Tigist Tufa and Stephen Mokoka smash course records at the 19th Shanghai Marathon

Tigist Tufa and Stephen Mokoka smash course records at the 19th Shanghai Marathon Tigist Tufa and Stephen Mokoka smash course records at the 19th Shanghai Marathon

Stephen Mokoka from South Africa retained his title at the 19th Shanghai Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, while Tigist Tufa from Ethiopia made a step-up into world class territory with a 2:21:52 PB in the women’s race on Sunday .

Introduced in 1996, the marathon used to be held in early December but the organisers moved the race back by a month to let the runners enjoy a cleaner climate, as the air traditionally becomes more polluted in December.

The elites seemed to benefit from the change in calendar as well. In the women’s race, the New York-based Tufa lowered her lifetime best from 2:24:31 to 2:21:52 for the biggest win of her career to date.

Tufa, who also won the Ottawa Marathon in May, first came to note at this stage last year. She led the New York Marathon into the second-half but the 27-year-old faded in the final ten miles and finished eighth in 2:29:24.

The Ethiopian, whose older sister Mestawat has a 2:26:20 marathon PB, lasted the distance this time. She crossed the finish-line in 2:21:52 to move up to eighth on the 2014 world rankings.

Caroline Kilel from Kenya was an isolated second in 2:25:22 while Misiker Mekonnen from Ethiopia took third in 2:29:03.

Pre-race favourites Mamitu Daska and Atsede Baysa from Ethiopia were fourth and fifth in 2:29:35 and 2:31:44 respectively.

In the men’s race, Mokoka became the second runner to successfully defend his title in Shanghai. He also became the first runner to break the 2:09-barrier with a winning time of 2:08:43.

While the best part of eight minutes separated the top-three in the women’s race, only 13 seconds separated the podium finishers in the men’s race.

Former world junior 5000m champion Abraham Cherkos from Ethiopia finished second in 2:08:47 with Stephen Chemlany from Kenya third in 2:08:56.

The Shanghai Marathon is one of four Chinese races with IAAF Gold Label status which attracts about 25,000 runners per year.

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