By Amy Tennery
EUGENE, Ore. (Reuters) -Ethiopian Gotytom Gebreslase survived a two-way battle with Kenyan Judith Korir to win the women’s marathon title in a world championship-record time on Monday.
Gebreslase broke away with about two kilometres to go and never gave Korir a chance down the final stretch to cross finishing line two hours, 18 minutes and 11 seconds, smashing Briton Paula Radcliffe’s previous mark of 2:20:57 set in 2005.
“I am very happy and I want to give all the glory to God,” said Gebreslase, who picked up the first major title of her career in Berlin last year.
“The Kenyan runner asked me to pass her but I stayed patient. Towards 40km, I felt strong and decided to leave.”
It was Ethiopia’s second marathon triumph in Eugene, Oregon after Tamirat Tola won the men’s title in another championship record 2:05:36.
“Tola’s win yesterday motivated me a lot today,” said Gebreslase.
Korir, who produced the fastest time of her career, said she was frustrated that Gebreslase did not want to pace with her after they pulled away around the 27-km mark but was nonetheless pleased with her performance.
“The Ethiopian runners are very fast. It not easy to run with them, but I tried my best,” she said.
The field produced a speedy start at 6.15 am local time, benefiting from sunny but pristine conditions, with temperatures hovering above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10C).
Israeli Lonah Salpeter seized a chance to secure third spot on the podium after Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh fell off the leading pack and dropped out with less than 10 km to go.
Salpeter told reporters she was thrilled with the bronze after less-than-ideal preparation.
“I remained patient after the ladies pushed early in the race, no matter (how) the race would unfold,” she said.
“Today, it was really a fantastic achievement. The marathon starts at 30km.”
Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich, who won three years ago, dropped out at around the 18-kilometre mark due to stomach issues.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in Eugene, Oregon; Editing by Hugh Lawson)