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Canada's Krista DuChene wins masters division at Berlin Marathon

Krista DuChene of Brantford, Ont., won the masters (40-and-over) division at Sunday's Berlin Marathon and finished 12th overall on the women's side in a time of two hours 32 minutes 27 seconds, her first sub-2:34:00 performance since 2015 in Rotterdam.

42-year-old mother of 3 clocks her first sub-2:34:00 performance since 2015

Krista DuChene, a mother of three from Brantford, Ont., won the masters (40-and-over) division at the Berlin Marathon on Sunday and finished 12th overall on the women's side in a time of two hours 32 minutes 27 seconds. (Cole Burston/Canadian Press/File)

Krista DuChene had to negotiate wind, slippery roads and humidity on Sunday morning, but it didn't take the fun out of running another marathon.

The Brantford, Ont., resident won the masters (40-and-over) division in Berlin and finished 12th overall on the women's side in a time of two hours 32 minutes 27 seconds. DuChene hadn't clocked 2:34 since her 2:29:38 from Rotterdam in 2015.

"At this point in my career, I'm grateful for every marathon I can finish standing up," the 42-year-old told Canadian Running. "Everyone who comes to Berlin expects to conditions to be perfect. The conditions weren't perfect today."

DuChene, running Berlin for the first time, was on pace to reach the 2020 Olympic standard of two hours 29 minutes 30 seconds in the first half of the 42.2-kilometre event but said she was "riding the line between running hard and blowing up" in the back half due to the conditions.

"These aren't excuses, they're just facts," she said. "Since [the 2016 Olympics in] Rio, everything in my running career has been icing on the cake. Right now I'm still enjoying running and when it stops being fun I'm reassess my goals."

Wanted to run marathon at track and field worlds

In April, DuChene shaved eight seconds off her 2018 Boston Marathon time, completing the race for a third time in 2:44:12. Last year, the mother of three sat 10th through 35 kilometres before charging late in the rain, cold and wind of Boston, finishing third out of nearly 14,000 women in 2:44:20.

DuChene had hoped to run the marathon at the track and field world championships, which are ongoing in Doha, Qatar, and had achieved the 2:37:00 qualifying standard with a 2:36:46 10th-place finish at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon last fall.

With nine Canadian women having met the standard and only three women's spots available for worlds, DuChene said Berlin made sense as a fallback option and she would make it her fall marathon.

"Making the Olympic team isn't something I'm fighting for," DuChene told CBC Sports this past spring. "With the depth of Canadian women's distance running, I'm incredibly proud and pleased."

Two other Canadian women finished inside the top 100 on Sunday. Jessica Harper, who was born in Brampton, Ont., but now resides in Texas, placed 21st in 2:35:56. Donna Verge of Toronto was 97th in 2:55:58 after placing 25th (2:59:11) in the women's race at the Toronto Waterfront event last October.

Ethiopia rules women's, men's races

Ashete Bekere of Ethiopia held off compatriot Mare Dibaba to win the women's race in 2:20:14 at the 46th Berlin Marathon on Sunday. Dibaba was seven seconds behind but comfortably ahead of Kenya's Sally Chepyego who was third in a time of 2:21:06.

Kenenisa Bekele missed out on the world record by just two seconds as he completed a remarkable comeback to win the men's race.

The 37-year-old led an Ethiopian sweep of the podium as he crossed the line in 2:01:41, claiming the first prize of 40,000 euros ($43,760 US), but missing out on an additional bonus of 50,000 euros he would have received for breaking Eliud Kipchoge's world record, set by the Kenyan on the same course last year.

"I have shown that my career is far from over," Bekele said. "I knew that I was in top form although my preparation was shorter than I would have hoped. I know I can run faster."

Birhanu Legese was second, one minute and seven seconds behind with Sisay Lemma coming home third with a time of 2:03:36.

For a change, the winner did not finish in a world-beating time. Since Khalid Khannouchi set a world record to win the London Marathon in 2:05:38 in 2002, the time has been improved seven times — all in Berlin.

Kipchoge, who set the current record time of 2:01:39 in the German capital last year, skipped Sunday's race to focus on his attempt to become the first to break the two-hour mark at a specially organized event in Vienna, Austria in October.

Bekele missed out on the then-world record by six seconds when he won the 2016 Berlin Marathon in 2:03:03, then a personal best.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Doug Harrison has covered the professional and amateur scene as a senior writer for CBC Sports since 2003. Previously, the Burlington, Ont., native covered the NHL and other leagues for Faceoff.com. Follow the award-winning journalist @harrisoncbc

With files from The Associated Press

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