TSX REPORT: Gebreslase completes Ethiopian Worlds marathon sweep in record 2:18:11; three Americans in the top eight!

Kenya's Ruth Chepngetich was the favorite at the start of the women's marathon, but Gotytom Gebreslase of Ethiopia won it, in Eugene this morning.

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Session 7 ~ Monday, 18 July 2022

● Women/Marathon ● Los Angeles 1984 Olympic winner and road-running icon Joan Benoit Samuelson (USA) was the starter for the 40 women who began World Championships marathon from Oregon’s Autzen Stadium at 6:15 a.m. on Monday.

The race broke apart from the start, with defending champion Ruth Chepngetich and her Kenyan teammates pushing a hot, 2:17 pace that saw a lead group of 11 at 3 km and just eight by the 5 km mark. They maintained a lead of 30 seconds through the first 10 km, but eased off the pace and a chase pack of six that included all three Americans – Keira D’Amato, Sara Hall and Emma Bates – closed to 11 seconds back by the 14 km point, the end of the first loop.

The leaders pushed again and was ahead by 33 seconds by 17 km and then the race broke apart after 18 km, with Angela Tanui (KEN: 2021 Amsterdam Marathon winner), Judith Korir (KEN: 2022 Paris winner), Ababel Yeshaneh (ETH: 2022 Boston runner-up) and Gotytom Gebreslase (ETH: 2021 Berlin winner) moving ahead, with Chepngetich leaving the course and dropping out, and Nazret Weldu (ERI), Lonah Salpeter (ISR) and Ashete Bekere (ETH) dropping back.

Tanui fell back a bit and was down three seconds at 20 km, and the top three charged ahead; the second chase group with the three Americans and Britain’s Sara Piasecki 66 seconds further behind.

The lead trio passed the half at 69:01, with the second group 20 seconds behind and the Americans and Piasecki 1:16 behind. The leaders backed off slightly and Tanui joined the group at 23 km. Korir pushed the pace again and dropped Tanui after 26 km, and Korir and Gebreslase dropped Yeshaneh – gritting her teeth and rubbing her right side – at 27 km. At the end of the second loop, Korir and Gebreslase had a six-second lead on Yeshaneh, with Tanui 12 seconds back. Hall was the top American, running alone, 1:45 behind the leaders, in eighth.

Tanui caught Yeshaneh by 30 km in the race for the bronze, but still 37 seconds behind the leaders. The conditions were good: although sunny, the temperature was only 53 degrees on the final loop. Salpeter and Weldu were 21 seconds behind Tanui and Yeshaneh in fifth and sixth, but caught both by 35 km, with Tanui falling back and Yeshaneh dropping out with cramps.

Salpeter pushed ahead of Weldu after 39 km and ran away in the race for third, then Gebreslase made her move at the front to drop Korir just before 40 km. The surge was decisive and the race for gold was determined with Gebreslase, 27, winning her second marathon in three career races in 2:18:11, destroying the Championships record of 2:20:57 by British legend Paula Radcliffe from 2005.

Korir was a clear second in a lifetime best of 2:18:20, and Salpeter won Israel’s second-ever World Championships medal (in any event) in 2:20:18, with Weldu fourth in 2:20:29. Hall caught Tanui for fifth in 2:22:10, then Bates and D’Amato finished in 2:23:18 (lifetime best) and 2:23:34 in seventh and eighth; three in the top eight is an outstanding showing for the U.S.

Ethiopia swept the Worlds marathons with Tamirat Tola and Gebreslase; Gebreslase is the first Ethiopian Worlds women’s winner since Mare Dibaba in 2015 and only the second ever.

● Women/Heptathlon ● Day two began with the long jump, with Olympic champ Nafi Thiam (BEL) extending her lead, jumping 6.59 m (21-7 1/2) to lead the field. Dutch star Anouk Vetter, second overall, got a lifetime best of 6.52 m (21-4 3/4) in third and American Anna Hall was fifth at 6.39 m (20-11 3/4). Poland’s Adrianna Sulek passed Hall for third overall, 4,967-4,963.

The first javelin group saw Hall get a lifetime best of 45.75 m (150-1) to pass Sulek (41.63 m/136-7) for third going into the 800 m. Vetter led the second group and took the overall lead with a 58.29 m (191-3) toss, with Thiam reaching 53.01 m (173-11). Thus, Vetter stands with 6,045 points to 6,026 for Thiam with the 800 m remaining; Hall has 5,741 to 5,666 for Sulek and 5,606 for Swiss Annik Kalin.

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