Fatuma Sado may not be a household name, but the young woman from Ethiopia is quickly establishing herself as the most dominant figure in women's running.
The 20-year-old Sado cruised to an easy victory at Sunday's 27th annual Los Angeles Marathon. She took the lead in the seventh mile, gained some separation in the 12th, and was never challenged from then on.
She finished with a blistering time of 2:25:38, almost three minutes faster than the second-place finisher. It was the fourth fastest time by a woman in the history of the LA Marathon, and for much of the race it looked like Sado was going to break Lidiya Grigoryeva's record of 2:25:10, which was set in 2006.
Unfortunately, she slowed down in the 21st mile, putting the record out of reach. However, that slight disappointment certainly shouldn't overshadow Sado's brilliant rise to the top of the racing world.
She has competed in just four marathons and has finished first or second in every one. She won her first race two years ago in Hamburg, Germany, then added to her list of accomplishments by finishing the Istanbul Marathon in 2:28:01.
On Sunday, she shattered her personal best, and received some serious cash for her efforts. She was awarded $25,000 and a new Honda CRV for winning the women's race.
She also took home the big prize of $100,000, which goes to the first person of either gender to cross the finish line. Based on the all-time results of the top seven runners from each gender, the elite women's runners were given a head start of 17 minutes and 31 seconds.
However, Sado didn't need that big of an advantage. The young Ethiopian ran a near-perfect race, and it's almost scary to think of how good she'll be when she gets some more experience under her belt.
With the Summer Olympics and more high-profile marathons on the horizon, you can expect to hear plenty more about Fatuma Sado in the coming months.
Top 5 Women’s Results
Fatuma Sado, 2:25:39
Misiker Mekonnin, 2:28:09
Yeshimebet Tadesse, 2:30:46
Iwona Lewandowska, 2:31:17
Tetyana Mezentseva, 2:31:20
Top 5 Men’s Results
Simon Njoroge, 2:12:11
Weldon Kirui, 2:13:41
Dereje Yadete, 2:13:45
Justin Patananan, 2:13:49
Stephen Muange, 2:15:35