SYDNEY, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- After being held virtually for two consecutive years, the Sydney Marathon on Sunday returned on the road again, seeing a new record set at the iconic Opera House.
Kenyan athlete Moses Kibet became the first to cross the finish line, clocking a winning time of two hours seven minutes and three seconds, the fastest marathon time ever on Australian soil.
Kibet's countryman Cosmas Matolo Muteti sped home closely in second place, only two seconds behind Kibet, while the third place went to Ethiopian Chalu Deso Gelmisa, who covered the 42.195km full course in 2:07:08.
All three men smashed the previous record of 2:07:50, which was set by Japanese runner Yuta Shitara during the Gold Coast Marathon in 2019.
"The course is really hard to run for the first time. It's up and down. There are a lot of zigzags. But to win in Sydney, I'm very happy," Ethiopian Tigist Girma Getachew told reporters after becoming the fastest woman in this year's Sydney Marathon with a time of 2:25:10.
Coming from Ethiopia as well, Letebrhan Haylay Gebreslasea secured second place in 2:25:45, followed by Eritrean runner Nazret Weldu Gebrehiwet (2:26:14).
Jun Hiromichi from Japan won the men's wheelchair marathon in 1:52:47, with Australian Richard Colman second in 1:53:28. Australians Jacqueline Godfrey won the women's wheelchair marathon (2:28:21), with Sara-Ashlee Tair in second (2:46:46).
Today's event marked the first year of a three-year candidacy period for the Sydney Marathon to join the Abbott World Marathon Majors, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the Sydney Running Festival.
As a part of the festival, the Sydney Marathon was held simultaneously with other events, including Half Marathon, 10km Bridge Run and 3.5km Family Fun Run, with more than 36,000 participants challenging their physical limits as well as enjoying the city's scenery.
The courses took runners from Bradfield Park in Milsons Point, through the Harbor Bridge, alongside the Circular Quay, and finally to the Opera House and the Conservatorium of Music.
It was a challenging course, though, with quite a few hills and a lot of turns, Australian long-distance runner and Tokyo 2020 Olympian Sinead Diver said. "But it's absolutely beautiful, especially coming into the finish; you can see the Opera house, the bridge and everything."
In the female group of half marathon, Diver crossed the finish line in a course record time of 1:13:09. Kageyama Tomoka from Japan came second in a time of 1:16:49, with Australian racer Fiona Yates completing the podium in 1:22:47.
Chris, a running enthusiast, shared the same thought with Diver as he finished his half marathon at the forecourt of the Opera House, feeling "very special."
As Japanese runner Nishizawa Yuma triumphed in the male group, finishing the 21.097km challenge in 1:06:17, Chris made it in about an hour and 40 minutes.
With a running experience of about 30 half marathons and three full marathons before, Chris hoped to become quicker at next year's Sydney Running Festival. "I'll certainly come back next year and do this again," he told Xinhua.