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October 17 2021 6:42 AM ˚

Ethiopians triumph at Berlin Marathon, as Bekele falls short

2. Berlin Marathon
Ethiopia’s Guye Adola celebrates after winning the Berlin Marathon on September 26, 2021 in front of Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. (Photo: AFP)
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BERLIN — Ethiopia’s Guye Adola and Gotytom Gebreslase won the men’s and women’s Berlin Marathons on Sunday but compatriot Kenenisa Bekele, a two-time former winner, had to settle for third in the men’s race as he failed in his bid to break the world record.اضافة اعلان

Adola won the men’s race in an official time of two hours, five minutes, 45 seconds — well short of Eliud Kipchoge’s world record 2:01:39 set in the German capital three years ago —  with second-placed Bethwel Yegon, of Kenya, 29 seconds behind.

Bekele, the 2016 and 2019 winner in Berlin, had been attempting to break his personal best when he came within two agonising seconds of Kipchoge’s record two years ago, but ended up settling for third as he finished one minute, two seconds behind Adola.

“The race started off really fast, the leading pack couldn’t maintain that pace, so I took my chance to hit the front,” said Adola after his victory.
“I thought before the race I could beat Kenenisa (Bekele).

“It was so hot, my feet were burning in my shoes,” Adola added as temperature topped 20 degrees Celsius on the course.

Nine months after suffering from COVID-19, Bekele, who turns 40 next June, was disappointed with his time, but had no thoughts of retiring.

“The big problem for me was the lack of training because of the pandemic,” said Bekele, one of the greatest distance runners of all time, having won world and Olympic gold medals over both 5,000m and 10,000m.

“I wanted to do well in Berlin, but I just couldn’t do as well as I hoped — this does not mean my career is over.”

Ethiopian runners swept the podium in the women’s race as Gebreslase won on her debut over the marathon distance.

The 26-year-old won in two hours, 20 minutes, nine seconds and led a clean sweep for the Ethiopians on the podium as Hiwot Gebrekidan took second place, one minute, 14 seconds behind, with third place going to Helen Tola at two minutes, 56 seconds back.

“Although it was my first marathon, I was running to win,” said Gebreslase, the world youth champion over 3,000m in 2011.

The race through the streets of Berlin was the first of the world’s major six marathons to take place with elite athletes and a mass field of runners — estimated at around 25,000 — since the COVID-19 pandemic.

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