Yemane Adhane of Ethiopia and Helena Kirop of Kenya won the annual Fubon Taipei Marathon with record-breaking times yesterday.
Adhane clocked 02:10:24 to win the men’s race, while Kirop finished in 02:27:36 for the women’s title, both breaking the previous records to bag an extra NT$1 million (US$32,000) on top of their winner’s purse of NT$1 million each.
The marathon, one of biggest road racing events in Taiwan, took place this year along Taipei’s riverside paths.
The flat terrain gave the athletes a good chance of breaking the records, the Chinese Taipei Road Running Association said.
Adhane, whose personal best was 2:06:30, started strong and led pack over the entire course. He crossed the finish line in a time that was 41 seconds faster than the record set by Luke Kibet of Kenya in 2006.
Adhane said after the race that his flight from Bangkok, where he transited, had been delayed because he was grilled by immigration officials about the purpose of his visit to Taiwan.
His plan to arrive early and recover from his jet lag before the race fell through, Adhane told reporters.
Despite all this, he said, he was very pleased to have won his first marathon title this year and hoped it would bring him luck in his Olympic bid in London next year.
Asked how he would spend the prize money, he said with a smile that as a professional runner, all of his prize money is used to take care of his family and relatives.
Kirop, who ran her personal best of 2:23:37 in a marathon in Italy this year, broke the 2009 record set by Yeshi Esayias -Tesemma of Ehiopia by 2 minutes and 29 seconds.
Chiang Chieh-wen (蔣介文) of Taiwan, who was running with an inflamed tooth, a swollen face and a stomachache, still finished first among local runners with a time of 2:24:19.
More than 120,000 runners participated in the race, which set off early from the square in front of Taipei City Hall.