Kenya’s Marius Kipserem and Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh smashed their PBs to secure victories at the inaugural ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon on Friday (7).
In a close race, Kipserem won in 2:04:04 to take more than two minutes off the PB he set when winning the 2016 Rotterdam Marathon, moving him to 12th on the world all-time list.
During the week in which his recent world half marathon record was ratified, compatriot Abraham Kiptum finished second in 2:04:16 to also enter the top 20 on the world all-time list.
Yeshaneh, meanwhile, won the women’s race in 2:20:16 to finish comfortably ahead of Bahrain’s Eunice Chumba, who clocked 2:20:54. As was the case in the men’s race, the top two finishers set lifetime bests.
A sizeable lead pack formed early on as seven men passed through 10 kilometres in 29:31. Their pace was already well inside 2:05 schedule but it dropped slightly in the second quarter as the leaders, now down to six men, reached half way in 1:02:34.
By the 30-kilometre point, which was reached in 1:28:42, the lead pack had halved as Kipserem, Kiptum and Ethiopia’s Dejene Debela were the only men left in contention. Debela was unable to hold on for much longer, leaving the Kenyan duo to contest for the win.
It was only in the closing stages that Kipserem was finally able to open up a gap on Kiptum, pulling ahead to win by 12 seconds in 2:04:04.
In his first race since clocking a world half marathon record of 58:18, Kiptum’s 2:04:16 clocking took 70 seconds off the PB he set at last year’s Amsterdam Marathon.
Debela was a distant third in 2:07:06 but shaved four seconds off his lifetime best.
“I feel very good and happy because I set a personal best today,” said Kipserem. “The route was perfect and it was great weather.”