NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 27 – Valary Aiyabei lived up to expectations at the 2019 Frankfurt Marathon, returning an amazing time of 2 Hours, 19 Minutes, 09 Seconds to become the first woman to break sub 2:20 in the race on Sunday.
The Kenyan set off at 2:12 pace and inevitably slowed but she still managed to floor Ethiopians and reclaim the title for Kenya in the women’s race that was last won by Vivian Cheruiyot in 2017.
It is also the fifth fastest time this year in the world. The second was Ethiopian Megertu Kebede in 2:21:10 while compatriot and defending champion Meskerem Assefa (Ethiopia) came in third clocking 2:22:11.
“The goal was to lower my personal best,” said Aiyabei, who had come up with a best time of 2:20:53. Despite their furious beginning, attacking the world record was not an issue for them. “It’s not easy to walk alone. I had to fight through it.”
The 28-year-old Aiyabei provided a breathtaking pace from the start, always well ahead of her rivals.
In the first 10 kilometers, Aiyabei put in 31:44 minutes and thus significantly below world record speed. Although her husband and pacemaker Kenneth Tarus got off the stomach after just 15 kilometers, she made a terrific race on the Frankfurt track.
At the half marathon she passed after 67:42 minutes. Aiyabei had to put up with the pace a bit, but was able to pull through her race well and realize in 2:19:10 hours, the first Frankfurt women’s time under 2:20. The course record of 2:20:36, which this year’s third Meskerem Assefa had achieved in the previous year, improved it by 1:26 minutes.
Behind the winner ran with respect distance a high-class group, which aimed for a long time also for a result under 2:20 hours.
In the end, the Ethiopian Megertu Kebede took second place in a personal best of 2:21:10. The defending champion and last year’s winner Assefa crashed a few meters before the finish on the red carpet and was in 2:22:14 third ahead of the 10,000-meter European champion Lonah Salpeter (Israel) in 2:23:11.
With these outstanding results, the Frankfurt race improved by one place in seventh place in the list of the fastest women’s city marathon races (average of the fastest ten times).