Double world champion Kimberly Garcia got her 2023 campaign off to a superb start on Saturday (25), breaking the 35km race walk world record with 2:37:44* at the Dudinska 50, the first World Athletics Race Walking Tour Gold meeting of the year.
The Peruvian race walker produced a solo effort from the early stages, passing through the first kilometre as part of a small lead group and then breaking away just a couple of minutes later. By the time she reached 5km in 22:41, she had a 16-second lead over Chinese duo Liu Hong and Ma Li.
Garcia’s lead grew to more than a minute by 15km, which she passed in 1:07:29 with four-time world champion Liu still level with compatriot Ma. World silver medallist Katarzyna Zdzieblo was a further minute behind in fourth.
Ma started to lose contact with Liu at about 18km, but Garcia continued churning out her metronomic splits, reaching 20km in 1:29:58. With 10km to go, Garcia’s lead over Liu had grown to 84 seconds. Wu Quanming, meanwhile, was starting to close on Chinese teammate Ma.
Garcia reached 30km in 2:15:10, almost two minutes clear of Liu, who was safe in second place. Wu had moved into third by this stage, but Ecuador’s Magaly Bonilla was closing fast.
There was no catching Garcia, though, who maintained her relentless pace to charge through the finish line in 2:37:44, taking two seconds off the previous fastest mark for the distance.
Liu, who was making her debut at the distance, followed more than two minutes later in 2:40:06 but was rewarded with an Asian record. Bonilla was third in an Ecuadorian record of 2:46:32 and a fading Wu held on for fourth (2:47:34).
“I knew I was in good shape and that I could challenge the world record,” said Garcia. “The first 20km was ok and at a good pace, then I started to tire and the wind got stronger. Thankfully I found some extra energy for the final five kilometres.
“It’s a big thing for me to achieve this record,” added Garcia, who also confirmed she will defend both of her titles at this year’s World Championships. “I still think I can go faster, maybe at the World Championships. I’m not planning any more 35km races before Budapest.”
According to worldathletics.org. Source of photos: internet