Beirut, Lebanon: Tigist Girma of Ethiopia won the Blom Bank Beirut Marathon here today.
The second and third place finishers were also from Ethiopia.
Girma finished in 2:32:48 to claim her first ever marathon victory – she was seventh in Lanzhou in June and second at this year’s Marrakech Marathon. Despite the heat and the fact this was her third marathon of 2016, her time was a personal best.
“I am very, very happy that I won this marathon; the Beirut marathon is good for me,” she said with a smile. “The pacemaker ran well until his legs hurt and he dropped back.
“I trained very hard in preparation for this race. My coach is Haji Adilo and I train with his group with runners like Mare Dibaba, Amane Gobena and Tirunesh Dibaba. I am very, very happy.”
A broad grin creased her face when she was asked if she had expected to win in Beirut. Both she and the men’s category winner Edwin Kibet Kiptoo of Kenya will receive US$10,000 for their respective victories.
A crowd of Ethiopians, resplendent in their national colours and waving the country’s flag, were conspicuous at the finish. They had further reason to celebrate. Their compatriots Seada Kedir, who won in Beirut in both 2011 and 2012, and Alemenesh Guta rounded out the top three. Kedir finished in 2:34:12 with Guta crossing the line in 2:37:23.
More than 43,000 runners of all ages took to the streets for a variety of events from a 1km children’s run to the full marathon. IAAF President Sebastian Coe boldly took part in the 7km fun run along with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
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