Ethiopia’s Worknesh Alemu produced an outstanding performance in hot conditions to triumph at the Mumbai Marathon on Sunday, winning at the IAAF Gold Label road race in 2:25:45.
With temperatures higher than expected and reaching 23 degrees celsius when the gun went, the leading women started with a flourish and the sizeable leading pack with their male pacemakers went through 10 kilometres in 34:28 and 20 kilometres in 1:08:42.
Four women – Alemu and her Ethiopian compatriots: pre-race favourite Amane Gobena, Birke Debele and Mergetu Alemu – were still in contention at 30 kilometres which was passed in 1:43:14, still giving hope that the course record of 2:24:33 set by Kenya’s Valentine Kipketer in 2013 could be challenged.
Mergetu Alemu soon dropped off the pace and a couple of kilometres down the road so too did Debele, but Gobena doggedly held on for two kilometres more until Worknesh Alemu made a second and decisive surge just before 35 kilometres.
Alemu shook off Gobena but given the credentials of her rival and the intensity of the conditions, with temperatures by now having risen to 26 degrees, nothing was certain.
But Alemu maintained her focus to clock an impressive personal best of 2:25:45 and finish 24 seconds ahead of the defending champion, who finished second in 2:26:09, despite suffering from stomach problems over the final 10 kilometres.
Debele hung on for third in 2:26:39 as Ethiopian runners filled the first seven slots.
1 Worknesh Alemu (ETH) 2:25:45
2 Amane Gobena (ETH) 2:26:09
3 Birke Debele (ETH) 2:26:39
4 Mergertu Alemu (ETH) 2:31:00
5 Almaz Negede (ETH) 2:31:45
6 Melesech Tsegaye (ETH) 2:32:45
7 Zinash Gerado (ETH) 2:34:32
8 Sudha Singh (IND) 2:34:56
Source: ANA|COMPATRIOT MAGAZINE