Ethiopia’s Tigst Assefa, the surprise winner of the women’s race at last year’s Berlin Marathon, shocked the world yet again, running 2:11:53 to break the women’s world record by more than 2 minutes. The mark obliterates Brigid Kosgei’s 2:14:04, set in Chicago in 2019.
It was only Assefa’s third marathon, and the 26-year-old former 800-metre runner took the lead by 15K, at the front of a group of 12 women who were all on world-record pace. She ran the 16th kilometre in 2:59, opening a gap. By 20K, she was 30 seconds ahead of Kenya’s Sheila Chepkirui.
On the broadcast afterward, Assefa called her victory “the result of hard work,” and said that while she thought she could break the record, the margin by which she did so surprised even her.
Assefa wore the Adizero Adios Pro Evo 1 v2 by adidas on Sunday.
Before an Achilles injury caused her to move to the roads, Assefa was a middle-distance runner, representing Ethiopia in the 800 metres at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Since winning Berlin last year, she’d raced only once, winning the Bahrain Royal Night Half Marathon in 1:07:40 in December. She was slated to run the London Marathon, but withdrew because of injury.