Double world champion Kimberly Garcia commenced her 2023 campaign with a stellar performance on Saturday (25), breaking the 35km race walk world record with a time of 2:37:44* at the Dudinska 50, the first World Athletics Race Walking Tour Gold meeting of the year.
The Peruvian race walker demonstrated a solo effort from the early stages, initially joining a small lead group in the first kilometer before breaking away just minutes later. Upon reaching the 5km mark in 22:41, she had secured a 16-second lead over Chinese competitors Liu Hong and Ma Li.
By the 15km point, Garcia’s lead had grown to over a minute, with four-time world champion Liu and compatriot Ma still neck and neck. World silver medalist Katarzyna Zdzieblo trailed by an additional minute in fourth place.
Ma began to lose contact with Liu around the 18km mark, but Garcia maintained her consistent splits, reaching 20km in 1:29:58. With 10km remaining, her lead over Liu had increased to 84 seconds, while Wu Quanming started to close the gap on Chinese teammate Ma.
Garcia achieved a 30km time of 2:15:10, nearly two minutes ahead of Liu, who held a secure second place. Wu had advanced to third place by this stage, but Ecuador’s Magaly Bonilla was quickly closing in.
Unstoppable, Garcia sustained her relentless pace and crossed the finish line in 2:37:44, shaving two seconds off the previous fastest time for the distance.
Liu, making her debut at this distance, followed more than two minutes later in 2:40:06, earning an Asian record. Bonilla secured third place with an Ecuadorian record of 2:46:32, while a fading Wu held onto fourth (2:47:34).
In other events, Mexico’s Jose Doctor won the men’s 35km with a national record of 2:26:37, and Brazil’s Caio Bonfim finished second (2:27:30). In the day’s closest finish, 2017 world champion Eider Arevalo of Colombia claimed victory in the men’s 20km with a time of 1:19:23, while double world bronze medalist Perseus Karlstrom trailed by 21 seconds. Mexico’s Alegna Gonzalez won the women’s 20km race in 1:28:09, achieving a victory margin of over two minutes ahead of Puerto Rico’s Rachelle de Orbeta.