DOHA — Ruth Chepngetich won the first gold medal at the 2019 IAAF World Championships after capturing the women’s marathon on the Day 1 on Friday.
The race started at 12:00 am local time because of the warm temperature, but still managed to attract a good supporting cast, which cheered on the runners as they fight the tough conditions.
Chepngetich, who started quickly and then backed off, finally broke free from a four-runner lead pack late in the race to seal her first major marathon championship title in 2hr 32min 43sec.
The third-fastest runner in history and quickest this season with the 2:17.08 performance in January this year, comfortably won ahead of Bahrain’s defending champion Rose Chelimo, who collected the silver medal in 2:33:46.
“I am very happy for the win and to bring back the gold to Kenya. It was a tough race. I knew what to expect as I ran in Dubai,” Chepngetich said. “I trained for this weather by running in the afternoon when the sun is up.
“It was not easy to run in these conditions but that gave me strength and power. I am thankful to my family, friends, coaches and supporters for years of support.
“I want to dedicate this win to my family, my daughter, my roommate and management. I want to win another for Kenya in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, Chelimo said: “It was very hot today, but I am very happy about my medal. I was not expecting to be silver medallist in those conditions.
“This marathon here was much hotter than the one I finished in Jakarta. I did well. I kept going with the best. I kept staying with them because I felt comfortable with their pace.”
Namibia’s Commonwealth champion Helalia Johannes battled her way to the bronze medal in 2:34:15, while double world champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya missed out on another podium place, finishing fourth in 2:35:36.
“I have never run at such a time and in such weather. And I also have never trained in similar conditions. Especially the humidity was tough. The course was good for me,” said Johannes.
Elsewhere, Volha Mazuronak of Belarus, the European champion ended fifth with a 2:36:21 clocking and sixth went to Roberta Groner of the United States in 2:38:44,
The top 10 was completed by Japan’s Mizuki Tanimoto in seventh with 2:39:09, North Korea’s Ji Hyang Kim (2:41:24), Lyndsay Tessier of Canada (2:42:03) and Un Ok Jo of North Korea (2:42.23).
A total of 68 starters were sent underway at midnight, but 23 of those runners were officially listed as failing to finish.