Ethiopian Asayech Ayalew cruises to win at Honolulu Marathon

With no competitors to pace with or block the wind, the 23-year-old Ethiopian Asayech Ayalew traversed the last 13 miles of a windy Honolulu Marathon course exposed to the gusty conditions.
But the early gap she built over the rest of the field proved insurmountable, and Asayech finished Sunday’s race in 2 hours, 30 minutes, 58 seconds for her third career marathon win.
Asayech Ayalew is the first Ethiopian champion since Ehitu Kiros in 2013. Abebech Afework, her training partner in Ethiopia, was second in 2:34:39 and Japan’s Eri Suzuki was third in 2:47:42.
Asayech separated from Abebech after 7 miles on the climb up a windy Diamond Head Road. Asayech was tucked behind Masaki Asari, a male entrant from Japan, for the next 6 miles before separating at the half-marathon mark in Aina Haina.
There was a spectator who fell onto the course in Hawaii Kai, missing her by a few seconds. None of those mishaps seemed to deter Asayech. She glanced back a few times and saw no runner in sight.
Brihanu, who has brought athletes to Honolulu, knew about the course’s humidity and hills. But the wind altered the racing plan on Sunday.
Asayech finished second at the Eindhoven Marathon in The Netherlands on Oct. 9 in a personal best time of 2:22:52. She won the Linyi Marathon in China and the Lisbon Marathon in Portugal in 2021.
Suzuki also finished third in Honolulu in 2018. Unlike the Ethiopians ahead of her, Suzuki isn’t a professional runner and works for a sports association. Suzuki won a half marathon earlier this year in Japan, which earned her return trip to Honolulu.

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