• Almaz Ayana produces astonishing marathon debut in Amsterdam with 2:17:20

Posted by: Watch Athletics

Former 10000m record holder Almaz Ayana won the women's race at the TCS Amsterdam Marathon in a Dutch all-comers' record of 2:17:20. Ayana set the seventh-best time in history and the fastest-ever women's marathon debut performance. 

Ayana also broke the course record set by Kenya's Angela Tanui by 37 seconds with 2:17:57.

Ayana won the Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro 2016 in the 10000m with a world record of  29:17:45 and two world gold medals in the 5000m in Beijing 2015 and in the 10000m in London 2017. 

The Ethiopian distance running star took three years off due to injury problems and pregnancy. Last September, she made a triumphant come-back after the birth of her son, setting a lifetime best of 1:07:11 at the Great North Run in Newcastle. 

Genzebe Dibaba also ran a negative split in the race's second half, but she had to settle for second place at 2:18:05 in her first marathon race, setting the fourth fastest debut time. Dibaba has moved into the all-time top 20. 

Dibaba ran 65:18 in the half marathon in Valencia 2020, but she had not competed in any other race since she dropped out of the Ras Al Khaimah last February. Dibaba set the world record in the 1500m with 3:50:07 in the Monaco Diamond League meeting in 2015 and won the world gold medal in Beijing later that year. 

Tsehay Gemechu completed the Ethiopian podium sweep by taking third place with 2:18:58 on her debut over the distance. Gemechu finished fourth in the 5000m at the 2019 World Championships in Doha. 

Ayana, Dibaba, and Gemechu ran in the leading group, who went through the 5 km in 16:13, the 10 km in 32:43 and the halfway mark in 1:09:26. The Ethiopian trio broke away from the rest of the field at 25 km and went through 25 km in 1:22:06 and 30 km in 1:30:04. 

Gemechu was dropped by Ayana and Dibaba after the 33 km. Ayana pulled away from Dibaba at 35 km and built up a lead of 30 seconds at the 40 km, which she passed in 2:10:07. She increased her lead to 45 seconds at the finish improving the previous fastest-ever marathon debut time of 2:17:23 set by her compatriot Yalemzerf Yehualaw in Hamburg last April. 

Ayana and Dibaba ran neck and neck until the 35 km mark. Ayana produced the decisive surge in the final part of the race, clocking a super fast 16:06 between the 35 and the 40 km. 

Ayana ran the first half of the race with 1:09:25 and the second half with a negative split of 1:07:55. 

Men's race: 

Tsegaye Getachew scored the Ethiopian double by winning the men's race in 2:04:49. Getachew improved his previous PB of 2:05:11 set in Paris in 2021. Titus Kipruto finished second, improving his PB by eleven seconds to 2:04:54. Kipruto set his previous marathon PB when he won in Milan in 2:05:05. 

Bazezew Asmare from Ethiopia also dipped under the 2:05 barrier to round the podium in 2:04:57. 

It was a high-quality race, with the top-seven finishers under 2:05:30 and nine runners under 2:06. 

Abraham Kiptoo finished fourth in 2:05:04 ahead of Huseydin Mohamed, who clocked 2:05:05 on his marathon debut, Paris and Hamburg Marathon winner Cyprian Kotut (2:05:15), Norbert Kigen (2:05:32), Laban Korir (2:05:41), Adeladlew Mamo (2:05:45) and Josphat Korir (2:06:34).

A big group went through the 5 km in 14:33 and the 10 km in 29:12 before reaching the halfway mark in 1:01:54. Josphat Bett took the lead at 30 km when the pacemakers dropped out of the race. 

The leading pack was inside the course record set by Ethiopia's Tamirat Tola, who won last year's edition in 2:03:39. 

Nine runners were still in contention at 30 km and went through this mark in 1:28:05. Bazeraw Asmare pushed the pace at 35 km to lead a breakaway group of five athletes formed by Getachew, Kiptoo, Asmare, Kotut, and Mohamed. 

Getachew launched his decisive kick with 2 km to cross the finish line inside the Olympic Stadium in 2:04:49. The 25-year-old Ethiopian runner clinched the biggest win of his career. He achieved his previous three victories in Riyadh, Izmir, and Dalian. 

Tsegaye Getachew: "The competition was perfect. The spectators were great, and there was a great atmosphere on the course. It was the biggest win of my career. I was just very pleased. I felt very good in the last 5 km as we went into the park, especially as we left the park with 2 km to go".

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