Ethiopian runners dominated the Dubai and C&D Xiamen Marathons as Berihu Aregaw recorded his first cross-country win in Spain on Sunday.
Tigist Ketema, previously known as 800m and 1500m specialist, made the fastest debut over the classic distance, clocking 2:16:07 in her victory at the Dubai Marathon, according to the World Athletics, while her compatriot Addisu Gobena won the men’s race in 2:05:01.
Running on Dubai’s renowned super flat course that mainly stretches on Jumeirah Beach Road, Tigist smashed the course record by more than a minute.
The 25-year-old upstaged Dera Dida and Ruti Aga, who finished first and second here last year. This time, Ruti finished second in 2:18:09 and Dera was third in 2:19:29.
“I was quite afraid of the distance before I ran my first marathon but now, I wonder why,” said Tigist, who now moves to eighth on the world all-time list. She also sits third on Ethiopia’s all-time list behind world record-holder Tigist Assefa and world champion Amane Beriso.
Like Tigist, debutant Addisu led an Ethiopian sweep of the podium in the men’s road race.
Eight men were in the leading group at the time Addisu reached halfway in 1:01:53, at which point the pack was on course for a sub-2:04 finishing time. The pace dropped slightly in the second half, but the 20-year-old Addisu kicked ahead to win in 2:05:01.
His compatriots Lemi Dumecha and Dejene Megersa followed in second and third respectively with 2:05:20 and 2:05:42.
Asefa and Bekelech victories in Xiamen
Meanwhile, Ethiopian Athletes were victorious in both men’s and women’s road races at the C&D Xiamen Marathon.
Asefa Boki Kebebe and Bekelech Gudeta won the World Athletics Platinum Label road race in 2:06:46 and 2:22:54, respectively.
Asefa upset a quality field that contained three sub-2:05 runners, outracing Kenya’s Felix Kirwa in the final seven kilometers to take the men’s title, falling just 27 seconds shy of the course record.
Kirwa took second place in 2:06:52. Moroccan record-holder Othmane El Goumri finished third in 2:07:18.
Like Asefa, 26-year-old Bekelech also emerged victorious from a stacked field comfortably. The Ethiopian won in 2:22:54, shaving two seconds from the PB she set when winning in Prague two years ago.
Moroccan Fatima Ezzahra Gardadi finished second in 2:24:12 taking almost a minute off her PB. China’s Zhang Deshun was third in 2:26:53.
Berihu Wins Cross-country in Spain
Berihu Aregawi lived up to his status as a pre-race favorite by capturing a commanding win at the Cross Internacional Juan Muguerza in the Spanish town of Elgoibar.
The Ethiopian runner crossed the finishing line of the 9.71km contest in 30:30. Burundi’s Rodrigue Kwizera took second place in 30:34, two seconds ahead of Morocco’s world and Olympic steeplechase champion Soufiane El Bakkali.
For Berihu, this is his first cross-country victory on Spanish soil. He has now turned his attention to the World Cross in Belgrade on 30 March ahead of the Olympic Games.