Kenyan took more than two minutes off his PB to win the inaugural title, while women's champion Ababel Yeshaneh took nearly 13 minutes off her best time
Marius Kipserem rates Abu Dhabi Marathon as 'best win so far' after setting new personal best
Kenya's Marius Kipserem described his victory at the Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon as his "best win so far" after breaking his personal best time to win the inaugural title.
Kipserem, 30, completed the race in four hours, four minutes and four seconds to win, taking off more than two minutes of his previous best time of 2:06:11 set at the 2016 Rotterdam Marathon. His Abu Dhabi time is the 12th fastest of all time.
Runner-up and fellow Kenyan Abraham Kiptum, who is the half-marathon record holder, also clocked his personal best of 2:04:16, more than a minute quicker than his previous mark.
Ethiopian Dejene Debela prevented a Kenyan sweep of the podium with a third-place finish ahead of Thomas Rono and Stanley Biwott.
Gallery from the inaugural Abu Dhabi Marathon
“I would rate this marathon as my best win so far," Kipserem said after his seventh win in 15 marathons. "I have achieved a personal best time and also to be the first winner in Abu Dhabi, a record nobody can take it away.
“It was a fast course and the race was very good. It was very much to my liking. Abu Dhabi being the final race of the year, now I plan to take a break and prepare for my next marathon, perhaps, around April.
“I’ll be targeting to be 100 per cent again when I’m back for my next race because you just can’t keep running throughout the year. The recovery time is important, so by April I think, I will be ready for my next marathon.”
Kipserem was chased all the way until the final kilometre by Kiptum,who even took the lead for a few strides, but Kipserem kicked on from to retake control.
“I knew we were quite similar in strength and once he overtook me I realised I had to push. Gave it everything in the end,” Kipserem said.
Kiptum conceded Kipserem was too fast for him on the day but he insisted he happy with the result.
“I gave it everything but Kipserem was too strong,” he said. “I’m really happy with my own performance and obviously will keep training for the next marathon.”
In the women's race, Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh smashed her personal best by nearly 13 minutes to win the title ahead of Bahrain's Eunice Chumba and compatriot Gelete Burka.
Yeshaneh's winning time of 2:20:16 was a huge improvement on her previous best of 2:33:10, set at the Milan Marathon in April 2013.
“The race was very nice and I’m very happy to win with a personal best time. It’s my first time in Abu Dhabi and to win was special,” she said.
Chumba added: “I am proud and I ran a good time for second place. It was a competitive race and it is my first time in Abu Dhabi. Everyone is very friendly and I am so happy to be here.”