Kamworor shines in Valencia World Half as Kenya bags bronze


Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor, winner of the 2014 world half marathon title in Copenhagen (PHOTO/Getty Images)
(FILE)Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor, winner of the 2014 world half marathon title in Copenhagen (PHOTO/Getty Images)

In Summary

  • New York Marathon title holder Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor completed a hat-trick at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, after winning in Valencia on Saturday.
  • The two-time IAAF World Cross Country champion ran a well calculated race to set a season best (SB) of one hour, 00.02 seconds. 
  • Kenya also won a bronze team title

New York Marathon title holder Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor completed a hat-trick at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, after winning in Valencia – Spain on Saturday evening as Ethiopian Netsanet Gudeta Kebede took the women’s title.

Kamworor, the two-time IAAF World Cross Country champion ran a well calculated race to set a season best (SB) of one hour, 00.02 seconds.

The 2015 Beijing World Championships 10,000m silver medalist finished 20 seconds ahead of Kenyan born Baharaini Abraham Naibei Cheroben, who took the runners up position in 1:00.22(SB), as Eritrian Aron Kifle took the second runners up place in 1:00.31.

The men’s race started about 25 minutes later with the hitherto two time World Half Marathon title holder Kamworor leading the hunt, in search for a hatrick.

Kamworor, the WHM Cardiff title holder stayed tacked in the leading pack as they crossed the 5km marker in 14:33 with a projected finish of 1:01:00+ .

They  crossed 10km in 29:28 with a group of six at the front, lead by Turkey’s Kaan Kigen Ozbilen and defending champion Kamworor, as the chasing pack of 28 passed through in 29:30.

The 25-year-old  Kamworor,  pulled away after the 15k point and stratched a 70-metre lead as he entered the race’s 52nd minute.

After a the sluggish first half, Kamworor looked to be heading for a sub-one hour performance, which was  impressive, given that the race didn’t really start until after 15 kilometres. There were some 30 men within two seconds at that point, before Kamworor began to pull away.

On the way to the tape, the all surface talented star stopped the timer at  1:00:02, after smiling and blowing kisses to fans on his way to the tape.

Kenya also won a bronze team title after 2015 World X-Country silver medalist Leonard Barsoton and Barselius Kipyego crossed the finish line in 1:01.14 and 1:01.24 ranking 12 and 15 respectively. Ethiopia took home gold as Baharain settled for silver in the overall teams ranking.

Jepkosgei takes silver

Ethiopian Netsanet Gudeta Kebede won the women’s race in 1 hour 6 minutes and 10 seconds and set a women’s only world record. Kenyans Joyciline Jepkosgei settled for silver after clocking 1:06.54 as Pauline Kaveke Kamululu took bronze after stopping the timer at  1:06.56 .

Joyciline Jepkosgei wins the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon (PHOTO/Organisers/Jiro Mochizuki)

The women’s  was scheduled to start 20 minutes before the men’s race . Eight minutes in the race, Jepkosgei, the world record holder, along with teammates Ruth Chepngetich and Pauline Kamulu were going strong. But they were being shadowed closely by the Ethiopian quintet and the top Bahrainis.

A pack of about 12 athletes   passed the 3-kilometre mark in 9:21 with Jepkosgei leading at the front. She dominated the next two kilometres to cross the 5Km mark in 15:39.A  second ahead of the 15:38 Lornah Kiplagat ran in her women’s only race world record at these championships in 2007. The fast pace to a toil on World champion , Kenyan born Baharaini Rose Chelimo who started dropping off from the leading pack.

At 10 KM mark , Jepkosgei was still at the front controlling the race as the pack reduced from 12 to just four.  Jepkosgei and Netsanet Gudeta Kebede of Ethiopia went shoulder-for-shoulder followed by Eunice Chumba of Bahrain fourth and Meseret Belete crossing the barrier in 31:38.

At the 15km mark, Jepkosgei struggled to maintain contact with the Ethiopian, Natsanet Gudeta Kebede  and her teammate Pauline Kamulu.

Kebede  poured it on, running alone at the front, extending her lead with each stride. She passed the  15km mark in 47:30, four seconds ahead of Kamulu and eight seconds ahead of  Jepkosgei.

With the title clearly hers to grab, Kebede opened  a lead of about 20 seconds,  to pass 20k in 1:02:53, four seconds inside Lornah Kiplagat’s WR pace.

While Kenyans were down to three competitors  after RAK Half Marathon winner Fancy Chemutai and Mary Wacera picked injuries days before the race.

Material from the IAAF.ORG was used to compile this report.

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Story By Charity Wanja
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