Ethiopian runners dominate 2024 Xiamen Marathon, winning both men’s and women’s titles; Kenyan athlete secures second place in tight race.
Kenyan long-distance runner Felix Kiptoo Kirwa clinched the second spot in the prestigious 2024 Xiamen Marathon on Sunday morning.
Ethiopian athletes dominated the event, with Asefa Boki Kebebe securing the men’s title and Bekelech Gudeta Borecha bagging the women’s gold.
Daniel Simiu has promised fireworks this season after opening his campaign with a solid win at the Campaccio Cross-country in Italy.
Kebebe’s remarkable performance was highlighted by his finishing time of two hours, six minutes, and 46 seconds, narrowly edging out Kirwa, who crossed the line in 2:06:52.
Othmane El Goumri from Morocco rounded out the men’s podium, securing the bronze with a time of 2:07:18.
Kenyan marathoners faced a tough challenge in Dubai, trailing behind dominant Ethiopians despite high expectations and strong preparation.
Reflecting on the race, Kirwa expressed both satisfaction and recognition of the day’s challenges.
“The race is good, but the wind in the race is strong today. It’s a tough race, and I made it,” Kirwa stated.
The women’s race was equally thrilling, with Borecha crossing the finish line in an impressive 2:22:54.
She was followed by Fatima Ezzahra Gardadi of Morocco, who clocked in at 2:24:12, and China’s Zhang Deshun, who secured the bronze with a time of 2:26:53.
Zhang’s accomplishment held a special significance, as she expressed her renewed confidence and future aspirations.
“I’m so happy to get the bronze medal. It gives me more confidence. In the following months, I will take efforts to prepare for the Olympics,” said Zhang.
The 2024 Xiamen Marathon, a fixture in China’s marathon calendar, continued to attract widespread attention and participation.
Defending champion Philimon Kiptoo Kipchumba will be out to defend his Xiamen Marathon title as he is up against a strong field.
With 30,000 contestants, the event not only highlighted the sport’s growing popularity but also its competitive spirit.
Since gaining the World Athletics Elite Platinum Label in 2021, the Xiamen Marathon has firmly established itself as a premier event in the global marathon circuit, second only to the Shanghai Marathon within China in terms of prestige and recognition.