Kenya's Abraham Kiptum breaks world half marathon record in Valencia
Abraham Kiptum of Kenya is the new world half marathon record holder in 58:18.
Kiptum smashed the 58:23 world record held by Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese since 2010 after winning the Valencia Half Marathon on Sunday.
The two-time Lagos Marathon champion made the historic win, one year after another Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei broke the women’s world record at the Medio Maratón de Valencia Trinidad Alfonso.
Ethiopian Jemal Yimer clocked 58:33 to settle in the second place as his compatriot Abadi Hadis came in third in 58:44 in the Spanish race.
Last month, Kiptum ran 59:09 at the Copenhagen half marathon, but he played second fiddle to Daniel Kipchumba who cut the tape in 59:06.
Boosted by the crowd and fully aware that he was close to world record schedule, Kiptum kept on pushing hard to open a sizeable margin over the Ethiopian pair.
Kiptum reached 20 kilometres in 55:18 to take three seconds off Tadese’s previous world best of 55:21 set on his way to his world half marathon world record.
Kenyans Stephen Kiprop, Bernard Kipkorir, Simon Cheprot, Abel Kipchumba and Mangata Ndiwa settled on the fifth to ninth places respectively in the 21k race.
Having covered the second 10-kilometre section in 27:16, Kiptum strode home in 58:18 to bring the world record back to his country’s possession, Samuel Wanjiru being his predecessor in 2007 (58:35). Valencia, meanwhile, is now the venue of both men’s and women’s world records.
Runner-up Yimer also destroyed his previous career best of 59:00 as he was timed at 58:31 to move to third on the world all-time list while 21-year-old Hadis clocked 58:43, lowering his best by almost two minutes.
At Saturday’s technical meeting it was confirmed that the men’s pacemakers would reach the 10km point in 27:50 to target a finishing time just inside 59 minutes, but there wasn’t any talk of a possible world record assault.
On a perfect day for endurance events (a slight wind and 11C), the race opened according to the plan with the main pack passing the opening five kilometres in 13:56. By 10 kilometres, the pace had dropped slightly as the 15-man lead pack went through that checkpoint in 28:02.
But shortly afterwards the long-legged Kiptum broke away from the rest of the pack with incredible ease and began to cover each kilometre in a stunning 2:44.
The 15-kilometre split of 41:40 – just seven seconds slower than Tadese’s equivalent split from his world record run – suggested that Kiptumwas on course to break his PB of 59:09 set six weeks ago in Copenhagen. Ethiopia’s Jemal Yimer was still just two seconds behind Kiptum, and his compatriot Abadi Hadi, the world cross-country bronze medallist, was in third, another second in arrears.
2018 Valencia Half Marathon results
1 Abraham Kiptum (KEN) 58:18
2 Jemal Yimer (ETH) 58:33
3 Abadi Hadis (ETH) 58:44
1 Gelete Burka (ETH) 1:06:11
2 Alia Mohammed Saeed (UAE) 1:06:13
3 Edith Chelimo (KEN) 1:06:18
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