Lonah Chemtai Salpeter smashed the Israeli marathon record by more than 10 minutes as she made a sizeable breakthrough over the distance at the ASICS Florence Marathon, a five-star certified road race by European Athletics Running for All, on Sunday (25).
Chemtai Salpeter started the day with a lifetime best of 2:40:16 but the European 10,000m champion reduced that mark to 2:24:17 with a near gun-to-tape performance in Florence. Not only did she shatter the national record of 2:35:59, the 29-year-old also displaced European marathon champion Volha Mazuronak’s time of 2:25:25 at the top of the 2018 European lists.
Despite the persistent rain, Chemtai Salpeter took nearly four minutes off the course record of 2:28:15 which had lasted sixteen years. The winner was not unduly concerned by the conditions on offer as she confirmed in her post-race comments.
“I did not fear the rain, because I was ready with any condition,” said Chemtai Salpeter. “Florence is the springboard event of my marathon career.”
Chemtai Salpeter has come to the fore this season with her exploits on the track and over the shorter road racing distances but she has showed her repertoire now extends up to the marathon distance. In fact, Chemtai Salpeter now holds national records at all distances from 1500m (4:11.69) to the marathon (2:24:17).
Running alongside a group of male athletes in the early stages, Chemtai Salpeter was on track for a 2:25 clocking through halfway in 72:37 but she covered the tougher second half in a negative split of 71:40 to come home to a series of superlatives.
But as good as her time was, her coach and husband Dan Salpeter believes there is still room for improvement and that Chemtai Salpeter was in shape to run 2:22 “in perfect conditions and on a perfect course.”
Chemtai Salpeter finished tenth overall and won the women’s race by six minutes from Kenya’s Caroline Chepkwony (2:30:46) and Rwanda’s Clementine Mukandanga (2:30:59).
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