Tigst Assefa, from 800 meters to setting surprising new women’s world record at Berlin Marathon

Ethiopia’s Tigst Assefa broke the women’s marathon world record at the Berlin Marathon by more than two minutes. According to Africa News, the 29-year-old completed the race in 2 hours, 11 minutes, and 53 seconds to break the current women’s record of 2 hours, 14 minutes, and 4 seconds set in 2019 by Brigid Kosgei from Kenya at the Chicago Marathon.

Coming in second was Kenya’s Sheila Chepkirui, who finished in 2 hours, 17 minutes, and 49 seconds. Tanzania’s Magdalena Shauri came in third with 2 hours, 18 minutes, and 41 seconds.

The athlete fell to her knees when she crossed the finish line. With her hands raised, she celebrated her victory with Ethiopia’s national flag.

“I wanted to break the marathon world record, but I couldn’t imagine that it would result in a time under 2:12,” Assefa remarked, according to AFP. “I am very happy.”

According to her, she held back in the first half of the race “so that I wouldn’t be tired in the second half… In the second part, I could bring a lot more power into it.”

At a point in her life, Assefa specialized in shorter events on the track. She also competed in the 800-meter heats at the 2016 Olympics, but after switching to road running, she has been more successful in her career.

In March 2022, she competed in her first marathon in Riyadh before winning in Berlin in a course-record time of 2 hours, 15 minutes, and 37 seconds just last year.

“This victory shows me that hard training and good preparation prove their worth. And for Ethiopia as a country, it will probably be a big boost for men and women with the Olympics,” she said during a press conference.

Assefa expressed that she hoped her victory would “motivate many talented women, not only those on a high level but those who may be lower down to rise up.”

Meanwhile, the Kenyan runner Kipchoge, remained undefeated as he finished first for the fifth time in 2 hours: 02minutes: 42seconds.

Photo Credit: Instagram, Kipchoge

World Athletics noted that the two-time Olympic champion ultimately won by 31 seconds.

Dollita Okine

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