World Championships: Mare Dibaba wins Ethiopia’s 1st women’s marathon gold

Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia crosses the finish line to win gold in the women's marathon final during Day 9 of the IAAF world track and field championships in Beijing on Sunday. It marked the first women's marathon title for Ethiopia. Dibaba finished in two hours 27 minutes 35 seconds in Beijing, but needed to pick up the pace after entering the stadium to beat two-time champion Helah Kiprop, who finished one second behind. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images for IAAF)
Mare Dibaba of Ethiopia crosses the finish line to win gold in the women’s marathon final during Day 9 of the IAAF world track and field championships in Beijing on Sunday. It marked the first women’s marathon title for Ethiopia. Dibaba finished in two hours 27 minutes 35 seconds in Beijing, but needed to pick up the pace after entering the stadium to beat two-time champion Helah Kiprop, who finished one second behind. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images for IAAF)

Mare Dibaba gets asked all the time if she’s related to Ethiopian great Tirunesh Dibaba. She’s not.

Runs a lot like her, though. Especially when a title is on the line.

Mare Dibaba captured the first women’s marathon gold for Ethiopia at the world track and field championships Sunday, holding off Helah Kiprop of Kenya in a race that was settled by a 100-metre sprint.

The 25-year-old Dibaba patiently waited for the right time to make her move, constantly checking her watch before breaking away in the shadow of the Bird’s Nest in Beijing. Dibaba finished in two hours 27 minutes 35 seconds, edging Kiprop by one second in the closest women’s marathon finish ever at the worlds. Eunice Kirwa of Bahrain earned the bronze.

“No pace is bad. When everybody goes, you go,” Dibaba said through a translator. “I had to wait for it. Finally, I kicked.”

It’s been hot and humid all week in Beijing, but turned cooler for the race. There was even cloud cover. The air quality wasn’t ideal, though, with the race starting at the “moderate” level and staying in the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” range until the finish.

Two-time champion Edna Kiplagat was in contention until the end but faded to fifth place.

Read more at: CBC.CA

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