Lisbon — Living up to pre-race expectations, Vivian Cheruyiot shattered the course record at the EDP Lisbon Half Marathon on Sunday, clocking one hour, 6 minutes and 34 seconds, lowering compatriot Rose Chelimo's 1:08:22 record set in 2015.
On an almost perfect day with just some slight winds for the runners to contend with, Cheruyiot, the 2016 Olympic 5000m champion, ran on her own from the 10km point en route to her victory and she ended up improving her personal best of 1:07:43 set at last year's Great North Run.
At Friday's pre-race press conference, Cheruyiot promised to mount an assault on her personal best - and she followed through.
"It was a good race for me," she said. "Only the strong wind made me run slower. I raced to beat my personal best, and I'm happy. It was a great test the London Marathon, next month."
Ethiopian Zeineba Yimer (road running world rank: 13) was second, more than a minute after the winner in 01:08:07.
Debutante Sandra Tuei Felis rounded out the podium in 1:08.14 with countrywoman Linet Masai further back, clocking 1:08:51 for fourth, and another Kenyan debutante, Caroline Chepkemoi came next in 1:09:13.
The men's race was different, with a strong group of 14 still in contention until the 15th kilometre. The action began after that; three kilometres later Geremew (marathon world rank: 4) broke away and took the lead for good en route to his victory in 59:37, not far off of his 59:11 personal best set in 2014.
"I'm not in the best shape and I didn't run well," Geremew offered. "Even so I'm happy with this win, a perfect test for my race in the London Marathon in April.
He was the first of 14 men to reach the line in under 61 minutes. His compatriot Berehanu Wendim Tsegu was second in 59:42, an impressive debut. Kenyan Isaac Temoi was third in 59:44, also a personal best.
-Jepkosgei reigns Supreme in New York
Elsewhere, Joyciline Jepkosgei and unheralded Belay Tilahun of Ethiopia won their New York City racing debuts at the 2019 United Airlines NYC Half on Sunday.
Jepkosgei, the half marathon world record-holder, won her first-ever race in the United States on a solo run to the finish in a time of 1:10:07. The world championship silver medallist in the distance became the sixth woman from Kenya to win the event, and the first to do so since 2014.
"This season I am preparing to debut in the marathon, and this was a great half marathon to see how my body feels," Jepkosgei said.
Fellow Kenyan Mary Ngugi came through the finish line one minute later in 1:11:07 to take second place, 15-hundredths of a second ahead of last year's champion, Ethiopia's Buze Diriba.
Tilahun, a 24-year-old member of West Side Runners, recorded his surprise victory in a time of 1:02:10 with an exciting kick through the final two miles.
Eritrea's Daniel Mesfun finished second in 1:02:16 after leading for the majority of the race, while U.S. Olympic silver medallist Paul Chelimo took third in 1:02:19 in his half-marathon debut.
-Kenyans dominate in Seoul
In Korea, Kenyan Thomas Kiplagat Rono of Kenya and Desi Jisa Mokonin of Bahrain took convincing victories at the Seoul Marathon.
Kiplagat led four men under the 2:07 mark, clocking 2:06:00 to win his third career marathon. The 32-year-old knocked nearly two minutes from his previous lifetime best of 2:07:52 set at the 2014 edition of the Joongang Marathon, Seoul's annual autumn marathon.
Elisha Kipchirchir Rotich was second in 2:06:12, a massive improvement on his previous best of 2:07:32, set when winning the Eindhoven Marathon last October.
Mike Kiptum Boit rounded out the podium sweep for Kenya, clocking 2:06:24 to beat Ethiopian Fikre Bekele who clocked 2:06:27, career bests for both.
-Kipsaat, Maiyo win in Taipei
And finally in Taipei, Kenyans Mathew Kipsaat and Naomi Jepkogei Maiyo ran to race record performances at the New Taipei City Wan Jin Shi Marathon.
Kipsaat ran comfortably in a four-man lead pack until the 29th kilometre when he decided to forge on alone en route to a 2:11:17 victory to smash the previous race record of 2:13:05 set by William Chebon Chebor in 2016.
"I feel very happy to break the record," said Kipsaat, who added the win here to his victory at the 2017 Las Palmas Marathon. I hope I will be invited back next year, and I will keep improving my time." His personal best is 2:09:19, set at the 2017 Rome Marathon.
Kipsaat ran well, building an 18-second lead by the 30th kilometre, extending it to more than a minute by kilometre 35 and to more than two minutes by kilometre 40.
Philip Cheruiyot Kangogo (marathon world rank: 299) was a distant second in 2:13:57 with Alex Chepkwik Saekwo (marathon world rank: 241) clocking 2:15:18.
In the women's race, Maiyo was more patient.
A lead group of five reached the midway point in 1:16:58, with Maiyo finally making her decisive move after the 35th kilometre. She was 38 seconds clear of Meseret Sisay by kilometre 40 and added to it over the waning stages before crossing the line in 2:34:08 to clip 45 seconds from the previous course record.
"I prepared to run good before the race, but didn't expect to break record," said Maiyo, who set her lifetime best of 2:31:31 in Cape Town in 2017.
Sisay was second in 2:34:51 with Ednah Mukhwana third clocking 2:35:01.