Steph Twell breaks Scottish marathon record in Frankfurt

Valary Jemeli Aiyabei runs course record and Fikre Tefera wins close men’s race at Mainova Frankfurt Marathon

Steph Twell ran a PB of 2:26:40 to break the Scottish marathon record and achieve an Olympic qualifying mark at the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon on Sunday.

The women’s race was won by Kenya’s Valary Jemeli Aiyabei in a course record of 2:19:10, a time which moves her to 12th on the world all-time list, while the men’s title was claimed by Ethiopia’s Fikre Tefera in a close finish.

For Twell, her time to finish eighth puts her fifth on the UK all-time rankings in only her second ever marathon, behind Paula Radcliffe, Mara Yamauchi, Charlie Purdue and Veronique Marot.

It improves on the 2:30:11 she ran on her debut in Valencia last December and betters Liz McColgan’s 22-year-old Scottish record by 12 seconds.

Her fellow Briton Jenny Spink of Bristol & West took almost four minutes off her PB with 2:31:14, while Spink’s England team-mate Hayley Carruthers dropped out after 30km after suffering sickness and fainting.

Aiyabei’s win came after she set off at 2:12 pace. She inevitably slowed but still became the first woman to break 2:20 in Frankfurt.

Alemu Kebede Megertu was second in 2:21:10 and her fellow Ethiopian Meskerem Assefa third in 2:22:11, while Lonah Salpeter of Israel finished fourth in 2:23:11.

Home favourite Katharina Steinruck ran a PB of 2:27:26 to also achieve the Olympic qualifying standard.

“My aim was to break my personal best,” said Aiyabei, who was paced by her husband Kenneth Tarus until he had to drop out at 15km because of stomach problems. “Running alone isn’t easy. I had to struggle and grind it out.”

Tefera won the men’s race in 2:07:08, just two seconds ahead of his compatriot Dawit Wolde, while Bahrain’s Aweke Yimer was third on his debut a further two seconds back.

Last year Mark Kiptoo of Kenya ran a world masters record of 2:07:50 in Frankfurt but he was unable to build on that this time and placed 2:08:09 in sixth, while Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Mekonnen dropped out before 30km.

Derek Hawkins was the top Brit in the men’s race, clocking a PB of 2:12:49 in 10th, while Aaron Scott ran 2:17:05 and Paul Navesey clocked a PB of 2:17:16 while racing for England.

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