Newcomer Dagnachew beats Kenya's Legion ...

Newcomer Dagnachew beats Kenya's Legion after two full courses

Oct 23, 2023

2h11m31s Gyeongju Marathon winner "I'm happy to win the first challenge in Korea"

Overlooking Cheomseongdae, Bonghwangdae, and Cheonmachong

Masters 9000 people festival race

Gyeongju International Marathon, Running with Autumn

The 2023 Gyeongju International Marathon was held in Gyeongju, the ancient capital of Silla, on Sept. 21. More than 9,000 Masters runners enjoyed crisp fall weather in a city race through UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Cheomseongdae. Ethiopia's Isma Antenayehu Dagnachew won the international elite men's race.

Isma Antenayehu Dagnachew of Ethiopia crosses the finish line first in the men's elite international race at the Gyeongju International Marathon on Nov. 21.

Rookie Isma Antenayehu Dagnachew, 25, of Ethiopia, took a surprise victory at the Dong-A Ilbo Gyeongju International Marathon 2023.

Dagnachew crossed the finish line first in the elite men's race at the 42.195-kilometer Gyeongju International Marathon in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, with a time of 2 hours, 11 minutes, 31 seconds. Dagnachew first ran the full course at the Milan Marathon in April, finishing 10th in 2:11:55. This was his second full-course finish and his first podium finish. All eyes were on the Kenyans, including last year's winner Evans Kipkoech Korir (36), until the lead group was reduced to seven after 37 kilometers. But when Korir withdrew with a hamstring injury after 40 kilometers and the lead group was reduced to four, Dagnachew surged away to win by 21 seconds over Timothy Kipkorir Katam (30-KEN).

A soccer player through high school, Dagnachew took up running after a teacher encouraged him to compete in a track and field meet. After high school, he competed in the 5,000-meter, 10,000-meter, and half-course races before realizing that he could run longer, so this year he took on the full-course challenge. Dagnachew trains in the highlands of Entoto (3300 meters above sea level) near Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, where he says the weather is similar to Korea. The start time was pushed back an hour to 8 a.m., so the temperature was 10 degrees Celsius at the start and 12 degrees Celsius after 10 a.m. at the finish, which was ideal for running a marathon.

"It was my first time competing in a race in Korea and I'm happy to win," Dagnachew beamed. "I've always wanted to come to Korea whenever I get the chance," he said. "Ethiopia was a participant in the Korean War, so I have a good impression of Korea because people from Korea still show gratitude when I come to Ethiopia. The Korean marathon is also very popular among the friends I train with." More than 9,000 Masters participants enjoyed the fall colors as they ran the full, half, 10K, and 5K courses in a city race through UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Cheomseongdae, Bonghwangdae, and Cheonmachong. 19가이드03

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