The Chinese Lanzhou International Marathon, held June 11 2016, was dominated by African athletes, who swept the top three men’s and women’s podium positions.
Kenya’s Robert Kwambai clocked in at 2:13:20, grabbing the title at the men’s full marathon. The Ethiopian Workneh Tesfa finished second with 2:13:54. Fellow Kenyan William Yegon clocked 2:14:37 to take third place.
Ethiopian runners dominated the top three positions at the women’s full marathon, with Tsehay Desalegn taking the first prize when she clocked in at 2:32:16, followed nine seconds later by Azalech Masresha. Third place went to Abeba Gebremeskel who came in at 2:35:41.
The two full marathon winners finished with speeds lower than recorded in the past, making them eligible for only half of the $40,000 award. According to tournament rules, male runners must do better than 2:09:30, while women must clock in at less than 2:28:00 to benefit from the full award. Achieving numbers below these two benchmarks means that only 50 percent of the allocated funds can be delivered to the winning runner.
Chinese runner Liu Yingcai came in tenth at the men’s full marathon, while Cao Xin, Ma Qingjuan, Ge Hong claimed the eighth, ninth and tenth runner-up positions at the women’s.
The Lanzhou International Marathon has been the largest international sporting event in Gansu province since 2011, the year that the race was first staged in the western Chinese city.
Kenyan and Ethiopian athletes have consistently swept the top awards at each of the six events to date. Chinese runners Jia Chaofeng and Zhangjing Xia respectively took the top prize at the first two women’s full marathons in 2011 and 2012, yet, champion athletes from the two African countries have since swept the awards.