DOHA – Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich overcame extreme heat and humidity to win the IAAF World Athletics Championships midnight marathon on Friday, in a grueling test of survival that saw nearly a third of the 70 starters fail to reach the finish line.
Chepngetich, who has clocked the third-fastest women’s marathon of all-time, did not come close to matching that in the punishing conditions. Her winning time of 2 hours, 32 minutes, 43 seconds was the slowest ever to win the world championships.
Still, it was enough for a comfortable victory over Bahrain’s defending world champion Rose Chelimo, who settled for silver crossing more than a minute adrift.
Namibia’s Helalia Johannes completed the podium taking the bronze.
“I am very happy with the win and bringing back the gold to Kenya,” said Chepngetich.
“It was a tough race but I knew what to expect as I ran in Dubai.
“I trained for this weather running in the afternoon when the sun was high.
“I want to win another for Kenya in Tokyo.”
The opening day of the 10-day event began with the IAAF issuing a statement that the marathon would go ahead despite concerns over extreme heat and athletes’ wellbeing.