Valencia Marathon: Chepchirchir struggles as Ethiopia complete podium sweep

Sunday, December 3rd, 2023 16:58 | By
Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia celebrates after crossing the finish line at the Valencia Marathon. PHOTO/World Athletics

Kenya's Celestine Chepchirchir came in fourth as Ethiopia dominated the women's race at the Valencia Marathon on Sunday, December 3, 2023.

Worknesh Degefa ran a personal best of 2:15:51 to win, as Ethiopia claimed the first, second, and third positions.

Returning Degefa shines

Meanwhile, the race started at a pace of 3:12/km, with the leading group clocking 16:00 for the opening 5km and 32:02 for the 10km, according to World Athletics. Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana, Degefa, and Hiwot Gebrekiden remained in the lead as the race continued to tighten.

The Ethiopians reached the halfway point in 1:07:29, and at this point, they were threatening last year's course record of 2:14:58. Chepchirchir was chasing the lead group from fourth place in 1:08:20.

The tempo dropped slightly between the 20km and 30km before the leaders entered the 30km mark at 1:36:22.

Degefa, for the first time, moved ahead at the 33-kilometer mark before she broke clear of Ayana. Degefa crossed the 35-kilometer mark in 1:52:34, opening a four-second advantage.

By the 40-kilometer point, Degefa was the undisputed designated winner of the race, with her margin growing to 21 seconds.

She cut the tape at 2:15:51, well inside the 2:16 barrier, improving her career best of 2:17:41 set in 2019.

Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia crosses the finish line at the Valencia Marathon. PHOTO/Valencia Marathon
Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia crosses the finish line at the Valencia Marathon. PHOTO/Valencia Marathon

Ayana, who clocked 2:16:22, was content with the second place but also noted an improved personal best by 60 seconds, while her compatriot Gebrekidan came in third at 2:17:59, 1:11 faster than her previous best.

Chepchirchir finished fourth in 2:20:46.

Valencia Marathon women's leading results

1 Worknesh Degefa (ETH) 2:15:51
2 Almaz Ayana (ETH) 2:16:22
3 Hiwot Gebrekidan (ETH) 2:17:59
4 Celestine Chepchirchir (KEN) 2:20:46
5 Majida Maayouf (ESP) 2:21:27
6 Sultan Haydar (TUR) 2:21:27
7 Desi Mokonin (BRN) 2:22:29
8 Genevieve Gregson (AUS) 2:23:08
9 Sofiia Yaremchuk (ITA) 2:23:16
10 Isobel Batt-Doyle (AUS) 2:23:27

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