EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Gotytom Gebreslase of Ethiopia patiently tucked behind her Kenyan rival until late in the race before surging ahead and sprinting to the win in the women’s marathon at the world championships on Monday.
Gebreslase’s finished the fast and flat course in a championship-record time of 2 hours, 18 minutes, 11 seconds. She held off Judith Jeptum Korir, who did most of the work late in the race, by nine seconds.
Lonah Chemtai Salpeter, the Kenyan-born runner who represents Israel, earned the bronze medal. Sara Hall led a strong showing by the Americans with a fifth-place finish.
It’s now back-to-back wins for Ethiopia in the world marathon on the streets of Eugene and Springfield. Tamirat Tola won the day before in a championship-record time as well.
Korir and Gebreslase pulled away from the field around the 17-mile mark (27 kilometers) and soon after stretched the gap to nearly a minute. Korir appeared to grow more and more agitated as she did most of the work with Gebreslase content to tuck in behind her. Korir kept motioning for Gebreslase to help set the blistering pace.
The Ethiopian runner stayed put until a downhill section with about six minutes remaining in the race. She quickly surged ahead and sped away.
On a crisp 50-degree Fahrenheit (10 Celsius) morning, Gebreslase broke the championship record of 2:20:57 set by Paula Radcliffe of Britain in 2005.
The lead pack took off quickly and left many in the 40-runner field behind early on. The race changed complexion around the 121-mile mark (19 kilometers) when defending champion Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya dropped back and soon after dropped out.
The 39-year-old Hall got stronger and stronger throughout the race to finish in 2:22:10. Emma Bates took seventh, while American women’s marathon record holder and real-estate agent Keira D’Amato was eighth.
D’Amato was a late replacement for Molly Seidel, who captured a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics last summer. Seidel recently posted on Instagram she was focusing on her mental health and healing her hip.
Joan Benoit Samuelson, the 1984 Olympic marathon winner, started the field on their way along along the three-loop course that proved to be extremely fast. The racers cruised through a scenic route that crossed over the Willamette River and by Pre’s Trail, a bark running trail that honors University of Oregon track and field icon Steve Prefontaine.
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