New girl Gebreslase wins Berlin

Gotytom Gebreslase ran a superb debut marathon to claim victory in Berlin at the first attempt.

The 26-year-old surprised the favourites and ran the third fastest time of the year with 2:20:09.  

Pre-race fancy Hiwot Gebrekidan took second in 2:21:23 and Helen Tola completed an Ethiopian podium with 2:23:05.

"Although it was my first marathon, I was running to win," said Gebreslase, who was the world youth champion over 3000m more than ten years ago.

"The course in Berlin was very nice and I want to come back to race again."

The pair were stride for stride until the 30km mark when Gebreslase made her strike for the lead. By 35km her gap was 13 seconds and when she took the tape she was a full minute and 14 seconds clear of her rival.

Helen Tola was almost three minutes behind the winner to claim third spot.

The champion was still on course for a top-class finish time of 2:18:30 at 35km, but in the final kilometers, the newcomer also had to relent under the heat of the sun, which had barely made an appearance in the city all week, only to bath all 25,000 participants in its rays for their long journey to the Brandenburg Gate.

Inevitably, she slowed down considerably and in the end missed a debut time of under 2:20 by just ten seconds.

It gives her something to aim for next time, in what promises to be a marathon career with plenty more chances to mix it with the world’s best.