Siranesh Yirga from Ethiopia crosses the finish line at the 2023 Shanghai Marathon. (Image Dong Jun / SHINE)

Ethiopia’s Siranesh Yirga triumphs at the 2023 Shanghai Marathon

Siranesh Yirga of Ethiopia secured the women’s title at the Shanghai Marathon, a World Athletics Platinum Label road race on Sunday.

The race involved a quality field in the race, featuring five sub-2:21 runners led by Tadu Teshome of Ethiopia with a PB of 2:17:36.

The pace of the first 15km was relatively slow compared to the course record time of 2:20:36 set by Ethiopian Yebrgual Melese in 2018.

Tadu led a group of 10 runners through the opening five kilometers in 17:00 before passing 10km in 33:47 and 15km in 50:36.

The lead pack was trimmed to six after hitting the 20km mark in 1:07:01, and the pre-race favorite Tadu started to drift away after 30km.

However, her compatriot Siranesh, a 2:21:08 performer, managed to pull clear near the 35km mark. At 40km, she was already about 200m ahead of the sole chaser Selly Chepyego of Kenya.

Siranesh kept her pace until breaking the tape in 2:21:28 to take the fourth marathon title in five races for the rising Ethiopian.

The 23-year-old, who just moved to the classic distance in 2022, secured victories in Lagos, Madrid, and Ljubljana last year and finished third in Dubai this February, per the sports governing body World Athletics.

Kenyan veteran Chepyego, 38, finished second in 2:21:55, followed by Bahrain’s Eunice Chumba third in 2:22:20.

In the men’s event, Philimon Kiptoo Kipchumba of Kenya emerged victorious, crossing the finishing line at 2:05:35.

His finishing mark not only improved the course record of 2:07:14 set by compatriot Paul Lonyangata eight years ago but also smashed the Chinese all-comers’ record of 2:06:19 set by Kenya’s Moses Mosop in Xiamen in 2015, per the World Athletics,

Tanzania’s 2017 world bronze medallist Alphonce Simbu trailed four seconds behind Kipchumba to take second place with a PB of 2:05:39, followed by Solomon Kirwa Yego of Kenya in 2:05:42.

Ethiopian duo Kinde Atanew and Debesay Desale finished sixth in 2:08:27 and seventh in 2:09:19, respectively.