2 More Road Records In The Year Of The Shoe

Unheralded Ababel Yeshaneh crushed the World Record at the RAK Half-Marathon. (GIANCARLO COLOMBO/PHOTO RUN)

SUPERSHOES CONTINUE to work their magic on the macadam, with another pair of World Records in the year’s early going.


5K In 12:51 For Joshua Cheptegei

The official 5K World Record, the subject of criticism because at 13:18 it hardly represented a world class effort, was obliterated as Joshua Cheptegei blistered a 12:51 on the streets of Monaco (February 16). The 23-year-old Ugandan, who won the track 10,000 world title last fall, lowered the road 10K standard to 26:38 (since broken) in December.

He wasted no time here, hitting his first kilo in 2:31, and following up with splits of 2:35, 2:36, 2:35 and 2:32. With a track best of 12:57.41, he said, “I had sub-13 in my mind today so when my legs felt good during the race I decided to really go for it. To take this many seconds off the record makes me very happy and is a great first test for me in an important season.”

Not only did his performance slice 27 seconds off the ratified best, but it is also faster than the best before the race became a record distance, 13:00. The runner-up was France’s Jimmy Gressier, who set a European Record of 13:18.


Half-Marathon In 64:31 For Yeshaneh Ababel

The women’s World Record fell hard at the RAK Half-Marathon (Ra’s al Khaymah, United Arab Emirates, February 21), with both Ethiopia’s Yeshaneh Ababel and Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei going under the old mark.

Following a male pacemaker, marathon WR holder Kosgei led for the first half of the race, hitting 5K in 15:07 in a pack of 10. By 10K (30:18), it was only Kosgei and Ababel left in contention. They hit 15K in 45:38 and a mile later, Ababel pulled away. She hit 20K in a PR 61:12 and stopped the 13.1M clock at 64:31, a World Record by 20 seconds. Kosgei faded, but her 64:49 also edged the old best of 64:51 set by Joyciline Jepkosgei in ’17. In 3rd, in her debut at the distance, Rosemary Wanjiru of Kenya hit 65:34.

“I didn’t imagine this result,” said Ababel. “I am a World Record holder!” The 28-year-old, who was runner-up in the Chicago Marathon last fall, has been a pure roadie following a 14th in the Rio 5000.

The men’s race saw Kibiwot Kandie, winner of the Kenyan cross country nationals 6 days earlier, clock a world-leading 58:58 PR to lead 5 under the hour mark. ◻︎

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