26 November 2021, 11am
ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon
Fri 26 November 2021
The heat was perceptible after just 2km and this, in addition to the pace, was the key factor in the race.
After 15km the last of three pace makers dropped out and Ekiru made his move with a 5km split of 14’17" between 15–20km and 14’27 between 20–25km (28’44"). He reached halfway in 1:01:46 with just Reuben Kipyego by his side.
At 30km Ekiru was 100m ahead of Kipyego (who finished in 3rd place) but due to the heat and humidity the Kenyan’s pace slowed. Ekiru ran out an assured winner in 2:06:13, followed by Alphonse Simbu (TAN) in second with 2:07:50, Reuben Kipyego in third with 2:08:25 and Abel Kirui (KEN) in 4th with 2:08:46.
Kenya’s Judith Jeptum was maybe the only athlete who did not suffer in the heat during the race or maybe she was the only one who did not underestimate the weather conditions. After 10km (33’24") there were just five runners together with the pace maker and at halfway (1:10:27) just three: Jeptum, Wude Ayalew (ETH) and Eunice Chumba (BRN).
Jeptum made her move at the same point as had Ekiru in the men’s race, upping her pace a little just as the others started to slow – leaving Jeptum to run away to victory.
Even with a very much slower pace in the last 7km Jeptum improved her personal best to 2:22:30 (from 2:26:52). Second place went to Eunice Chumba 2:26:01 and third to Immaculate Chemutai (KEN) 2:28:30.