Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw clocked 29:19 at the Valencia 10km Ibercaja to come within five seconds of her own world record at the World Athletics Label road race on Sunday.
Unlike last year in Castellón when she set the current world record of 29:14, Yalemzerf opted for a conservative start on Sunday.
The opening 2km was covered in 5:56 with Kenya’s Jesca Chelangat still running at Yehualaw’s shoulder.
The pace increased slightly in the third kilometer as they reached in 8:51; shortly afterwards Chelangat began to lose ground on Yalemzerf as the Ethiopian passed through 4km alone in 11:52, a strong headwind contributing to the slowest kilometer of the race.
Yehualaw increased her pace during the second half, covering most kilometers in 2:53-2:54 and reaching 8km in 23:29.
After another swift 2:53 kilometer, the Ethiopian was unable to maintain that same cadence over the final kilometer but still held on to finish in 29:19, the second-fastest 10km performance in history.
The 23-year-old commented she was a bit disappointed for not having broken the world record but satisfied with her brave effort.
Kenya’s Chelangat finished just outside the 30-minute barrier (30:01) with her compatriot Esther Borura completing a quality podium in 30:15.
Elsewhere today, Ethiopians Hayle Lemi and Anchalem Haymanot won the men’s and women’s elite races, respectively, at the Mumbai Marathon 2023 with new course records.
Hayle set the new course record with a timing of 2:07:32, beating the previous best of 2:08:09 set by compatriot Derara Hurisa in 2020.
He started the race with intent and raced ahead of the pack early, and then paced his run alongside Derara Hurisa and Kenya’s Philemon Rono, a training partner of two-time Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge.
Hayle, who won the Boston Marathon in 2016, then picked up speed as the runners approached the Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link towards the halfway stage. He eventually beat second-placed Philemon Rono by a difference of one minute and 12 seconds. Hailu Zewdu of Ethiopia came third with a timing of 2:10:23.
In the women’s race, Anchalem won the marathon in 2:24:15 and bettered the course record of 2:24:33 set by Valentine Kipketer in 2013.
She narrowly pipped her compatriot Rahma Tusa by seven seconds in the women’s elite race while the third place on the podium went to Letebrhan Haylay, who finished in 2:24:52.
Featured Image: Yalemzerf Yehualaw wins the 10km Valencia Ibercaja (Photo © Organisers)