Lucy Kabuu blasted to the second fastest ever time as Geoffrey Kipsang sealed the Kenyan double during the lucrative Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in the UAE on Friday.
Kabuu completed the course in 1:06:09 that is only second to compatriot Mary Keitany's 1:50:50 ran at the same race in 2011 to prove her mettle ahead of a second assault at the London Marathon on April 21.
In the men's race of the seventh edition of the lucrative race, Kipsang who opted out of the KCB National Cross Country Championships to compete at the seventh edition of the event will not regret after topping a loaded field in 58:54.
The Kenyan strength in depth was underlined as they took the top three positions in each elite contest, though the contrasting nature of the two races could hardly have been greater.
The women started on world record tempo (5k in 15:35, 10k in 31:18) then slowed slightly, while the men set off cautiously (5k in 14:04, 10k in 28:13) but picked up to run substantial negative splits (first 10k 28:13, second 10k 27:50!).
But the resulting times were of similar calibre with both races showing unprecedented quality amongst the top results; the first five men dipped under the hour, including for the first time ever, the first three coming home under 59 minutes, while the first four women went under 1:07:00.
Behind Kabuu, Olympics marathon silver winner, Priscah Jeptoo with 1:06:11 not only set a personal best by over four minutes but also became the third fastest in history.
Rita Jeptoo in third (1:06:27) slotted in to fifth position on the all-time list. In fourth, Meseret Hailu with 1:06:56 set an Ethiopian record.
Kipsang's personal best, which itself was just two seconds shy of the 59:52 course record of Patrick Makau set in 2009 with runner-up and Paris Marathon titleholder, Stanley Biwott's 58:56 also a huge personal best.
Third placed Geoffrey Mutai, with 58:58, also became a member of the exclusive sub-59 minute club with his best ever by 32 seconds; for him, it augurs well for his London Marathon challenge.
Just like Kipsang, Mutai who was second at the Kenya Police Cross Championships opted out of the Trials for the March 24 World Cross in Punta Umbria.
- Sourced from organisers
1. Geoffrey Kipsang (KEN) 58:54
2. Stanley Biwott (KEN) 58:56
3. Geoffrey Mutai (KEN) 58:58
4. Feyisa Lilesa (ETH) 59:25
5. Stephen Kibet (KEN) 59:59
6. Joel Kimurer (KEN) 1:00:026
7. Getu Feleke (ETH) 1:00:26
8. Edwin Kipyego (KEN) 1:00:54
9. Daniel Wanjiru (KEN) 1:01:10
10. Pius Maiyo Kirop (KEN) 1:01:25
1. Lucy Kabuu (KEN) 1:06:09
2. Priscah Jeptoo (KEN) 1:06:11
3. Rita Jeptoo (KEN) 1:06:27
4. Meseret Hailu (ETH) 1:06:56
5. Florence Kiplagat (KEN) 1:07:13
6. Helah Kiprop (KEN) 1:07:39
7. Meselech Melkamu (ETH) 1:08:05
8. Paskalia Kipkoech (KEN) 1:08:08
9. Feyse Tadese (ETH) 1:08:35
10. Ashu Kasim (ETH)1:08:56