Ethiopian wins Beijing Marathon

By Lu Wenao Source:Global Times Published: 2018/9/16 21:13:39

Fastest Chinese man Li Zicheng crosses finish line at 4th

Ethiopia's Dejene Debela Gonfa crosses the finish line first with a time of 2 hours, 12 minutes and 8 seconds in the 2018 Beijing Marathon on Sunday. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Dejene Debela Gonfa of Ethiopia won the 2018 Beijing Marathon on Sunday with a time of 2 hours, 12 minutes and 8 seconds, but it was not fast enough to earn a $40,000 bonus from organizers for finishing below 2 hours 9 minutes.

The result was also far off the course record of 2:07:16 set by compatriot Tadese Tola in 2013, let alone the new world record set by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge in Berlin with 2:01:39 on Sunday.

China's Li Zicheng defended his title of top domestic runner as he clocked 2:15:53 in China's flagship race.

His result saw him finishing fourth in the general rankings. The result was faster than compatriot Duo Bujie's bronze-medal finish of 2:18:48 at the Asian Games earlier this month.

"The time difference is due to the race conditions and the course," Li told reporters after finishing. "Based on my recent training, my goal for today was 2 hours and 13-15 minutes, and so I'm happy about what I did today."

Speaking of his fourth-place finish in the 42.195-kilometer race, Li vowed to achieve a podium finish at an international marathon. "My dream is to have a podium finish… I missed it today so I will work on achieving that," he said.

China's Xu Wang ranked seventh with 2:17:19 and Yang Dinghong eighth with 2:18:36.

In the women's race, Kenya's Vallarta Jemeli Aiyabei finished first with 2:21:38 on her debut at the Beijing Marathon while He Yinli was the fastest Chinese woman at 2:31:45.

The flagship race course passes landmarks such as ­Tiananmen Square, the Military Museum and Bird's Nest.

Some 30,000 of 111,793 applicants ran, compared to 66,576 applicants in 2016. Organizers provided a massage zone for runners after the finish line.

"Marathon means pushing for personal limit, which is exhausting both physically and mentally," a runner surnamed Zhao said. "But having a massage after the race is very relieving."

Marathons have been springing up across the country, with more than 1,100 races in 2017, according to figures released by the Chinese Athletics Association.


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