Florence Kiplagat returned to Barcelona and improved on her own half-marathon mark at the Mitja Marató de Barcelona on Sunday.
Her winning time of 1:05:09 shaved three seconds off her previous world record set 12 months ago.
In contrast to the wind and rain battering much of the rest of Spain, Kiplagat’s bid to improve her record on the fast and flat course in the Catalan city benefited hugely from almost perfect conditions, with slightly overcast skies and temperatures hovering about 10 degrees Celsius.
Helped by male pacemakers Marc Roig and her compatriot Ezekiel Kipchirchir, she passed through 10km in 31:01, eight seconds up on her pace from last year.
By 15km, she was still on course to achieve her ambition of being the first woman to run faster than 65 minutes for the half marathon.
Despite slowing slightly over the final kilometres, she passed 20km in 1:01:54, which took two seconds off that world record for the distance, which she also set in the same race last year as an intermediate time, before hanging on to add a second world record and finishing 12th overall in the race.
Ireland’s Elizabeth Lee was a distant second in the women’s race in 1:14:06.
Switzerland’s Tadesse Abraham was a surprise winner of the men’s race in a national record of 1:00:42.
Abraham held off the Ethiopian pair of Getu Feleke and Azmerew Mengistu, who were second and third in 1:00:45 and 1:00:48 respectively.
Two of the pre-race long favourites, Kenya’s two-time world marathon champion Abel Kirui and marathon star Emmanuel Mutai, fared less well.
Kirui came home sixth in 1:01:22 while Mutai had a day to forget and finished eighth in 1:03:13.
Elsewhere, World junior mountain-running champion Phillip Kipyeko convincingly outwitted defending champion Moses Kipsiro at the National Cross Country Championships in the eastern town of Jinja, Uganda, on Saturday.
Former 10,000m national record-holder Juliet Chekwel emerged the champion in the senior women’s race while Joshua Cheptegei and Stella Chesang retained their junior titles.
Breaking away from pre-race favourite Kipsiro was not an easy task for Kipyeko. It was only during the final 30 metres when the final kick decided the fate of the 12km senior men’s race.
The two broke off from the leading pack in the last 4km in a neck-and-neck encounter until Kipsiro could no longer hold on to Kipyeko, who claimed his first major senior title after turning 20 this year.
“It was a tough race and I could not imagine beating Kipsiro because he is known to possess a very good final kick,” said Kipyeko, who last year won the national junior 8km title. “I also attribute this victory to my achievement at the World Mountain Running Championships. It motivated me a lot ahead of this event. I now have the huge task of preparing for the World Cross in Guiyang.”
Kipsiro, the 2009 World Cross Country silver medallist, is happy that Uganda will be fielding a stronger senior men’s team at next month’s IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
“I am used to losing anyway,” said the 2007 world 5,000m bronze medallist. “It was a good and competitive race, better than last year. It’s also good for young ones to challenge the seniors – that is how they will gain experience, especially at a time when Uganda is heading towards hosting the 2017 World Cross Country Championships.
“As hosts of this prestigious world event, we need to win gold and this team is becoming stronger and stronger. We need to prepare well for China as a dress rehearsal for 2017,” added Kipsiro.
Courtesy of in2eastafrica.net