Venice, October 28, 2018 – Ethiopian Mekuant Gebre and Kenyan Angela Tanui braved the high tide, a strong headwind and driving rain to win the 33rd Huawei Venicemarathon on Sunday.
In the worst conditions ever for the event, Gebre beat out a bunch of Kenyans to win the men’s event in 2h13:13 hours. Tanui, the heavy favourite, dominated the women’s event in 2h31:30 hours.
Despite the strong headwind and the heavy rain along most of the course, the runners entered Venice with promising projected final times: 2h09 hours for Gebre and 2h26:30 for Tanui.
The high tide along the final stretch inside Venice, which forced to close a flooded St. Mark’s square, caused the runners to wade through inches of water on the Giudecca waterfront and on sections of the final stride on Riva Sette Martiri, killing chances of a fast final time.
When Gebre came through there was about one inch of water, but when Tanui arrived the high tide had brought it to about three inches. With great splashes they made it to the finish.
Gebre ran most of the race together with several Kenyans, who gradually lost contact with this lone Ethiopian. He broke away after 35 kilometers, edging Kenyans Gilbert Chumba, second at 2h13:52, and Stephen Kiplimo, third at 2h13:58.
“The final stretch was really tough, but I knew I had a good lead and it was trouble for everyone,” Gebre said.
Japanese star Yuki Kawauchi, the winner of the Boston marathon this year, was seventh at 2h27:43.
“From the very start I felt my legs were not responding properly and I never really got into the race,” he said. “A bad day, but I want to come back to show I can do much better.”
Tanui dominated the women’s race with a margin of over seven minutes. Ethiopian Sorome Amente was second at 2h38:59 and another Kenyan, Euliter Tanui, third at 2h40:56.