, won in 2:09:36 while Abebe was second and Kiprop third in 2:09:45. All three men set personal bests.
An estimated 9500 competed in the races.
Organisers for the IAAF