Off-Track Digest — More Road & XC Highlights

SEPARATE REPORTS ELSEWHERE cover NCAA XC, the NYC Marathon and Letesenbet Gidey’s destruction of the women’s half-marathon WR. Elsewhere off the track:

USATF 5K Titles To Hunter & Kelati

Drew Hunter outdashed Matthew Centrowitz and everybody else for the USATF 5K title. (STEVE FREEMAN/NYRR)

Drew Hunter topped Matthew Centrowitz in a mad climax to take the USATF 5K title at the Abbot Dash To The Finish Line in New York City (November 06). An early lead by Paul Chelimo (who faded to 16th in 14:08) and an early kick from Centro did not throw off Hunter’s timing. “I thought Matt was going to blast me, but he didn’t,” he told Race Results Weekly.

Hunter’s 13:53 bested Centro and Sydney Gidabuday who both ran the same time, as well as Graham Crawford (13:54), Eric Avila (13:55) and three more who ran 13:56.

Rookie roadie Weini Kelati left nothing to suspense, taking the women’s title in 15:18, with runner-up Grace Barnett a far-back 15:45, just ahead of Erika Kemp (15:46), Natosha Rogers (15:48) and Gwen Jorgensen (15:50).

Said Kelati, “I’ve been working out with the guys, so if I can keep up with them, why not just push it from the beginning? That’s what I did.”


Kiplimo Nips Half-Marathon WR

Running in Lisbon on November 21, just a week after his 21st birthday, Jacob Kiplimo further cemented his place among the world’s best distance runners by producing a half-marathon World Record of 57:31 in what was essentially a solo run from 3K on.

The bronze medalist in the Olympic 10,000, the Ugandan left the field behind at 3K and passed 5K in 13:40. He sped up to hit 10K in 27:05 and reached the 15K and 20K posts in the fastest ever recorded, 40:27 and 54:29. If the splits are accurate, as yet undetermined, those crushed the 41:05 and 55:00 set by Kenyan Geoffrey Kamworor in Copenhagen in ’19.

“With one kilometer to go, I knew that I was going to break the WR,” he said. “When I was on the final straight and saw the clock, I gave it all I had and told myself I had to sprint fast to reach the finish line.”

It was enough to slice a second from the 57:32 that Kenyan Kibiwott Kandie set in Valencia in ’20.

Kiplimo finished more than 2:00 clear of the field, with Ethiopian Esa Huseyidin Mohamed 2nd in 59:39. Tsehay Gemechu won the women’s race in 66:06.


WA World Cross Country Tour

The first 5 Gold-level races of the international federation’s 14-race high-end harrier series are in the books:

Cardiff, Wales; October 16 — The series opened up with a nearly all-British affair. Hugo Milner bested Ethiopian Omar Ahmed in the men’s 9.6K, 27:18–27:20. In the women’s 6.4K, Charlotte Arter ran 20:11 for the win over training mate Jenny Nesbitt (20:15).

Amorebieta, Spain; October 24 — Eritrea’s Awet Habte handily won the men’s 8.7K in 25:54, lodging a 13-second margin on Spain’s Ouassim Oumaiz. The women’s 6.7K saw Burundi’s Francine Niyomukunzi edge Eritrean Dolshi Tesfu, 22:39–22:40.

Soria, Spain; October 31 — Burundi’s Rodrigue Kwizéra survived the 1100m altitude, combined with wind and rain, to capture the men’s 10K in 28:57, with Ugandan Thomas Ayeko 2nd in 29:04. In the women’s 8K race, Kenya’s Lucy Mawia Muli surprised herself to beat Ethiopian Likini Amebaw Ayel, 27:22–27:29.
Atapuerca, Spain; November 14 — Eritreans won both races here, as Aron Kifle built a solid lead on the final lap of the 9K course and held on to upend Kwizéra by a second in 28:33. The women’s race went to surprising Rahel Daniel Ghebreneyohannes in a come-from-behind 25:03 for 8K. Beatrice Chebet led a strong Kenyan contingent in 25:04.

Seville, Spain; November 21 — Steepler Norah Jeruto stayed in front from the start, edging fellow Kenyan Margaret Chelimo 24:22-24:23 over the 7.9K women’s course. In the men’s 10.1K, Kwizéra kicked best to edge Tadese Worku of Ethiopia and win his third race in the series, 28:33–28:34. ◻︎

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