Kipchoge’s record falls as Kenyans struggle in Barcelona


Women's winner Tejitu Daba (centre) with runner-up Dibabe Kuma (left) and third-placed Salome Nyirarukundo (right) ...
Women's winner Tejitu Daba (centre) with runner-up Dibabe Kuma (left) and third-placed Salome Nyirarukundo (right) at the Barcelona Half Marathon (PHOTO/IAAF/Organisers)

In Summary

  • Kenyan runners posted disappointing results at the Barcelona Half Marathon as defending champion Leonard Langat relinquished his title
  • Ethiopian Mule Wasihun won in 59:44, shaving 20 seconds off the previous course record set five years ago by Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge

Kenyan runners posted disappointing results at the eDreams Mitja Marato Barcelona (Barcelona Half Marathon) on Sunday afternoon with defending champion Leonard Langat relinquishing his title to Mule Wasihun.

Langat finished a distant fifth as the Ethiopian took an overwhelming victory in 59:44, shaving 20 seconds off the previous course record set five years ago by Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge.

The men’s race kicked off with the thermometer barely reaching 4C but that was no barrier for a brisk early pace as pacemaker Alex Kibarus led the main group to a 14:23 five-kilometre split.

By then seven men remained at the front: the Ethiopian duo of Wasihun and Azmeraw Mengistu, the Ugandan pair of Moses Kurong and Abdallah Mande, the Kenyan tandem of Meshack Koech and last year’s winner Leonard Langat and Switzerland’s Julien Wanders, who ran closest to the pacer.

The following five-kilometre section was a bit faster and the leaders reached 10 kilometres in 28:36, still a few seconds outside the course record schedule.

By then, Connor had slightly reduced the gap to the main group to 17 seconds but  Briton Luke Traynor, timed at 29:18, had lost ground.

Once the pacesetter left, Wanders took command of the race. Mengistu could not live with his pace and the heading group was whittled down to six men by the time they reached 15 kilometres in 42:47.

Shortly afterwards, eventual victor Wasihun – a creditable 2:05:39 marathon performer last October in Amsterdam – made his move and easily broke away thanks to a frantic 14:01 split on the slightly uphill section of the race.

Within a matter of 300 metres, he had built a 20-second advantage over Wanders and Kurong while Mande, Langat and Koech travelled another four seconds in arrears.

At the tape, the Ethiopian secured a course record of 59:44 to improve on his previous best of 1:00:08 while Wanders fiercely battled with Kurong for the runner-up spot which he finally managed in a huge PB and Swiss record of 1:00:09. Kurong had to settle for the third place on the podium, one second in arrears.

Further behind, Connor had joined a fading Mengistu before the 20-kilometre point, but the Ethiopian eventually prevailed over the Briton (1:01:10 vs 1:01:12), a massive three-minute improvement for Connor, whose compatriots Traynor (1:01:57, PB too) and Jonny Mellor (1:03:17) completed the top 10.

The women’s race was not any better as  lone Kenyan representative Susan Kipsang also finished fifth 1 hour 12 minutes and 28 seconds behind  Bahraini Tejitu Daba.

Daba prevailed over  Ethiopian Dibabe Kuma by one second to take the race honours in 1:08:36 and 1:08:37. As Salome Nyirarukundo of Rwanda finished third in 1:08:48, taking almost three minutes off her own national record.

-Material sourced from iaaf.org

LEADING RESULTS

Men

1 Mule Wasihun (ETH) 59:44

2 Julien Wanders (SUI) 1:00:09

3 Moses Kurong (UGA) 1:00:10

4 Abdallah Mande (UGA) 1:00:18

5 Leonard Langat (KEN) 1:00:20

6 Meshack Koech (KEN) 1:01:05

7 Azmeraw Mengistu (ETH) 1:01:10

8 Ben Connor (GBR) 1:01:12

9 Luke Traynor (GBR) 1:01:57

10 Jonny Mellor (GBR) 1:03:17

Women

1 Tejitu Daba (BRN) 1:08:36

2 Dibabe Kuma (ETH) 1:08:37

3 Salome Nyirarukundo (RWA) 1:08:48

4 Mimi Belete (BRN) 1:09:26

5 Failuna Matanga (TAN) 1:09:36

6 Susan Kipsang (KEN) 1:12:28

7 Sonia Samuels (GBR) 1:12:40

8 Katrina Wootton (GBR) 1:12:50

9 Mekdes Woldu (ERI) 1:12:53

10 Corina Harrer (GER) 1:13:21

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Story By Charity Wanja
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