Imagine you’re attempting your first ever marathon and the completion is stacked. You go out there and not only do you run away from some of the world’s best runners with 2km to go and take victory, but you also break the course record. Dream debut, right? That’s exactly what happened to Nedbank running club Ethiopia’s Tadu Nare.
After dominating the 2021 Spar Grand Prix series and taking 6 victories out of 6 races, Nare went into the Zurich Marathon Barcelona with one goal in mind. To run a time of 2 hours and 24 minutes. “Our goal was never to win the race but to run a time of 2:24 which would have been a very good debut because there were some girls in the race who had even run 2:20 before,” said Belay Hagos, coach of Nare and chairperson of the Nedbank running club Ethiopia.
From the gun, a pack of 6 women formed in front, assisted by pacemakers who went out at just over 2:24 pace which was in course for the course record. Nare looked strong throughout, avoiding any unnecessary surges and bided her time. One by one, women started to drop off the pace and by 39km and only 3km to go, the race was down to 4 women as Nare moved from the back of the pack to get ready to strike.
And strike she did. With the 40km mark in sight, Nare released one of the most powerful kicks she’s ever produced and broke ahead, none of the other women in the pack being able to respond. “There were girls much faster than Tadu having done marathon before, but nobody had Tadu’s speed,” said Hagos. “Remember she’s coming from Spar races, and she ran 31:26 so the marathon pace was relaxed for her and she had the speed to kick at the end.”
With a few glances behind her back in the home straight just to make sure, Nare crossed the line victorious and in a new Zurich Marathon Barcelona course record time of 2:23:53, having pulled 16 seconds over the 2nd placed finisher in the final 2km. “As a coach I cannot be any happier. She ran under the goal time that we set and won the race and broke the record. It’s just the start of even bigger things now to come from Tadu and I can say watch this space in her next marathon.”
It was certainly the dream marathon that everyone wishes to have at least once in their career, and for Nare, this happened on her first ever attempt. Showing such a spectacular performance, Nare may well have just found a new event that she could end up being one of the best in the world at.
A few hours later, at the big apple in New York, Nedbank running club teammate Helalia Johannes from Namibia was out in action at the TCS New York Marathon. The world class Johannes last year broke the marathon world record for veterans (40+) at the 2020 Valencia Marathon in a time of 2:19:52 and more recently finished 11th at the Tokyo Olympic Games Marathon.
Biding her time in the main pack, Johannes couldn’t go with the move with 10km to go but maintained throughout to finish a very credible 5th place in a time of 2:26:08. It was a great performance given the injuries she faced in the build-up to Olympics and missing the Spar Grand Prix series where she was the defending champion.
Nick Bester, National team manager of the Nedbank running club was extremely happy with the results. “It was a wonderful weekend of results for the Nedbank running club and an amazing victory on debut for Tadu,” said Bester. “Tadu’s success was clearly the way of Nedbank running club Ethiopia’s Belay who has stuck with the team and believed in us for many years.”
Nare now fly’s back to South Africa and arrives in the country for tomorrows Spar Grand Prix series awards event where she will be crowned the 2021 Spar Grand Prix series winner.