Sisay Lemma Shatters Course Record in Ethiopia as Joshua Cheptegei Struggles in Marathon Debut

Sisay Lemma achieved another impressive victory in the 2023 Valencia Marathon on Sunday, December 3rd.

The winner of the 2021 London Marathon, Lemma surged ahead of his Ethiopian counterpart Dawit Wolde and Kenya’s Kandiwott Kandie with 7km remaining in the 42.195km race.

At 30km, the trio was well on pace to break the world record, but Lemma finished with a time of 2:01:48, just over a minute outside of Kelvin Kiptum’s record from Chicago in October.

Despite missing the world record, Lemma, who will be 33 years old later this month, managed to break Kiptum’s course record from a year ago by five seconds.

Thanks to the exceptional pacing by Hillary Kipkoech, Lemma, Wolde, and Kandie formed a leading group shortly after the halfway point.

After Kipkoech dropped out at 30km, Wolde increased the pace at the front, but it was Lemma who ultimately made the decisive move.

Alexander Mutiso finished strongly to secure second place for Kenya in 2:03:11, with Wolde taking third place, 37 seconds further back.

Kenenisa Bekele, a three-time Olympic gold medalist on the track, was just over 20 seconds behind the lead group at the halfway point and decided not to keep up with the swift pace at the front, a decision which paid off as the 41-year-old Ethiopian legend passed numerous slowing runners, including Kandie, to clinch fourth place and set a new Masters world record of 2:04:19.


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