Valencia, Spain, October 28—On a course that’s rapidly getting the reputation as the place to go for fast half-marathon times, Abraham Kiptum took down the World Record with his 58:18 to win the Medio Maratón de Valencia Trinidad Alfonso.
Running with the pack for the first 10K, the 29-year-old Kenyan hit 5K segments of 13:56 and 14:06 13:38 before breaking away with a pair of back-to-back 13:38s and then covering the last 1100m in 3:00. Organizers confirmed that they hadn’t been aiming at a World Record, asking the pacemakers to hit the first 10K in 27:50. They missed that, hitting 28:02. But no one foresaw Kiptum—who has a 10K PR of 27:44—being able to add a 27:16 to that.
He passed 20K in 55:18, bettering the world best—the IAAF no longer recognizes it as a Record event—by 3 seconds. He then covered the final stretch in an even 3 minutes to take down Zersenay Tadese’s 8-year-old World Record of 58:23.
“I can’t believe it, I’m over the moon,” said the happy winner, whose previous best was 59:09. “Obviously I knew I was in good shape because I set a PB last month in Copenhagen but I was eager to run in Valencia because it’s one of the flattest circuits I’ve ever run and I was confident of improving on my best.”
In Kiptum’s slipstream came Ethiopian Jemal Yimer in 58:33, No. 3 ever, and his countryman Abadi Hadis, whose 58:44 moved him to a tie for No. 8 on the all-time list. In 5th, Kenyan teenager Stephen Kiprop moved to No. 2 on the all-time Junior list, his 59:21 missing the WJR by just 5 seconds.
The women’s race, which produced a World Record for Joyciline Jepkosgei last year, saw a sprint finish for Ethiopian Gelete Burka, whose 66:11 overcame the front-running tactics of Alia Mohammed Saeed of the UAE, who clocked 66:13 in her debut at the distance. Kenya’s Edith Chelimo, the pre-race favorite, finished 3rd in 66:18.
VALENCIA HALF-MARATHON RESULTS
Valencia, Spain, October 28—
1. Abraham Kiptum (Ken) 58:18 WR (old WR 58:23 Zersenay Tadese [Eri] ’10) (leader splits: 13:56, 14:06 [28:02], 13:38 [41:40—Kiptum leading here after moving ahead after 10K], 13:38 [55:18 WR—old WR 55:21 Tadese ’10], 3:00);
2. Jemal Yimer (Eth) 58:33 PR (=3, =4 W); 3. Abadi Hadis (Eth) 58:44 PR (=8, =9 W);
4. Andamlak Belihu (Eth) 59:19;
5. Stephen Kiprop (Ken) 59:21 PR (WJL) (2, 2 WJ);
6. Bernard Kipkorir Ngeno (Ken) 59:22 PR; 7. El Hassan Elabassi (Mor) 59:27 PR; 8. Simon Cheprot (Ken) 59:28; 9. Abel Kipchumba (Ken) 59:29 PR; 10. Josphat Boit (Ken) 59:42.
1. Gelete Burka (Eth) 66:11 PR; 2. Alia Mohammed Saeed (UAE) 66:13 PR (debut); 3. Edith Chelimo (Ken) 66:18; 4. Pauline Korikwiang (Ken) 66:31 PR; 5. Diana Chemtai Kipyogei (Ken) 67:07 PR; 6. Bekelech Gudeta (Eth) 67:48; 7. Yeshi Kalayu Chekole (Eri) 67:58 PR; 8. Helen Bekele Tola (Eth) 68:39; 9. Risper Chebet (Ken) 70:02; 10. Karoline Nadolska (Pol) 70:43.