Frankfurt, Germany – Sisay Lemma and Gulume Tollesa became the first Ethiopian duo to win both the men’s and women’s races at the Frankfurt Marathon when they triumphed at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race here on Sunday.
In a thrilling finish, three men entered the final kilometre together but Lemma then had enough in reserve to pull away from his Kenyan rivals Lani Rutto and Alfers Lagat and win in 2:06:26, improving his best by 40 seconds. Rutto and Lagat were second and third in PBs of 2:06:34 and 2:06:48 respectively.
The finish in the women’s race was even closer as Tollesa beat compatriot Dinkinesh Mekash in a sprint finish to win in a huge PB of 2:23:12. Mekash was given the same time in second place.
However, the biggest cheers of the day were reserved for the man who finished fourth, Germany’s Arne Gabius.
“I am very happy with the win, but I really wanted to run a time of 2:05,” said Lemma, the first Ethiopian man to win in Frankfurt.
Tollesa leads Ethiopian sweep
Gulume Tollesa emerged as a surprise winner of the women’s title in 2:23:12 as Ethiopian runners swept the podium places.
Tollesa ran a personal best by more than six minutes to beat Dinkinesh Mekash in a sprint to the line in Frankfurt’s Festhalle.
Mekash was credited with the same time while their compatriot Koren Jelela continued her return after maternity with a fine third place in 2:23:52.
The three Ethiopians ran together after leaving the rest of their rivals behind just after 30km, which was passed in 1:41:36. Jelela then drifted out of contention for the victory a little under two kilometres from home.
“I thought I could finish among the first three since my training had gone very well,” said Tollesa. “But I never dreamed I would win.”
1. Sisay Lemma ETH 2:06:26
2. Lani Rutto KEN 2:06:34
3. Alfers Lagat KEN 2:06:48
4. Arne Gabius GER 2:08:33
5. Suleiman Simotwo KEN 2:08:49
6. John Kemboi Cheruiyot KEN 2:08:56
7. Estifanos Tewelde ERI 2:09:16
8. Raymond Chemungor KEN 2:10:06
9. Henry Chirchir KEN 2:10:22
10. Micah Kogo KEN 2:10:24
1. Gulume Tollesa Chala ETH 2:23:12
2. Dinknesh Mekash Tefera ETH 2:23:12
3. Koren Jelela Yal ETH 2:23:52
4. Sardana Trofimova RUS 2:24:38
5. Meseret Tolwak ETH 2:27:17
6. Lisa Hahner GER 2:28:39
7. Meseret Mengistu Biru ETH 2:28:58
8. Agnes Mutune KEN 2:30:13
9. Risper Gesabwa KEN 2:30:49
10. Andrea Mayr AUT 2:33:28