Report17 Dec 2023

Ebenyo and Kebede set world bests for stand-alone 25km in Kolkata


Sutume Asefa Kebede wins the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K (© Procam International)

Daniel Ebenyo and Sutume Asefa Kebede set course records to win at the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K, a World Athletics Elite Label road race, on Sunday (17), achieving two of the fastest 25km performances of all time.

Ethiopia’s Kebede ran 1:18:47 to win the women’s title and Kenya’s Ebenyo clocked 1:11:13 to claim the men’s crown. While faster 25km split times have been recorded, these marks in Kolkata improve on the previous world bests achieved in a stand-alone 25km race.

In the men’s contest, Ebenyo went head-to-head with his compatriot Victor Kipruto Togom before breaking away to claim victory by more than a minute.

Ebenyo, who earlier this year secured two silver medals from the World Championships in Budapest (10,000m) and the World Road Running Championships in Riga (half marathon), led the field for much of the race, clocking 43:01 for 15km.

Although Togom tried to overtake him at that stage, Ebenyo held him off and increased his pace after 19km (59:12), breaking away from Togom to run a solo race from that point. 

Daniel Ebenyo celebrates his Tata Steel Kolkata 25K win

Daniel Ebenyo celebrates his Tata Steel Kolkata 25K win (© Procam International)

Both Ebenyo, who ran 1:11:13, and Togom, who clocked 1:12:26, finished inside the previous event record of 1:12:49. Ebenyo’s mark is the second-fastest official 25km of all time, behind only Eliud Kipchoge’s 1:11:08 that he set en route to his world marathon record of 2:01:09 in Berlin last year. Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Demeke finished third in Kolkata in 1:13:36.

“With God’s grace I was able to do something special here to break the course record,” said Ebenyo. “I thank the authorities for inviting me here. I dedicate this win to my girlfriend, whose support and encouragement helped me reach where I am today.”

The women’s race saw Kebede go up against her compatriot Yalemzerf Yehualaw, the world 10km record-holder and last year’s London Marathon winner, who was making her 25km race debut.

Kebede, the 2020 Tokyo Marathon third-place finisher, won the Berlin BIG 25km in 1:21:55 in 2015, her only other race at the distance.

She applied pressure during the last kilometre and eventually won by 39 seconds, clocking 1:18:47 to improve on the previous event record of 1:21:04 and the previous stand-alone 25km world best of 1:19:53 set by Mary Keitany in 2010.

Yehualaw finished second in 1:19:26, while Kenya’s Betty Chepkemoi Kibet was third in 1:21:43.

“I wanted to run faster, but in the end, I am happy with my timing,” said Kebede. “It is a good course with good weather conditions, which made it easier for me.”

Ram Murali Krishnan (organisers) for World Athletics

Leading results

1 Sutume Asefa Kebede (ETH) 1:18:47
2 Yalemzerf Yehualaw (ETH) 1:19:26
3 Betty Chepkemoi Kibet (KEN) 1:21:43
4 Emebet Niguse (ETH) 1:22:43
5 Nelly Jeptoo (KEN) 1:23:00

1 Daniel Ebenyo (KEN) 1:11:13
2 Victor Kipruto Togom (KEN) 1:12:26
3 Tesfaye Demeke (ETH) 1:13:36
4 Haymanot Alew (ETH) 1:13:44
5 Abe Gashahun (ETH) 1:13:51

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