Ethiopian Tigist Assefa smashed the women's world marathon record as she won the Berlin marathon in 2:11.53 on Sunday (Sept. 24).
That time is over two minutes shorter than the previous record of 2:14.04, set by Kenya's Brigid Kosgei in Chicago in 2019.
The race was only 26-year-old Assefa's third competitive marathon. A former 800m specialist and Olympian, Assefa also won last year in Berlin in 2:15.37 — at the time, the third fastest women's marathon ever run, and more than 18 minutes faster than her debut.
Assefa made her goal clear from the start and was a minute under world record pace at the halfway point (1:06.20). She maintained that pace to push ahead of the women's field, at 37km running only 3 seconds/kilometre outside of men's world record holder Eliud Kipchoge's time at the same stage in the race Sunday.
Kenyan Sheila Chepkirui finished in second place nearly six minutes behind Assefa, and Tanzanian Magdalena Shauri claimed third and a new national record in 2:18.41.
A record eight women ran under 2:20.
"I think this is the result of hard work over the last year," said Assefa.
"I am very happy. I wanted to break the marathon world record, but I couldn't imagine that it would result in a time under 2:12."