As the sun rises over the picturesque city of Xiamen, anticipation and excitement grip the air as the C&D Xiamen Marathon, a World Athletics Platinum Label road race, prepares to host an Ethiopian trio determined to leave an indelible mark on Chinese soil.
Gotytom Gebreslase, Megertu Alemu, and Ruti Aga, all formidable athletes in their own right, are poised to dominate the women’s race and make history on the streets of Xiamen.
At the forefront of this extraordinary trio is 2022 world champion Gotytom Gebreslase. The 28-year-old Ethiopian, who claimed the world title in Oregon with a stellar time of 2:18:11, is ready to add another accolade to her impressive resume. Despite being her first appearance in Xiamen, Gebreslase has her sights set not only on the coveted title but also on breaking the course record of 2:19:52, a feat set by her compatriot Mare Dibaba in 2015.
Megertu Alemu, boasting a career-best time of 2:17:09, is the fastest woman on paper in this stellar lineup. With a remarkable display of consistency, Alemu has recorded sub-2:19 marks in all her four recent races, including a victory at the 2022 Seville Marathon and podium finishes in the prestigious 2022 and 2023 London Marathons. Alemu’s determination and speed make her a serious contender for the Xiamen crown.
Ruti Aga, another Ethiopian powerhouse, is not to be underestimated. The 29-year-old set a personal best of 2:18:09 to conquer the Yellow River Estuary Marathon in Dongying, China, last October, solidifying her reputation as a force to be reckoned with. With a Tokyo Marathon victory in 2019 and three runner-up finishes in major races, including the 2018 Berlin Marathon, Aga brings experience and a hunger for success to the Xiamen course.
As the trio of Ethiopian stars takes their places at the starting line, they face tough competition from other talented athletes like Tanzanian Magdalena Shauri and Moroccan Fatima Ezzahra Gardadi. The stage is set for a marathon spectacle that promises not only breathtaking speed but also a battle of wills as these phenomenal women seek to etch their names into the annals of Xiamen Marathon history.