In her first marathon, Elena Dolinin set a new Israeli women’s record in the 43rd Berlin Marathon on Sunday.
Dolinin finished the 42.2-kilometer (some 26 miles) race in seventh place overall, with a time of 2:35:59 — beating the previous best time held by an Israeli by 37 seconds.
The previous national record of 2:36.36 was set by Nili Abramski in Paris in 2004.
Originally from Russia, Dolinin came to Israel in 1999. In her youth she ran 1,500 meters and half marathons, but then took a break from running for 20 years. Now aged 38, Dolinin only started running marathons about a year ago and surprised everyone with her time. She had previously run a half-marathon in the European Championships in Amsterdam on July 10 with a time of 1:16:44.
Berlin is known to be a fast marathon race, with the men’s record being beaten there six times since 2006.
The top three in the women’s race were Aberu Kebede, who claimed her third Berlin win, in 2:20:45 ahead of Birhane Dibaba, who finished 3:13 minutes back, and Ruti Aga at 3:57 in an Ethiopian sweep.
The men’s race was won by Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele. The ex-Olympic 5,000 meter and 10,000 meter champion crossed the finish line in an official time 2:03:03 — just short of Dennis Kimetto’s world record of 2:02:57 set here in 2014.
Bekele pocketed 70,000 euros ($78,585) for winning the race, but those six seconds cost him the 50,000 euro bonus he would have landed had he broken the world record.
Wilson Kipsang, who won the 2013 Berlin Marathon in a then-world record time, finished 10 seconds back in 2:03:13 and fellow Kenyan Evans Chebet took third in 2:05:31.