Debele Fikadu Kebede and Atsede Tesema Baysa claimed an Ethiopian double win at the 38th edition of the Firenze Marathon, a World Athletics Label Race.
Six runners set off at a fast pace reaching 10 km in 30:21 and 15 km in 45:21, inside the course record of 2:08:40 set by Kenya’s James Kutto in 2006. The pace slowed down between the 15 and the 21 km. A five-men leading group formed by Samuel Lomoi, Abdi Ibrahim Abdo, Debele Fikadu Kebede, Dejene Debela Gonfa and David Rono Kipkorir went through at 21 km in 1:04:16, at 25 km in 1:16:23.
The leading pack was whittled down to three runners Kebede, Lomoi and Abdo. They went through the 30 km in 1:31:17 with a lead of more than one minute over Rono.
Kebede and Lomoi increased their lead to 45 seconds over Abdo at 35 km and continued to run a neck-and-neck race until 40 km. Kebede launched his kick in the final km and crossed the finish line in 2:08:45, setting the second-fastest time in the history of the Firenze Marathon. The 36-year-old Ethiopian runner missed the course record held by James Kutto by just five seconds. Abdo finished third in 2:10:58.
Kebede ran the second fastest time in his career, missing his PB of 2:08:27 set in Dubai 2019.
A group of six runners went through the 10 km in 34:28 and the 21 km in 1:13:09. An African trio formed Rodah Jepkorir Rono, Tesema Atsede Baysa, Beyene Medhin Gebrselase reached the 30 km in 1:44:06. Baysa and Tanui produced the decisive surge after the 30 km and went through at 35 km in 2:01:20.
Baysa increased her lead to 29 seconds over Tanui at 40 km and crossed the finish line in 2:25:12. Tanui finished second in 2:26:21, setting the second-fastest time in her career.
Baysa set the second fastest time in the history of women’s race in Florence. Only Israel’s Lonah Salpeter Chemtai ran faster on this course in 2018 with 2:24:17. During her career, Baysa won three World Marathon Majors races on US soil in Chicago in 2010 and 2012 and in Boston in 2016.