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Fast rising Ethiopian marathon star Tariku Jifar won the 32nd Beijing Marathon despite the below zero freezing weather. Jia Chaofeng led an all-Chinese contingent to win the women’s version, now in its 21st consecutive year.
In the freezing conditions where even spectators turned out in small numbers, Kenyan Emmanuel Samal took the lead early, from the start up to the half distance mark when his compatriot, Eluid Kiptanui, the 2010 World championships number six with the fastest personal best of 2:09:35 in the race, took over the driver’s seat with full confidence. Two kilo meters later, the Ethiopian duo, Tariku Jifar and Solomon Molla, caught up with him and ran shoulder to shoulder for a further two kilometers when 26 year old Tariku suddenly sprinted out of the group leaving his contenders behind in his wake. When Tariku turned around to see if any of his adversaries were following, there appeared to be no one, thus the ultimate winner hit the road even faster. The winner of the Houston Marathon in January, Tariku reached the finish line alone, crossing over in 2:09:39. In the meantime pre-race favorite Kiptanui regained his composure to overtake Solomon, thus finishing runner-up in 2:10:15. Running his first marathon this season, 25 year old Solomon Molla finished third, with a personal best time of 2:10:20.
Jia Chaofeng led a contingency of nine Chinese women to the podium. The 24 year old who represented China in 2011 World championship featured her best ever performance slashing two minutes from her personal best to win her first Beijing international marathon title. Sun Lamei took the runner up spot in 2:27:55 while Sun Weiwei settled for third place.