Ethiopian runner Tigst Assefa set a new women’s world record at the BMW Berlin Marathon on Sunday, outstripping the previous best marathon time by a woman by more than two minutes.
Assefa, 26, crossed the finish line at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany with a time of 2:11:53. This is a massive lowering of the world record by almost 2 per cent.
The previous world record had been held by Brigid Kosgei, who completed a 2019 marathon in Chicago in 2:14:04.
She is a former 800-metre specialist who switched to road running in 2018.
After her marathon debut in April 2022, Assefa improved by over 18 minutes and set the third-fastest time on the world all-time list at the 2022 Berlin Marathon, before breaking the all time female marathon record by more than two minutes at the same event in 2023.
🇪🇹’s Tigst Assefa obliterates the women’s marathon world record* in Berlin 🤯
*Subject to the usual ratification procedures pic.twitter.com/RIAr17ByTN
— World Athletics (@WorldAthletics) September 24, 2023
“I didn’t expect to run this fast that is to say to break 2:12, but it is the result of hard work,” Assefa said in quotes provided by the marathon.
“As for being now a favourite for the Olympic Marathon next year, it is up to the National Committee to select me for the team,” she added.
Assefa also won last year’s Berlin marathon with a time of 2:15:37, which was then the third-fastest time ever.
The women’s 100 meter record has been held by Florence Griffith Joyner since 1988, now 35 years ago. One wonders if Assefa’s record will stand as long.