Tigst Assefa finds love in the marathon as she breaks the world record.
In the realm of marathon running, where grueling endurance meets indomitable willpower, one athlete has emerged to redefine the boundaries of possibility. Tigst Assefa, an Ethiopian phenomenon, has captured the hearts of running enthusiasts worldwide with her remarkable journey from obscurity to marathon mastery. It’s a story of triumph against all odds, a tale of grit, and a testament to the relentless pursuit of greatness. And on Sunday morning, Berlin hosted her to another.
As the sun cast its golden glow over the bustling streets of Berlin, history was in the making.
The BMW Berlin Marathon, which had been the ground for 12 world records in history, provided the stage for an extraordinary display of athletic prowess. Assefa was poised to defend her title, but little did the world know that she would do so in a fashion that would reverberate through the annals of running history.
Tigst Assefa breaks WR at BMW Berlin Marathon, photo by Kevin Morris.
Assefa not only defended her crown but did so with a resounding statement—shattering the women’s world record. Her time of 2:11:53* left onlookers breathless and her competitors in awe. This was not just a race; it was a masterclass in endurance, strategy, and sheer determination.
The world record she obliterated had been held by Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei, who had clocked 2:14:04 at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. Assefa’s performance, which slashed more than two minutes off that record, sent shockwaves through the running world. Her victory was more than just a win; it was a triumphant declaration of her prowess and a testament to her relentless pursuit of greatness. The 2016 Olympian over 800m has clearly found her event, running a 66:20-65:33 negative split to claim the win in historic fashion.
Tigst Assefa, WR holder , 2:11.53, Berlin Marathon, photo by Kevin Morris
“I didn’t expect to run this fast, that is to say, to break 2:12, but it is the result of hard work. As for being now a favorite for the Olympic Marathon next year, it is up to the National Committee to select me for the team.”
The journey to that historic moment in Berlin had been a path less traveled for Assefa. Born and raised in Ethiopia, she had shown promise on the track but was not a household name in marathon circles. Her background was primarily in middle-distance events, particularly the 800m, an entirely different discipline from the marathon.
As we have come to discover, life has a way of throwing lemons at you. One has to find a way of turning them into lemonades. Assefa has not only found a new love for the marathon, she’s taking the event to a new stratosphere, that one is forced to think a sub 2:10 isn’t far off for a woman in the event. There are those who thrive on the unconventional and dare to step out of their comfort zones to chase dreams that others might deem impossible. Tigst Assefa was one such athlete.
Tigst Assefa, BMW Berlin Marathon, 2:11.53 WR, photo by Kevin Morris
The pivotal moment came in 2022 when Assefa made her debut on the Berlin Marathon course. She arrived as an Olympian, a distinction earned in the 800 meters and relatively unknown in the marathon world. What unfolded on that memorable day was nothing short of extraordinary. Assefa stunned the running world by securing victory and smashing the course record at 2:15:37, a feat that took more than two minutes off the previous record.
Her performance last year was the kind of stuff dreams are made of, but it was also a moment that left the world in disbelief. Who was this athlete making a remarkable transition from middle-distance track events to marathon dominance? How had she managed to not only win but to do so with such authority?
Tigst Assefa, WR of 2:11.53, Berlin Marathon, photo by Kevin Morris
Since her Berlin victory last year, Assefa’s journey has been marked by an air of mystery and anticipation. Her sole race appearance was a commanding win at the Bahrain Night Half Marathon in December 2022, where she clocked an impressive 67:40. While this showcased her undeniable talent, it also left many questioning what she could achieve in the marathon discipline when fully prepared.
A glimpse of her potential was witnessed at the London Marathon in April, although it was cut short due to injury. Nonetheless, her presence on the world stage hinted at the formidable force she could become.
Tigst Assefa shows off her adidas Adizero Pro EVO 1, that sold out globally the every next day at $488.75 per pair, photo by Kevin Morris
As Assefa crossed the line in Berlin, having smashed the world record in a manner that defied expectation, she not only solidified her status as a marathon icon but also left us all eagerly awaiting what the future holds. Her journey from an Olympian over 800m to a world record-breaking marathoner is nothing short of remarkable, a testament to the boundless possibilities that await those who dare to dream and relentlessly pursue their goals in the world of athletics.
It’s not just about the world records, the titles, or the accolades. It’s about the inspiration she imparts to countless aspiring athletes, showing them that barriers are meant to be shattered, and dreams are meant to be chased with unwavering determination. Assefa, a name forever etched in the stars of marathon greatness, continues to inspire us all. She is a testament to the power of the human spirit, the pursuit of excellence, and the belief that with relentless dedication, even the loftiest of goals can be achieved.