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Valary Aiyabei smashes Volkswagen Prague Marathon event record. Ethiopian Abraha scores victory among the men

09 May 2017 08:27
Jean-Loup Fenaux
Gebretsadik Abraha 2017 Winner
Credit : RunCzech

The twenty-third Volkswagen Prague Marathon has its winners. Of all the ten thousand runners taking part, the first to cross the finish line in a time of 2:08:47 was Ethiopian runner Gebretsadik Abraha. And thanks to Kenyan representative Valary Aiyabei and her incredible time of 2:21:57, there is a new event record among the women. In fact the first three to finish all managed to beat it. When it came to the Czechs, Petr Pechek successfully defended his title while among the women Petra Pastorová from Prague reigned supreme.

Similarly to April’s Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon, the true stars of this race were all women. Kenyan runner Valary Aiyabei made her intentions clear pretty much straightaway by breaking away from rival runners very early on. A close examination of her interval times also pointed to a highly impressive result. And with a time of 2:21:57 that’s just what happened! “Valary’s performance today has improved the women’s event record which nobody has managed to beat in six years. I’m delighted we’ve been able to prove that Prague can produce fast times,” RunCzech Running League President Carlo Capalbo revealed.

Aiyabei’s original plan was to run the race in under the women’s event record time of 2:22:00. She achieved that, and until the half-way point, boasted interval times suggesting she might even finish in two hours and twenty minutes. “I’m delighted to have been able to compete in Prague and to top it off win the race. I started fast and wasn’t able to keep my pace up throughout, but even so I’m really pleased with the result and the event record,” the happy winner revealed at the finish. Valary Aiyabei finished way ahead of her rivals in a time of 2:21:57, followed by Ethiopian runner Amane Beriso in 2:22:15 and her compatriot Tadelech Bekele in 2:22:23.

The IAAF Gold Label race played host to long-distance runners from a whopping 88 different countries. Ethiopia reigned supreme in terms of the men occupying the first three podium spots! The best of these sporting start number six was Gebretsadik Abraha. “I’m really happy with winning. It was a really demanding race but in the last ten kilometres I finally had enough energy to speed up. I’m really pleased that I managed to win in Prague,” the winner revealed at the finish.

The elite athletes stuck together for a long time, with nine long-distance runners still at the helm by the thirtieth kilometre. Japanese runner Yuki Kawauchi managed to keep up with them for a long while, however unfortunately was held back by a fall at the 33rd kilometre which saw him lose valuable seconds he wasn’t able to win back. The Ethiopian trio at the helm broke away from the rest at the 37th kilometre, with Worku and Abraha’s compatriot Ayenewa fighting it out for two kilometres more before the run-up to Pařížská when things heated up further. At this point it looked like Bazu Worku had it in the bag, but then Gebretsadik Abraha managed to make up several lost metres – enough to secure him first place with a time of 2:08:47. Coming in for second just one second later was Bazu Worku (2:08:48), followed by Mekuant Ayenew in third place (2:09:00).

In terms of the Czech men, all eyes were on Vít Pavlišta and defender of last year’ victory title Petr Pechek. Pavlišta initially looked very solid and the hot favourite to win. Pechek however proved just how much fighting spirit he has, overtaking his rival at the 35th kilometre and managing to defend the title with a time of 2:21:22. “I couldn’t be any happier, I’m truly delighted. Not just by the actual win, but also my time. I wanted to run faster than last year, and I did it. The atmosphere was amazing, I’d like to say a huge thanks to all my fans, they helped me a lot.” Pechek revealed. Scooping up second place in the Czech Championships was Vít Pavlišta (2:23:32) followed by Jan Kohut in third place (2:27:36).

The Czech women already lined up from early on in the race with Petra Pastorová in the lead, followed by Radka Churáňová and Dagmar Rychnovská. With each kilometre, Pastorová managed to widen the gap between he and her rivals, finishing with a time of 2:46:34. “I’m really pleased with the result. I pretty much ran the whole race alone, the wind just slowed me down a bit at the end. The atmosphere really helped, it was out of this world,” the newly crowned Czech champion revealed. Taking up second place on the podium was Radka Churáňová (2:48:09), followed by Tereza Ďurdiaková who delivered an especially strong finish (2:48:59).

The twenty-third Volkswagen Prague Marathon saw long-distance runners take part from all over the world. Doctors Without Borders was the main charity partner for the race.

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