Ethiopian Tadu Abate And Kenya's Veronica Maina Win Wuxi Marathon In China

China's marathon runner He Jie improved the national record to 2:06:57 at the Wuxi Marathon, marking the third new national record in a year.

He Jie set China's new national men's marathon record at the 2024 Wuxi Marathon on Sunday, while Tadu Abate Dedm of Ethiopia and Kenya's Veronicah Njeri Maina won the men's and women's races respectively.

25-year-old He clocked two hours, six minutes and 57 seconds to finish fourth in the men's race, 39 seconds shy of Dedm, who set a new event record. Abay Alemu Lesa of Ethiopia and Nicholas Kirwa of Kenya finished second and third respectively.

"I'm more than satisfied with myself today, it's a result of our hard work from the training camp in Kenya," He reflected on the race. "The international athletes raced at a very high level today and I almost collapsed in the final kilometers. But the result showed that the better my opponents are, the stronger I am."

He had improved the national record by 46 seconds at last year's Wuxi Marathon, which was lowered by another 21 seconds by Yang Shaohui at the Fukuoka International Marathon last December.

"My goal was to break into two hours and six minutes for China. The new record doesn't belong to myself, but is a result of collective efforts from marathon runners of my generation," said a modest He.

Looking ahead to the Paris Olympics, both He and his coach Xiao Li have high expectations, aiming to bring Chinese marathon to a new height. "He won all 10 races that he competed in last year, including the Asian Games. A top eight finish will be our goal in Paris, which will be a historic result for China," Xiao added.

On the women's side, Maina also broke the event record with a time of 2:24:46, sweeping the podium with her compatriots Rodah Jepkorir Tanui and Monica Chebet Chepkwony.

As the Wuxi Marathon marks its 10-year anniversary, the event also serves as the first leg of this year's National Marathon Championships and the trials for the Paris Olympic Games.

He, Yang and Sangji Dongzhi finished top three in the men's domestic race, while Zhang Deshun won gold in the women's domestic category with 2:27:12, followed by Li Dan and Bai Li.

According to the qualification criteria of the Chinese Athletics Association, the Wuxi Marathon and several international marathons with World Athletics points held between January 1 and May 5 are counted as the Paris Olympic trials. Three athletes with the best finishes from the above-mentioned events will qualify for the Paris Olympics.

As of now, He, Yang and Wu Xiangdong lead the men's squad, while Xia Yuyu, Zhang and Bai top the women's list.

posted Wednesday March 27th
by Xinhua News