Berlin Marathon: Guye, Gotytom Win Men’s & Women’s Races as Ethiopian Athletes Shine

ADDIS ABABA – Guye Adola and Gotytom Gebreslase won the men’s and women’s races, respectively, as Ethiopians dominated the 47th edition of BMW Berlin Marathon on Sunday.

Ethiopia’s legendary athlete, Kenenisa Bekele had to settle for third in the men’s race while Ethiopian athletes, Hiwot Gebrekidan and Helen Tola, finished second and third, respectively,  in the women’s road contest.

Prior to the start of the competition, all eyes were on Kenenisa, winner of the 2016 and 2019 editions of Berlin Marathon, and the possibility of him breaking the world record.

However, it was his compatriot Guye that won an enthralling tactical men’s race in 2:05:45, seeing off a late-race challenge from Kenya’s Bethwel Yegon after dropping Kenenisa a few kilometres prior.

Guye’s winning time is well short of Eliud Kipchoge’s world record 2:01:39 set in the German capital three years ago.

Kenenisa finished the race one minute, two seconds behind Guye, who finished second to Kipchoge in Berlin four years ago.

“The race started off really fast, the leading pack couldn’t maintain that pace, so I took my chance to hit the front,” Guye told reporters after his victory.

“It was so hot, my feet were burning in my shoes, ” the 30-year-old added as the temperature topped 20 degrees Celsius on the course.

Kenenisa, 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,” Kenenisa added.

“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,” said one of the greatest distance runners of all time having won the world and Olympic gold medals over both 5,000 meters and 10,000m.

Debutante Gotytom Triumph

It may have been her marathon debut in the women race, but Gotytom looked anything but inexperienced on her way to winning in the race, crossing the finish line in 2:20:09.

The leading women had been close to course record pace for the first half.

With temperatures above 20C during the final part, the pace dropped in the closing stages of the contest. But the 26-year old athlete had just enough in reserve to hold on to victory.

She was part of a major lead pack that went through 5km in 16:30 and 10km in 33:03, along with her compatriots Hiwot who was looking to improve on her world-leading 2:19:35 run from Milan earlier in the year, and Helen.

By the time the pack reached halfway in 1:09:19, just women remained in contention -the three Ethiopian athletes and Kenya’s Fancy Chemutai.

Within the space of a few kilometres, Chemutai and Helen had been dropped, reducing the race to a battle between Gotytom and Hiwot.

The latter, feeling surprisingly good on her debut marathon, edged ahead of her compatriot over the next few kilometres, opening up a 13-second gap by 35km – winning comfortably in 2:20:09.

Her finishing time is the eighth fastest winning time recorded in Berlin.

Athlete Hiwot held on to second place in 2:21:23 and Helen completed the Ethiopian podium sweep in 2:23:05.

Leading results


1 Guye Adola (ETH) 2:05:45
2 Bethwel Yegon (KEN) 2:06:14
3 Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) 2:06:47
4 Tadu Abate (ETH) 2:08:24
5 Cosmas Muteti (KEN) 2:08:45


1 Gotytom Gebreslase (ETH) 2:20:09
2 Hiwot Gebrekidan (ETH) 2:21:23
3 Helen Tola (ETH) 2:23:05
4 Edith Chelimo (KEN) 2:24:33
5 Shure Demise (ETH) 2:24:43



Featured Image Caption: Adola celebrated the first major marathon win of his career having finished second to Eliud Kipchoge in Berlin four years ago (Photo Getty Image)

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