Florence Kiplagat setting a half marathon world record in Barcelona
Following in the footsteps of Renaud Lavillenie and Genzebe Dibaba indoors on Saturday, the world records continued to tumble this weekend as Kenya’s Florence Kiplagat stopped the clock in 1:05:12 at the eDreams Mitja Marató de Barcelona on Sunday (16)
Kiplagat's half marathon world record* run sliced 38 seconds off the previous mark of 1:05:50, which was set by her compatriot Mary Keitany at the 2011 RAK Half Marathon.
The 26-year-old 2010 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships gold medallist led the race in the Catalan city from the start and finished fourth overall, beaten only by a trio of male runners.
She passed 10km in 31:08, which was more than a minute faster than her official personal best for the distance in a 10km race, but 23 seconds off Keitany's pace three years ago.
Kiplagat then pushed hard over the next five kilometres to bring the world record within her grasp she passed 15km in 46:35, five seconds faster than Keitany and just seven seconds outside Tirunesh Dibaba's world record for the distance, which was set in a 15km race.
At 16km, Kiplagat's first pacemaker Marc Roig dropped out, and a couple of kilometres later her other aide Stanley Siroro stepped aside but Kiplagat continued to fly down the road.
Kiplagat gets 20km world record as well
She passed 20km in 1:01:56, which is also a world record and 40 seconds faster than the previous mark, which also belonged to Keitany having been set during her world record half marathon run.
Kiplagat's half marathon world record was also more than a minute faster than she had ever run before over the distance, her previous best of 1:06:38 coming in the 2012 Rome-Ostia race.
She won the 2013 Berlin Marathon in 2:21:13 last September and has built on that base during the winter in order to launch her assault on the record, helped on the day by almost perfect conditions, with almost no wind and a temperature hovering around 13 degrees Celsius.
"This is a not a day I will forget, I’m so happy! The circuit was very fast and I really want to thank my pace makers, Marc Roig and Stanley Siroro, they did a great job. I felt so well from the beginning and the weather was perfect, so I had the feeling that this could be a special day,” said the delighted Kiplagat.
"I really didn't expect a time as fast as this. All I wanted to do was have a good race at a high rhythm in preparation for the London Marathon (in April)," she added.
The next woman was more than seven minutes in arrears, with Great Britain’s Nicola Duncan taking second place in 1:12:15.
Kipchoge completes Kenya's day
It was a Kenyan double victory in Barcelona, which has witnessed world records in its famous Olympic stadium but never before on the roads, as former world 5000m champion Eliud Kipchoge won the men’s race in 1:00:52 and successfully defended the title he won 12 months ago.
Kipchoge, and his compatriots Peter Emase and Laban Mutai, formed a leading group of three from the start and passed 5km in 14:32 and were still together at 10km, which was reached in 28:50.
At 14km, Kipchoge decided to surge and he passed 15km in 43:15, where he had a five-second lead over Mutai and 15 seconds over Emase. He continued to push over the final six kiolometres and left his compatriots little chance of coming back to him before finishing just adrift of his personal best and course record time of 1:00:04 set at the same race in 2013.
Mutai was second in 1:01:19 and Emase third in 1:02:47. Just over 12,000 people finished the 24th edition of the race.
Phil Minshull and organisers for the IAAF
*Subject to the usual ratification procedures