Ethiopia’s Gulume Tollesa wins Hong Kong Marathon

HONG KONG (eNCA)―Ethiopia’s Gulume Tollesa successfully defended her title at the Hong Kong Marathon with a course record of 2:29:37, while 44-year-old Kenneth Mungara of Kenya beat opponents half his age to win the IAAF Gold Label road race in 2:13:39 on Sunday.

Gulume Tollesa started with the intention of retaining her title, but the 25-year-old also had one eye on the course record of 2:30:12, set six years ago by compatriot Misiker Demissie. Joined by a small handful of athletes, Gulume passed through 10 kilometers in 34:45 before reaching halfway in 1:14:22, suggesting a finishing time within 2:30 was possible.

The lead pack of Gulume, fellow Ethiopians Meskerem Assefa, Fantu Jimma, Betelhem Moges, Meseret Legesse and Kenya’s Lucy Kabuu stayed together for another 10 kilometers, passing the 30-kilometre point in 1:47:09.

Betelhem and Meseret were the first of those to fade, shortly followed by Lucy Kabuu. The remaining trio – Gulume Tollesa, Meskerem Assefa and Meseret Jimma – ran together for another 20 minutes before Jimma began to drift back, leaving Gulume Tollesa and Meskerem Assefa out in front.