Tigist Assefa: Running Form Analysis of Her World Record Run

Tigist Assefa: Analysis of Her World Record Setting Running Form

In the 2023 Berlin marathon Tigist Assefa finished faster than any other woman ever before. Less than two hours and 12 minutes after the gun went off she made it across the finish line.

She obliterated the previous world record by over two minutes in a time of 2 hours 11 minutes and 53 seconds.

Check out our youtube video for an in-depth analyis of this world-record setting running form. If you prefer to read then read on for the transcript below.

One of the first things to notice is her cadence of 185 steps / minute. Combined with her step length this provides the speed for her to run 3:07 / km splits or 5:01 mile splits. Tigist Assefa got started in running as an 800 meter specialist. This may explain her effortless cadence.

Tigit Assefa Cadence - Running Form -  Berlin 2023

Let’s next look at Tigist Assefa’s footstrike pattern. In the slowed down footage you can see that she presents a mid-foot landing, landing her feet at about two to 5 degrees. 

Tigit Assefa Foot Strike Berlin 2023 - Running Form

Mid-foot strikes help with a short ground contact time while not putting as much stain on the achilles tendon as a forefoot landing would.

Next let’s look where she lands with her foot and how much of a “sweep” she generate.

Tigit extends her shank to around fifteen degrees and then moves her body forward fast enough to land with an angle of less than 5 degrees, giving her 10 degrees of sweep with every footstrike and landing relatively close to her body’s center of mass.

Tigit Assefa Shank Angle - Running Form -  Berlin 2023

Tigits head thorax and hip are aligned in a straight line, which indicates good posture.

During the stance phase her lean is at an ideal 7 degrees, and she is not moving her upper body much forward or backward conserving energy.

Tigit Assefa - Forward Lean - Running Form -  Berlin 2023

Contrary to what many runners believe 90 degrees is not the optimal angle to bend your arms for long distance running. A tighter angle will help with a higher cadence and Tigist Aseffa presents an arm angle of less than 60 degrees.

Finally Tigist Aseffa also controls her arm movement well. Her backward swing ends with her wrist at her center line and her forward swing ends with her elbow next to her chest. 

This way she avoids spending extra energy from an exaggerated arm swing.

Tigit Assefa - Arm movement - Running Form -  Berlin 2023

Tigis Assefa was running her world record run in a brand new Adidas super shoe, which only weighs 138 grams and has a new midsole construction.

While shoes certainly help with running form and energy expenditure there are many factors that go into a world record from pacing to weather and this should not detract from the awesomeness of her record.

If you’d like to learn more about the link between super shoes and running form check out this article.

And of course If you’d like an in-depth analysis of your own running form then sign up today at Movaia.com!