By John Ensor •
Published: 05 Dec 2023 • 18:11
Sisay Lemma winning the 2023 Valencian Marathon.
A huge financial carrot has been dangled in front of the world’s marathon elite by the patron of the Valencian Marathon.
Can the promise of €1million spur on a new marathon world record? In a bold move, Juan Roig, president of the Trinidad Alfonso Foundation and patron of the Valencia Marathon, announced the extraordinary reward for breaking the marathon world record in Valencia in 2024.
This year marked the 43rd edition and was held on Sunday, December 3, with Roig making the announcement following its conclusion. ‘We want to announce that we will give the person who breaks the world record €1 million euros, if they do it in Valencia, of course.
‘One of our great wishes and dreams is for the world record to be achieved here and we are willing to work for it,’ Roig stated to the gathered media, writes Telecinco.
Valencia’s marathon is renowned for its ultra-fast course and typically favourable December weather, making it a prime location for record attempts.
These conditions are not only conducive to world-class performances but also attract a wide range of athletes seeking Olympic qualifying times, set at 2 hours, 8 minutes, 10 seconds for men and 2 hours, 26 minutes, 50 seconds for women.
This year’s event saw Ethiopian Sisay Lema clinch victory with a time of 2 hours, 1 minute, and 48 seconds, making him the fourth fastest athlete of all-time rankings at the distance.
He also surpassed the previous circuit record held by Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum. Lema outpaced Kenyan Alexander Mutiso (2h03:11) and Ethiopian Dawit Wolde (2h03:48), while Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, a legendary figure in athletics, finished in 2:04:19.
Notably, Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei, a three-time 10,000-meter world champion making his marathon debut, clocked in at 2:08:59.
In the women’s race, Ethiopian Worknesh Degefa led with a time of 2 hours, 15 minutes, 51 seconds, followed by compatriots Almaz Ayana (2h16:22) and Hiwot Gebrekidan (2h17:59).
The €1 million incentive symbolises a significant investment in the advancement of long-distance running, showcasing Valencia’s commitment to becoming a key player on the global athletics stage.
Roig’s initiative underlines the city’s aspiration to host a world record-setting event, further elevating Valencia’s status in the world of competitive marathon running.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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