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At only twenty years old and without reference in this discipline, the Ethiopian Abeje Ayana triumphed on Sunday in the Paris marathon, while the Kenyan Helah Kiprop managed a fantastic comeback to win the women’s race.
Two surprises at the Paris marathon. Ethiopian Abeje Ayana won on Sunday April 2, a few minutes before Kenyan Helah Kiprop.
In an Ethiopian duel, Ayana dropped Guye Adola, her 12-year-old eldest, the race favorite after her victory in 2021 at the Berlin Marathon. Following a first acceleration in the climb of the last six kilometers, to which Adola responded, Ayana placed a new attack, this time sharp, almost five kilometers from the finish line. He completed the course in 2 h 07 min 15 sec, twenty seconds ahead of Adola and 25 ahead of the Kenyan Josphat Boit, third.
Ayana was running her first marathon, after two half-marathons, one in Poznan (Poland) completed in 59 min 39 sec in October 2021, and another in Cardiff finished in 1 h 00 min 17 sec last year. His first strides on a course of 42.195 kilometers propelled him to the rank of international athlete.
Kiprop in extremis
In the women’s race, victory was even more contested. A group of five women still led the way with three kilometers to go. The Kenyan Helah Kiprop was the first to let go… before coming back to finally get ahead of her competitors after an unexpected comeback, gleaning a victory thanks to the self-sacrifice that characterizes marathon runners.
Kiprop, victorious in particular in the Tokyo marathon in 2016, managed the time of 2 h 23 min 19 sec, crossing the line in the same time as the Ethiopian Atalel Anmut. Another Ethiopian, Fikrte Wereta, finished third, three seconds behind the leading duo.
In the disabled category, Briton David Weir, six-time Paralympic gold medalist, sprinted ahead of Dutchman Geert Schipper to win his second title after 2017, in 1h 34 min 23 sec.
Contested in the Parisian grayness and in conditions made difficult by the rain and the wind, the race did not allow the athletes to set new records.
Nor did it offer them the opportunity to recognize the route of the Olympic marathon, which will be held in the streets of the French capital in less than 500 days. This year’s route started from the center of Paris and then swept across the capital from East to West. The Olympic route will start at the Hôtel de Ville before plunging in the direction of Versailles (south-west) and then returning to the centre.
More than 52,000 participants were expected at this 46e edition, with 43% of distance neophytes.