BERLIN (Sept. 22) – Ethiopian runner Tigst Assefa returns to the 2023 BMW Berlin Marathon this weekend, aiming to defend her title against a strong field of competitors, including Kenya’s Sheila Chepkirui.
Tigst Assefa’s Remarkable 2022 Performance
Last year, Tigist Assefa clocked an astonishing 2:15:37, the third-fastest time in the history of women’s marathon running. Her performance was overshadowed by Eliud Kipchoge’s men’s world record on the same day.
Assefa’s time was a significant improvement from her previous marathon time of 2:34, achieved earlier in 2022 in Riyadh.
Assefa’s Berlin performance was particularly noteworthy given her range. She is the only woman to break sub-two minutes for the 800m and sub-2:20 for the marathon.
Under the guidance of coach Gemedu Dedefo and agent Gianni Demadonna, Assefa transitioned from track to road racing, following a period of limited racing due to the pandemic, this according to Runner’s World.
Challengers in the Field
Sheila Chepkirui of Kenya poses a significant threat, having set a course record of 65:02 in the 2022 Berlin Half Marathon. She also clocked 2:17:29 in Valencia and 2:18:51 in London.
Other contenders include Ethiopians Tigist Abayechew and Hiwot Gebrekidan, who finished third and second respectively in Berlin last year.
Ethiopians have held the women’s title for the last three editions of the Berlin Marathon, and Assefa aims to extend that streak.
However, she will face stiff competition and can no longer fly under the radar.
The BMW Berlin Marathon is one of the most anticipated races every year and the fans are expected to come out in their numbers in support of the runners as they battle each other on the road this weekend.
World record holder Eliud Kipchoge heads the men’s elite race start list and he is aiming to because the first man to win five Berlin Marathon titles.