Javier Guerra finished fourth at the 2014 European Championships in Zurich but he has his sights set on a medal after breaking his lifetime best in the Zurich Maraton de Sevilla, a race with a five-star certification from European Athletics Running for All, on Sunday (25).
Guerra, 34, finished fourth in 2:08:36 to become the first Spaniard to break the 2:09-barrier for the marathon since 2006. He only lost touch with the leaders in the closing stages with Kenya’s Dickson Kipsang crossing the finish-line inside the Estadio de La Cartuja - which staged the 1999 World Championships - in 2:08:22 ahead of teammates Laban Mutai (2:08:23) and Andrew Kimutai (2:08:32).
Next across the finish-line was Guerra, who slashed nearly one minute from his lifetime best of 2:09:33. "I passed through the tunnel Abel Anton entered at the World Championships in 1999 [where he defended his marathon title on home soil.] There was not the same crowd but the feeling was spectacular," Guerra told MARCA after the race.
"Four years ago in Zurich, I missed out on the bronze medal in the closing kilometers; Berlin is now my big goal.”
Italy’s Stefano La Rosa also set a lifetime best of 2:11:08 while veteran Jesus Espana, 39, also guaranteed himself a place on the Spanish team for the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships, finishing eighth in 2:13:24.
In the women’s race, Morocco’s Kaoutar Boulaid set a course record of 2:25:35 ahead of Ethiopians Haimanot Alemayehu (2:25:47) and Bedatu Hirpa (2:25:50). With reigning two-time champion Paula Gonzalez absent, Marta Esteban was the top Spanish finisher in seventh in 2:31:24, inside the qualifying mark for the European Championships.
An estimated 13,000 runners took part in this year’s edition of the race.
The European Athletics Quality Road Race standards act as an assurance for road runners throughout Europe. They distinguish between races that respect the standards and those that haven’t sought certification or assessment. They form the foundation of Running for All, a strong recognisable brand for running activities throughout Europe.
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