Lelisa Desisa wins the marathon at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 (© Getty Images)
Lelisa Desisa added a world marathon gold to the silver he won in Moscow six years ago as he and teammate Mosinet Geremew headed an Ethiopian one-two on the Corniche in conditions that were significantly more forgiving than those that had seen a slew of women marathoners pulling out on the opening day of the championships.
Desisa clocked a season’s best of 2:10:40, with Geremew four seconds back. Bronze went to Kenya’s Amos Kipruto, who finished in 2:10:51, with Britain’s Callum Hawkins clocking 2:10:57 to repeat his fourth placing from the 2017 World Championships marathon in London.
With the temperature at about 29C, and humidity at about 48%, the two Ethiopians were part of a group that caught up with early breakaway leader Derlys Ayala of Paraguay just before halfway point and maintained enough energy to push on to glory in the final kilometre.
They left in their wake Kenya’s Kipruto, who had also been a part of the long-time leading group, and Hawkins, whose massive mid-race effort brought him into the lead group of three with only a couple of kilometres to go.
The effort to get there, however, cost the Briton dearly, and he had to accept his second successive fourth place in this event following the London running two years ago.
In the interim, Hawkins hit the headlines when he collapsed in the heat of the Gold Coast when he was only a mile or so away from what looked like a runaway win at the Commonwealth Games.
On this occasion he maintained his effort to the line, although that seemed little consolation to him in the immediate aftermath.
So Desisa went one better than he had in 2013, although the action that earned him most renown that year was his gesture in donating his Boston Marathon winning medal back to the city in sympathy with the bombing that took place near the finish line nearly three hours after he had passed it.
"It was hot, but I prepared perfectly for this race," said Desisa, who won the New York City Marathon last year. "I am very tired. But after I took silver in Moscow, this time I kept my power better.”
Zersenay Tadese, Eritrea’s five-time world half-marathon champion, led the lead group for much of the second half of the race before dropping to sixth place in 2:11:29.
One place above him, in 2:11:09, was South Africa’s Stephen Mokoka, who had also taken the responsibility for the lead for long periods.
Ayala, who had run a personal best of 2:10:27 only two weeks earlier in Buenos Aires, dropped out very soon after the halfway mark – one of 18 who failed to finish from the field of 73.
Mike Rowbottom for the IAAF