|Mare Dibaba winning at the Xiamen International Marathon (Organisers) © Copyright|
Ethiopia’s Mare Dibaba won the Xiamen Marathon for the second year in succession, taking more than one-and-a-half minutes off the course record she set last year at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race, winning in 2:19:52 on Saturday (3).
For the first time since the inaugural Xiamen Marathon in 2003, both course records were broken as Kenya’s Moses Mosop set a Chinese all-comers’ record of 2:06:19 to win the men’s race.
When Dibaba won in Xiamen last year, she took 61 seconds off the course record and crossed the line five minutes ahead of her nearest rival.
This time, her victory was even more emphatic.
By equalling her PB of 2:19:52, she covered the course one minute and 45 seconds quicker than she did last year, finishing almost eight minutes ahead of Meseret Legesse, who once again finished second to Dibaba for the second year running.
Dibaba built up a significant lead in the early stages of the race and maintained it all the way to the finish.
“I could have run faster but I felt a little bit pain in my legs in the last 10km which forced me to slow down,” said the 25-year-old who finished third in Boston and second in Chicago last year. “But I am happy with the result.”
Legesse was about a minute slower than last year, finishing second in 2:27:38. In third, Kenya’s Meriem Wangari set a PB of 2:27:53. It was the second time the 35-year-old had made it on to the podium in Xiamen, having finished second on her marathon debut in 2012.
Mosop back to winning ways
Back in 2011, Mosop made a promising start to his marathon-running career, clocking 2:03:06 on Boston’s record-ineligible course on his debut at the distance and then winning the Chicago Marathon with a course record of 2:05:37 later that year.
But in recent times, the 29-year-old has struggled to recapture that form. He finished eighth at the 2013 Chicago Marathon and a distant 12th in Prague last May, clocking 2:20:37. So when he lined up in Xiamen, he was something of an unknown quantity.
Unlike the women’s race, the men’s contest was more competitive. It was only in the last few kilometres that Mosop broke away from Ethiopia’s Tilahun Regassa, crossing the finish line in 2:06:19 to take more than a minute off the course record set in 2013 by Ethiopia’s Getachew Terfa Negari.
Mosop’s time was also the fastest marathon ever recorded on Chinese soil, bettering the 2:06:32 set by the late Samuel Wanjiru when winning the 2008 Olympic title in Beijing.
Regassa was also inside the previous course record, clocking 2:06:54 in second place. Ethiopia’s Abrha Milaw finished third in 2:08:09, nine seconds ahead of Kenya’s Robert Kwambai.
In total, more than 43,000 runners competed in the marathon and half-marathon races.
1 Moses Mosop (KEN) 2:06:19
2 Tilahun Regassa (ETH) 2:06:54
3 Abrha Milaw (ETH) 2:08:09
4 Robert Kwambai (KEN) 2:08:18
5 Tadese Tola (ETH) 2:10:30
1 Mare Dibaba (ETH) 2:19:52
2 Meseret Legesse (ETH) 2:27:38
3 Meriem Wangari (KEN) 2:27:53
4 Meseret Godana (ETH) 2:36:11
5 Cao Mojie (CHN) 2:43:06