Mequanenet set course record at Zurich


Ethiopia’s Mekuanenet Ayenew and Uganda’s Juliet Chekwel captured commanding victories at the 36th Zurich Maratón de Sevilla, a World Athletics Gold Label road race with respective clocking of 2:04:46 and 2:23:13.
Although Mequanenet had previously won marathons in Beijing and Venice, his pre-race PB stood at 2:09:00, so his victory in Seville was something of a surprise. The 29-year-old took almost two minutes off the course record.
Both men’s and women’s races had strong depth as seven men finished inside 2:07 and 14 broke the 2:08 barrier, while seven women went sub-2:28, confirming the new course is conducive to fast times.
The men’s race opened at brisk pace as a 15-man lead pack went through 5km in 14:45, led by pacemakers Henry Kiprop and Raymond Kipchumba. They passed 10km in 29:24 with all the main favorites in close attendance.
The pacesetters dropped out and by the 25th kilometer Kiplagat, Kiptum and Ayenew had broken away from the rest with the unknown Kiplagat, whose career best is 2:11:18, making most of the pace. Past the 30 km check-point the race became a two-horse battle. Mequanenet then moved to the front but they only travelled together for a couple of kilometers because at exactly the 34km point Mequanenet ’s relentless speed proved to be too fast for Kiptum and the Ethiopian began to build a sizeable gap.
Like a metronome, Mequanenet covered each kilometer section in 2:57 and even increased his speed over the closing stages to finish in a world-leading PB of 2:04:46, having recorded negative splits of 1:02:30 and 1:02:16.