Assefa

Tigist Assefa kneeled down in celebration at the Berlin Marathon after she ran a phenomenal time of 2:11:53, breaking Brigid Kosgei’s previous world record that was set in 2019.

The Ethiopian runner’s victory at the marathon was hardly an overnight success, as it came with years of training and hardships. Assefa was a former 800-meter specialist, and she snagged her first bronze and silver medals at the 2013 African Junior Championships. In the years that followed, Assefa continued her pursuit of excellence in the 800 meters and was met with a number of wins and losses. Her most notable setback came at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, when she clocked 2:00.21 but was unable to qualify after the first round (heat 5).

Assefa devoted years to competing on the track, but in 2016, after sustaining an Achilles tendon injury that thwarted her from training in spikes, she gave up on middle-distance running. This happenstance forced her to rest for two years.

In 2018, the public saw her once again, but this time, she was taking part in her first-ever road race, a 10-kilometer race in Dubai. And four years later, Assefa debuted on the marathon scene, taking part in the 2022 Riyadh Marathon, where she placed seventh.

Later that year, Assefa participated in her second marathon, the Berlin Marathon, and shook the entire world when she clinched first as she ran an impressive time of 2:15:37—which was recorded as the third-fastest time in history.

2023 Berlin Marathon and Assefa

Her transitioning from the 800 meters to the marathon because of an injury might have been, at the time, seen as a misfortune. But, fast forward to the future, this proved to be a ‘blessing in disguise’ for Assefa, as she now reigns as the world record holder for the marathon.

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Assefa completed the Berlin Marathon on September 24 in just 2:11:53, brushing past Brigid Kosgei’s previous world record of 2:14:04.

According to CNN Sports, Assefa surged ahead of her rivals at the half-way mark and was running solo near the end of the race.

Assefa clocked 2:11:53 when she reached the finish line, and this was followed nearly six minutes later by Sheila Chepkirui, who placed second with a time of 2:17:49. Trailing closely behind Chepkirui, Magdalena Shauri finished third with a time of 2:18:41.

This marks her second consecutive title at the prestigious competition and her first world record.

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