Bahrain's Eunice Chumba wins Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon in her fourth attempt

Kenyan Timothy Kiplagat takes the men’s title after starting the race as a pacemaker

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Kenyan-born Bahraini athlete Eunice Chumba made her experience count as she won the elite women’s section of the Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon on Saturday.

She clocked 2 hour 20 minutes and 41 seconds, just outside her personal best 2:20:02, to clinch the top prize.

Chumba changed gears in the final two kilometres to beat Kenya's Angela Tanui (2:21:14). Mare Dibaba (2:21:25) of Ethiopia was third.

In the men’s race, Kenyan Timothy Kiplagat ran the race of his life after starting as a pacemaker to become the fourth man to win the Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon.

Kiplagat crossed the winning line in a personal best 2:05:20, nearly four minutes ahead of compatriot Felix Kimutai and Ethiopian Adeladhew Mamo, who was a further 10 seconds down in third.

Chumba, 29, was runner-up in the inaugural Abu Dhabi Marathon in 2018 and was fourth in 2019. She was runner-up again last year after the 2020 event was cancelled following the Covid-19 outbreak.

It was a festive atmosphere in the UAE capital as the fourth edition of the Abu Dhabi Marathon drew more than 20,000 runners in various categories - elite marathon, marathon relay, 10k run, 5k run, 2.5k 'Fun Run' and wheelchair race.

“I tried to win this race for Bahrain from my first visit to Abu Dhabi and I have finally managed to fulfil that dream in my fourth attempt,” Chumba told The National.

“It was a very challenging race with Angela and Mare, who have both run better than my personal best time. We raced together for a long time and it wasn’t until the final five kilometres of the race I felt I could win.

“I tried my best to better my personal best time but just couldn’t do that. Perhaps on another day and another race. Having said that, I’m just delighted to win in Abu Dhabi.”

Chumba won a silver medal for Bahrain in 10,000m at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games and ran a creditable seventh at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“Yes, 2024 Paris is very much on my radar,” she said of her plans.

“This year was fantastic and it certainly was a nice way to end the year. I’m going to take a small break and be back in training from January, and hopefully return to defend my title in Abu Dhabi.”

Kiplagat, 25, bettered his previous personal best time of 2:07:01, set at the Marathon Eindhovan in October 2021. He arrived in Abu Dhabi on the back of winning the Melbourne Marathon in October.

“I felt so good today, setting the pace and with nobody to challenge towards the finish. This was a great opportunity to win a race,” Kiplagat said.

“It was my first time in Abu Dhabi and what a wonderful day it has been for me. The race route was flat and fast, the weather was pretty ideal. It was one of those days when everything turned out to be beautiful for me.”

The Relay Marathon was won by the Irish pair Michelle Nagle and Niall McCarthy of Slainte Endurance in 2:58.53.

Anouar El Ghouz (29.09) led the first four home for Morocco in the men’s 10km race while Briton Eilish McCologan (31.44) took the women’s race.

Joren Selleslaghs of Belgium took the men’s 5km run while Egyptian Sara Salama won the women’s prize. UAE's Badr Al Hosani bagged the men’s wheelchair title.

Updated: December 18, 2022, 9:48 AM