Yemane Tsegay Adhane fulfilled his role as the favourite for the 2014 Daegu International Marathon, an IAAF Silver Label Road Race, winning in a course record of 2:06:51 on Sunday (6).
Adhane, appropriately wearing number 1 on his chest, took more than a minute off the previous record which had stood at 2:07:57 to Kenya’s David Kemboi Kiyeng since 2012.
It was the 28-year-old's seventh victory in 19 outings to date, and extended his streak of winning at least one marathon every year since he made his debut over the classic distance in 2008.
It was also Adhane’s fourth race under 2:07, although some way adrift of his personal best of 2:04:48 set when winning the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon.
Gebretsadik Abraha made it an Ethiopian one-two in the Korean city as the 2010 world junior 10,000m silver medallist, who made an impressive marathon debut in 2012 with a personal best of 2:06:21 when finishing second at the Amsterdam Marathon, bounced back after some lacklustre performances in 2013 and finished only 15 seconds behind his compatriot.
Kenya’s Nixson Kurgat sliced more than a minute off his previous best of 2:08:29, set when winning another Korean race in Chuncheon last October, when he finished third in 2:07:18.
In a high quality race with the top five all inside the previous course record, Kurgat was followed home by two fellow Kenyans.
Elijah Kemboi was a frustrating nine seconds outside his best time when finishing fourth in 2:07:43 while Jacob Kibet Kendagor made a good improvement in fifth place with 2:07:53, more than three minutes quicker than he had ever run before.
Adhane acceleration ends Abraha challenge
The leading group consisting of Adhane, Abraha, Kurgat, Kemboi and Kibet Kendagor were all together until just before 38km on the three lap course which was used for the 2011 IAAF World Championships, when the Ethiopian pair increased the pace.
Adhane then surged again with two kilometres to go, just before the Suseong Bridge which crosses the famous Sincheon River and was never headed, before he finished in the city’s Gukchaebosang Memorial Park, where the gun had gone just over two hours before.
Mulu Seboka made it a men’s and women’s double in Daegu for Ethiopia, winning in 2:25:23 after finishing second in 2012 and 2013.
It is the third consecutive win for the prolific Seboka, running her 31st marathon, after victories in Jakarta last October and in Dubai in January. It is also the fifth win for an Ethiopian woman in the six years the Daegu International Marathon has been in existence.
Ethiopia’s Meseret Legese finished a distant second in 2:28:03 with Peru's Judith Toribio a surprise third in 2:29:51, more than four minutes quicker than she had ever run before.
The Daegu International Marathon, which saw many of the city’s 2.6 million citizens lining the streets, is rapidly become one of Asia’s road races despite only having been in existence since 2009; a visible example of the successful legacy of the World Championships just under three years ago.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF