Ethiopia’s Degitu Azmeraw smashed the women’s course record at the TCS Amsterdam Marathon

Degitu Azmeraw wins the Amsterdam Marathon (Organisers)

Ethiopia’s Degitu Azmeraw smashed the women’s course record at the TCS Amsterdam Marathon with 2:19:26, the second-fastest debut in history for the distance, while Kenya’s Vincent Kipchumba won a close men’s contest in 2:05:09 at the IAAF Gold Label road race today.

On a morning with perfect windless conditions and temperatures between 10-12C, the pace in the women’s race was swift from the outset. Azmeraw was one of six athletes in the lead pack and passed through 5km in 16:26 and 10km in 32:49. The six women were still together through the half-way point, reached in 1:10:00 exactly, and 30km, covered in 1:39:40.

It was only after then that the real racing began and the group was whittled down to five at 35km (1:56:14) with Azmeraw, Tigist Girma, Azmera Gebru, Besu Sado and Mimi Belete still in contention.

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The quintet eventually dispersed over the final few kilometres with Azmeraw – who had clocked 1:06:07 for the half marathon this year – forging ahead to win in 2:19:26, taking almost two minutes from Meseret Hailu Debele’s 2:21:09 course record set in 2012. Former world record-holder Paula Radcliffe is the only woman to record a faster marathon debut, having clocked 2:18:56 in 2002.

“I wanted to see what it was like to run a marathon,” said Azmeraw. “I was expecting a time of about 2:20 so this result is definitely a success.”

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Girma was second in 2:19:52, taking almost seven minutes off the PB she set when winning in Ottawa earlier this year. Gebru finished third, replicating her position from last year, but was rewarded with a PB of 2:20:48, while Sado – a former 1500 m specialist making her marathon debut – was fourth in 2:21:03, also inside the previous course record.

Read more at: IAAF

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