Valencia Half Marathon: Gudeta leads Ethiopian clean sweep

Netsanet Gudeta winning the Valencia Half Marathon (credit:
Netsanet Gudeta winning the Valencia Half Marathon (credit:

Valencia, Spain – Ethiopia’s Netsanet Gudeta smashed the Medio Maraton de Valencia Trinidad Alfonso course record by 31 seconds to clock a career best of 1:07:30 here today.

With the victory, Gudeta moved to eighth on this year’s world list.

In the men’s race, pre-event favourite Abraham Cheroben of Kenya successfully defended his title clocking 59:10 to run a world-leading performance for the second year in a row.

World cross-country bronze medallist Netsanet Gudeta was something of a surprising winner of the women’s race as she wasn’t the fastest in the field, but the 24-year-old showed impressive form to knock more than a minute from her PB and lead an Ethiopian 1-2-3.

The early pace was frantic, as the top women were timed at 15:32 for the first 5km. The rhythm settled down slightly and they passed through the 10km point in 31:32; by then the group was compounded by the Ethiopian trio of Gudeta, pre-race favourite Worknesh Debele and Genet Yalew Kassahun plus Kenya’s Rose Chelimo.

Having passed 15km in 47:27, Gudeta built a significant lead during the final quarter of the race and with 5km to go it became clear that she would be the eventual victor.

She romped home in 1:07:30 to break Emily’s Chebet course record of 68:01 set last year, a time also bettered by runner-up Debele, who clocked 1:07:51. Kassahun finished third in 1:08:12.

The course record wasn’t the only bit of history that Gudeta made. She became the first Ethiopian athlete to win in Valencia since it moved from a 20km to a half marathon in 2006.

A record figure of 10,884 athletes finished the event which took in Valencia’s historic city centre and the port area by the Mediterranean.