Athletics News

Lemi Berhanu Hayle turns back the clock to triumph in Prague

Lemi Berhanu Hayle turns back the clock to triumph in Prague

The 2016 Boston Marathon winner claims victory in Czech capital, while Bedatu Hirpa makes it a double Ethiopian win

Lemi Berhanu Hayle turned back the clock to win the Prague International Marathon.

The 29-year-old Ethiopian had a meteoric rise in the sport eight years ago, after recording a personal best of 2:04:33 in Dubai, triumphing at the Boston Marathon and then representing his country over the marathon at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Hayle, who also finished fourth at the 2019 New York Marathon, clocked 2:08:44 in the Czech capital and won by one minute and 44 seconds.

Part of a leading pack of seven athletes, Hayle went through 10km in 29:50 and then half-way in 63:19. It was after this that the Ethiopian made his move and by 30km had dropped his rivals, including Kenyan Kiprono Kipkemboi.

There was no way back for them. Hayle ploughed on and arms aloft in Prague’s Old Town Square, recorded a 2:08:44 run.

In doing so, Hayle maintained his 100% record over 26.2 miles this season, after victory at the Mumbai Marathon on January 21.

Bedatu Hirpa made it an Ethopian double in the Czech capital.

Bedatu Hirpa (RunCzech)

A fifth placer from the 2019 Tokyo Marathon, Hirpa is a marathon specialist and went into Prague with a win at the Riyadh Marathon on February 10.

She has a track background though and in 2015 was the world U18 15000m champion nine years ago.

The 25-year-old went through 10km in a leading group of four athletes in 33:39. That was down to three at the half-way stage as Hirpa, Dorcas Tuitoek and Shewarge Alene recorded a mark of 71:52, with the trio battling it out for the lead.

Similarly in the men’s race, Hirpa made her move around the 30km mark. She’d established a nine second gap before extending it to 39 seconds at 35km.

By the time that Hirpa had entered the Old Town Square, victory was a foregone conclusion and she won by one minute and nine seconds.

Both Hayle and Hirpa were presented with their trophies on a picturesque podium in front of Prague’s National Gallery.

Due to wind impacting athletes as they ran down past the river Vltava, the course records of Alexander Mutiso (2:05:09 – 2023) and Lonah Salpeter (2:19:46 – 2019) weren’t threatened.

The Prague…

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