Kenyans Break Record in Prague Race

8 September 2019

Once again, the all-time 10km lists underwent major revision at the Birell Prague 10km, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on Saturday

In the women's race, both winner Sheila Chepkirui and runner-up Dorcas Kimeli, who finished just half a step behind, were credited with 29:57 performances to become just the second and third women to cover the distance in under 30 minutes.

Only their Kenyan compatriot Joyciline Jepkosgei, who set the 29:43 world record on this same course in 2017, has run faster.

In the men's race, Geoffrey Koech fought off Mathew Kimeli in the waning stages to reach the finish line in a world-leading 27:02, equalling the legendary Haile Gebrselassie as the fourth fastest man ever. Kimeli clocked 27:07, to move up to No. 7 all-time.

The women were off to a blazing start, with Chepkirui, Kimeli and Norah Jeruto, better known as a standout steeplechase, reaching the midway point in 14:46, a pending world record, with Fancy Chemutai another second back.

That group was soon winnowed down to just Chepkirui and Kimeli who fought it out until the closing metres when Chepkirui finally prevailed by about half a second.

"The second five kilometres was very hard," Chepkirui said. "I was fighting so, so hard to win this race."

Jeruto, who beat world record-holder Beatrice Chepkoech in the 3000m steeplechase at the IAAF Diamond League stop in Oslo in June, was third in 30:07.

Like the women, the leaders in the men's race set a blistering pace from the outset, with Benard Kimeli leading Geoffrey Koech, Mathew Kimeli, Bravin Kiptoo and Shadrack Koech leading the field through the first five kilometres in 13:23, also a pending world record. Another five runners were well within striking distance, just one or two seconds behind.

The pace soon proved too much for most, with just Kiptoo, Geoffrey Koech and Matthew Kimeli left in the hunt after seven kilometres. Koech, the runner-up here last year, powered away over the final kilometre to secure the win.

"Of course there is a lot of space for improvement but still I am very happy with my result," said the 26-year-old Koech, who clipped 15 seconds from his previous career best.

Kiptoo, 18, was third in 27:12, a world U20 best.

Earlier in the day, organisers of five leading international half marathons --the EDP Lisbon Half Marathon, the Sportisimo Prague Half Marathon, the Copenhagen Half Marathon, the Cardiff University Cardiff Half Marathon and the Valencia Half Marathon Trinidad Alfonso EDP-- announced the formation of the SuperHalfs international running series that brings the five events under one banner with the aim of promoting running, tourism and environmental sustainability in the host cities.

GURMU AND KIMUTAI PREVAIL AT TAIYUAN MARATHON

Ethiopian's Belainesh Yami Gurmu upset a olid field to take top honours at the 2019 Taiyuan International Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, on Sunday.

The race was staged under sunny conditions with the temperature ranging from 20 to 25 degrees C. A leading pack of seven runners paced the race to the 20-kilometre mark in 1:10:53 and to 25 kilometres in 1:29:07.

The 30-year-old Gurmu, who previously mainly competed in 10km and half marathon races and took the 2019 Ibiza Marathon title in 2:34:30 five months ago, held the pole position in the leading group for most of the race.

When the leaders reached the 30km water station, only four runners were left and the in-form Gurmu waited for another eight kilometres before pushing ahead to take the lead.

The Ethiopian kept extending the lead before eventually crossing the line in 2:29:48. Her winning mark is the second fastest in the race's ten-year history, 12 seconds shy of the course record set two years ago by Kenyan Chemutai Rionotukei.

Gurmu's countrywoman Tsehay Gebre, a 2:28:06 performer who will turn 27 in three days, failed to continue her winning streak in China following victories in Kunming last December and in Wuxi six months ago, as she clocked 2:30:27 to take second place.

Tsehay Maru, 25, trailed six seconds behind Gebre to complete a sweep of podium for Ethiopia.

Marius Kimutai, 26, the second fastest entrant in the field with a PB of 2:05:47 set three years ago in Amsterdam, emerged victorious from a thrilling three-man battle in the last two kilometres to become the first winner from Bahrain in the central Chinese city.

Kimutai's winning time of 2:09:43 is also the second fastest here following the course record of 2:08:51, set by Kenya's Berhanu Shiferaw back in 2012.

The Bahraini was among a 10-man leading group that paced the race in the early stages. When they hit the 25km mark the leaders were trimmed to eight.

Kenya's Justus Kimutai tried to pull away near the 35km mark. Although his effort went in vain, only four runners managed to catch up with his pace. And at the 38km the leading group was further cut to just four runners.

After another one kilometre, Marius Kimutai launched his charge, forcing Ethiopia's Fikadu Girma to quit the contest for the title at 40 kilometres. The remaining three runners kept shoulder-to-shoulder thereafter until the Bahraini pulled clear some 200 metres before the finish.

Slapping his chest and pointing to his number bib, Kimutai celebrated his victory even before breaking the tape.

Justus Kimutai finished second in 2:09:46, which is the fastest result ever achieved on an eligible course for the 26-year-old.

The Ethiopia's Asnake Dubre, 20, improved his career best by half a minute to take the third place in 2:09:51. - IAAF.org

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