Ethiopian Athletes Dominate 25th Rome Marathon

Tebalu Zawude Heyi

ROME, April 7  — Ethiopian runners swept the top-3 places at the 25th Rome Marathon in both men’s and women’s events, with the woman’s winner Kebede Alemu setting a course record despite rainy weather at the start on Sunday.

Alemu won a comfortable victory, finishing nearly four minutes ahead of teammate Chekol Tsega in two hours 22 minutes and 52 seconds. Third placer Chawo Negesse was a further four minutes behind Tsega.

Alemu’s time was one second better than the course record set by Russian Galina Bogomolova in 2008 under better weather conditions.

In the men’s event, Tebalu Zawude Heyi finished first in 2:08:37, 40 seconds ahead of second-placed Tesfa Workneh. Adana Amsalu was third in 2:09:53. Heyi’s winning time was the slowest in Rome since 2015, and well off the course record of 2:07:17 set in 2009.

More than 10,000 runners participated in the event, which started and finished at Rome’s Colosseum. Among them, around 70 percent were Italians, organizers said, with the nearly 3,000 foreign runners representing 88 countries and regions.

Ethiopia’s domination of the race, especially in the women’s division, is not new. Alemu became the sixth consecutive Ethiopian winner of the race and the ninth in 11 years. Heyi, meanwhile, was the sixth Ethiopian man to win the race in the last decade.

All told, African men have won the last 14 Rome marathons while African women have won the last 11 races. No Italian has won either division since Alberico Di Cecco won the men’s race in 2005.

The top local finisher was Morocco-born naturalized Italian Ahmed Nasef, who finished in 2:16:57, a little more than eight minutes behind the winner. Francesco Bona, from Biella, Italy, was the second Italian, finishing in 2:18:29.

Source: Xinhua