He Jie breaks national men’s marathon record at 2024 Wuxi marathon

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He Jie

24th March 2024 – (Wuxi) He Jie, a 25-year-old Chinese runner, set a new national men’s marathon record at the 2024 Wuxi Marathon held on Sunday. The event also witnessed impressive performances from Ethiopia’s Tadu Abate Dedm and Kenya’s Veronicah Njeri Maina, who emerged victorious in the men’s and women’s races respectively.

He Jie completed the marathon in a remarkable time of two hours, six minutes, and 57 seconds, securing a fourth-place finish in the men’s race. Dedm, on the other hand, claimed the top position, setting a new event record with a time of two hours, six minutes, and 18 seconds. The Ethiopian dominance continued with Abay Alemu Lesa securing second place and Nicholas Kirwa of Kenya finishing third.

Reflecting on his performance, He Jie expressed his satisfaction, attributing his success to the rigorous training he underwent at a camp in Kenya. He acknowledged the fierce competition from international athletes and admitted to pushing his limits during the final kilometers. Nonetheless, he drew strength from the challenging competition, stating, “The result showed that the better my opponents are, the stronger I am.”

He Jie had previously broken the national record at the Wuxi Marathon last year, reducing it by 46 seconds. However, Yang Shaohui surpassed his achievement by a further 21 seconds at the Fukuoka International Marathon in December. Humble in his approach, He Jie remarked, “The new record doesn’t belong to myself but is a result of collective efforts from marathon runners of my generation.”

Looking ahead to the Paris Olympics, He Jie and his coach Xiao Li hold high expectations for the Chinese marathon team. With He’s exceptional track record, including winning all 10 races he competed in last year, including the Asian Games, their aim is to secure a top-eight finish, which would mark a historic milestone for China.

In the women’s race, Veronicah Njeri Maina showcased her prowess by breaking the event record with an impressive time of two hours, 24 minutes, and 46 seconds. Maina’s compatriots Rodah Jepkorir Tanui and Monica Chebet Chepkwony secured second and third place respectively, completing a podium sweep for Kenya.

As the Wuxi Marathon celebrated its 10-year anniversary, the event also served as the first leg of this year’s National Marathon Championships and the Paris Olympic Games trials. He Jie, Yang Shaohui, and Sangji Dongzhi emerged as the top three finishers in the men’s domestic race, while Zhang Deshun claimed gold in the women’s domestic category with a time of two hours, 27 minutes, and 12 seconds, closely followed by Li Dan and Bai Li.

The Wuxi Marathon, along with select international marathons with World Athletics points held between January 1 and May 5, serves as the Paris Olympic trials according to the qualification criteria of the Chinese Athletics Association. The top three athletes with the best finishes from these events will secure qualification for the Paris Olympics.

Currently, He Jie, Yang Shaohui, and Wu Xiangdong lead the men’s squad, while Xia Yuyu, Zhang, and Bai dominate the women’s rankings as the Chinese athletes aim to make their mark on the global stage.