Ethiopia’s Worknesh Edesa beat the hot weather and a loaded field to break the women’s course record at the Bank of Lanzhou Cup Lanzhou International Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on Sunday (May 2, 2019).
The top four finishers in the women’s race all finished inside the previous course record of 2:31:22 set by Kenya’s Nguriatukei Rael Kiyara in 2015. The 26-year-old Edesa, whose 2:21:05 PB from Dubai earlier this year made her the fastest entrant for Lanzhou, lived up to expectations as she brace the tape in style in 2:30:22.
The race started under cloudy weather conditions but the sun came out about an hour after the gun and the temperature rose rapidly. A group of eight runners led the race to 15km in 53:31, 25km in 1:29:08 and 30km in 1:47:29.
After 35km, the pack was soon whittled down to just four runners: Edesa, Gutemi Shone, Sifan Melaku and Fantu Jimma. Edesa waited for another four kilometres before launching her powerful surge to pull away from the others.
Although the temperature reached as high as 26C, the in-form Ethiopian kept widening the gap and went on to win in 2:30:22. It was Edesa’s first marathon victory since winning the 2016 Xiamen Marathon in 2:24:04.
Edesa’s compatriot Shone, winner of this year’s Seville Marathon with a PB of 2:23:32, finished second in 2:30:40, while the 31-year-old Jimma, winner of this year’s Wuhan Marathon, lagged nine seconds further behind to complete the Ethiopian podium sweep.
Kenya’s Justus Kimutai upset a strong Ethiopian contingent to win the men’s race in 2:11:47.
Ethiopian runners filled the next six positions with Gizachew Hailu finishing second in 2:12:05 and Afewerk Mesfin third in 2:14:10.
Kimutai’s winning time of 2:11:47 was more than one-and-a-half minutes shy of the 2:10:10 course record set by Ethiopian Abayneh Ayele in 2015.