Shume Hailu and Geda Ayelu Lemma made it a double Ethiopian win at the 20thÂ edition of the ACEA Maratona di Roma, anÂ IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Sunday (23).
Rain and wind certainly affected the winning times. Hailu managed to dip under 2:10 with 2:09:47, missing his personal best of 2:09:06 set in Barcelona in 2010 by 41 seconds, while Lemma clocked 2:34:49 on a very slippery course.
Although the race only started in 1982, and was not held in the years between 1992 and 1994, Ethiopian runners and marathons in the Italian capital have been inexorably linked since Abebe Bikila won at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome
â€œI wanted to run my personal best but the course was too slipperyâ€, said Hailu, who hails from a small village about 25km from Addis Abeba.
Hailu is trained by Haji Adilo, who coaches many well-known Ethiopian athletes including Firehiwot Dado, who won the womenâ€™s race three times in the Eternal City and went on to take the honours in New York.
Adilo also coaches runners-up Jisa who was a handball player at school before starting his running career in 2002 at the age of 19. He acted as a pacemaker last September in Berlin when Wilson Kipsang set the world record of 2:03.23.
Read more at: IAAF