Tonya Nero smashed a 25-year-old record at the ABN AMRO Marathon Rotterdam, in Holland, yesterday.
The 23-year-old Trinidad and Tobago athlete completed the 26.2-mile course in two hours, 43 minutes, 14 seconds to improve on the 2:57:18 national record established by Deborah Snagg way back in 1987.
It was a bitter-sweet day for Nero, however, as she missed the 2:43:00 Olympic B qualifying standard by just 14 seconds.
The impressive 2:43:14 run earned Nero 21st spot among the women in yesterday's race. She finished 167th overall.
Tiki Gelana was a runaway winner of the women's race, the Ethiopian getting home in 2:18:58 for a huge cushion on second-placed Valeria Straneo (2:23:44), of Italy. Third spot was copped by another Ethiopian, Merima Hasen (2:25:48).
The men's race was much closer, Yemane Adhane producing a 2:04:48 run to get home just ahead of his fellow Ethiopian, Getu Feleke, the runner-up in 2:04:50. Kenyan Moses Mosop clocked 2:05:03 to finish third.
Running in only her second marathon, Nero reached the halfway mark in 1:16:48, and seemed on course to achieve the Olympic B standard. But she was unable to maintain that pace in the second half of the race, and finished just shy of her 2:43:00 target.
In her 26.2-mile debut, last December, Nero endured cold, rainy and windy conditions to finish ninth in the MetroPCS Dallas White Rock Marathon, in the United States. She clocked 3:04:09.
Nero is also proficient on the track and may take another shot at Olympic qualification in the 10,000 metres. The B standard in that event is 32 minutes, 10 seconds, about one minute faster than Nero's 33:11.71 personal best–the existing national record.