Almaz Ayana, Genzebe Dibaba set marathon debuts

·1 min read
Almaz Ayana
Almaz Ayana

Ethiopians Almaz Ayana, the 2016 Olympic 10,000m champion, and Genzebe Dibaba, the 1500m world record holder, will make their marathon debuts in Amsterdam on Oct. 16.

Ayana, 30, shattered the 10,000m world record by 14.33 seconds in one of the astonishing performances of the Rio Games. Since, that record has been lowered by another 16.42 seconds and is now held by another Ethiopian, Letesenbet Gidey.

Ayana returned to competition this year, nearly three years (and a childbirth) since her last track race.

Ayana was third in the Great North Run half marathon on Sunday in 1:07:10, seconds behind Kenyans Hellen Obiri (the two-time Olympic 5000m silver medalist who makes her marathon debut in New York City on Nov. 6) and Peres Jepchirchir (reigning Olympic, New York City and Boston marathon champion).

Dibaba, 31, follows older sisters and fellow Olympic medalists Tirunesh and Ejegayehu into the marathon. Her 1500m world record (3:50.07) from 2015 still stands, though Kenyan Faith Kipyegon ran the second-fastest time in history (3:50.37) on Aug. 10.

Dibaba missed the 2019 World Championships (right foot injury) and Tokyo Olympics (didn’t race at Ethiopian trials). In between, on Dec. 6, 2020, she ran the then-fastest fastest-ever debut half marathon for a woman (1:05:18). Her next, and most recent, half marathon was on Feb. 19 in Dubai, where she did not finish.

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