This is Justin Lagat’s story on the 2022 Valencia Marathon, which had fantastically deep performances and some big surprises as well!
New stars are entering the marathon arena, bringing a new level of competition with them. The 2022 Valencia Trinidad and Alfonzo marathon saw two incredible world records for the fastest marathon debut times in both the men’s and women’s races being set.
In his debut, Kenya’s Kelvin Kiptum won the men’s marathon race in an amazing new course record of 2:01:53. Ethiopia’s Amane Beriso won the women’s race in a new course record and national record of 2:14:58 after she sprinted away from the pre-race favorite, Letesenbet Gidey in the last stages of the race. However, Gidey was rewarded with the fastest debut time of 2:16:49 after she finished second ahead of Kenya’s Sheila Chepkirui (2:17:29).
The women’s race started out a little slower than anticipated. Gidey, who led the first part of the race, was about half a minute slower than the world record schedule at 10K, where she crossed it at slightly over 32 minutes.
At 30km, the time was 1:35:24 for the two leading women, as Amane Beriso had already joined Gidey at the front.
After 35km, Beriso suddenly strode away, leaving Gidey and the pacesetters behind, and continued to extend the lead up to the finish line.
The men’s race began relatively fast. They were already inside the course record pace at 10km by 9 seconds, then were slightly off the pace by one second at 15km. But, still, there was a huge pack at the front as they approached the 30km point.
1:27:34 was the crossing time at the 30km point, where a trio of Tamirat Tola, Kelvin Kiptum, and Gabriel Geay began to break away from the rest.
Shortly after, at around the 32km point, Kiptum urged his competitors to stick behind him as he increased the pace. The first to drop was Tola, then Geay followed as they began to run in a single file, with Kiptum extending the lead at the front at a speed of 22km/hr that increased the course record safety margin to 44 seconds.
An elated Kiptum crossed the finish line and fell to the ground in what appeared to have been a mixture of exhaustion and excitement. Geay came second in 2:03:00, silhouetting the previous course record time. Alexander Motiso overtook Tola to finish third in 2:03:29.