Sisay Lemma, an Ethiopian long-distance runner, proved his mettle once more by winning the 42nd Valencia Marathon and shattering Kelvin Kiptum’s race record by five seconds.

Lemma continues to dominate marathon scene

It was only in October of this year that Lemma clinched the first ever title at the inaugural Runkara Half-Marathon in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, with an astounding record of 61 minutes and 9 seconds, edging past Chimdessa Debele and Vincent Nyageo.

Just a few months after this success, Lemma ran another marathon, this time a full one, in the Spanish city of Valencia. Kelvin Kiptum, the world record-holding Kenyan runner, had set the previous course record in 2022, when he stormed to victory and got to the finish line in just 2:01:53.

But Lemma, who is just as formidable on his own turf, was able to break that record.

Valencia, the Spanish city also known as ‘ciudad del running’, greeted the marathoners with fine weather. The conditions were ideal for running, and taking advantage of this, the pacemakers quickly got to work as they ran ahead of the rest of the pack and covered the first five kilometers in a mere time of 14:28.

For the next several kilometers, they ran at the same brisk tempo, during which Lemma, Tanzania’s Gabriel Geay, Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie and Alexander Mutiso, Ethiopia’s Dawit Wolde and Chalu Deso alongside Cheptegei, were recognized as the race’s seven leaders.

Lemma, Geat, Deso, and Wolde were still pushing ahead at 1:08, with Kandie, Mutiso, and Cheptegei far behind.

Approximately thirty kilometers into the race, Kandie, Lemma, and Wolde had now separated themselves from the other four competitors. 

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The decisive moment occurred at 1:42 of the race when Lemma started to pull away from the pack and gradually create a sizable lead over Wolde and Kandie.

In the final stretch, Lemma continued to surge ahead and reached the 40th kilometer in 1:55:12. 

Determined to hold onto his lead, he then charged the final two and a half kilometers at an incredible pace, finishing in 2:01:48, beating Kiptum’s record by five seconds and climbing to fourth place in the men’s global all-time list.

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