Helalia Johannes shattered the Namibian women’s marathon record when she came third in the Vienna Marathon on Sunday.
Johannes’ time of 2 hours 27 minutes 20 seconds was exactly two minutes faster than the previous record that Beata Naigambo set on January 27.
It was also more than three minutes faster than Johannes’ previous best and former national record time of 2:30:35 that she established when she won the Dublin Marathon in October 2011.
Fate Tola of Ethiopia won the women’s race at the Vienna Marathon for the second year in a row.
Tola took the lead from the start and was never troubled as she won the gold medal in 2:26:39.
When Tola passed the half way mark in 73:17 she had built a lead of 49 seconds over Johannes and Olga Glok of Russia who were running next to each other for the whole race.
At the 30km mark it looked as if the chasing pair could still have a chance of catching Tola, because they had reduced the gap to 18 seconds. But at 35km (2:01:19) Tola had increased her advantage to 30 seconds again.
In a close fight for second place Olga Glok finished in 2:27:18, two seconds ahead of Johannes.
Johannes told Namibia Sport she was well prepared for the race.
“I skipped the Two Oceans to run here but I was well prepared. I was not fearing anything and I ran a good race,” she said.
Johannes did not want to say too much about breaking the Namibian record.
“I am happy that I set a new personal best time,” was all she would say.
Similarly, she did not want to speculate on how she would run at the Olympic Games.
“I don’t like to make promises but I’m in good form,” she said.
Johannes said she would not compete in any more marathons before the Olympic Games, but would continue training in Namibia.