Valentyna Veretska wins Jerusalem Marathon after fleeing Ukraine | Marathon

A Ukrainian athlete who fled the country with her daughter has won this year’s Jerusalem Marathon.

Valentyna Veretska, 31, competed in Friday’s race after fleeing with her 11-year-old daughter from the southern city of Mykolaiv shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February. Her husband stayed behind.

Organizers said Veretska finished the 26.2-mile race in 2hr 45min 54sec. Ageze Guadie, 33, an Ethiopian-born Israeli runner, finished first in the men’s category in 2hr 37min 17sec.

Veretska, 31, is ranked 444th worldwide among female marathon runners and most recently finished first in the October 2021 Tirana Marathon, according to World Athletics.

She was invited earlier this month to take part in the Jerusalem Marathon. Organizers said about 40 Ukrainian immigrants and refugees competed among thousands of runners.