Joshua Cheptegei wins the Zevenheuvelenloop in a world best for 15km (© Organisers)
Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei won the NN ZevenHeuvenloop in 41:05 to take eight seconds off the world best.
The world 10,000m silver medallist took the lead earlier than planned as the pacemakers struggled to maintain the required pace. He passed the first five kilometres in 14:07 but increased his pace and covered the next five-kilometre section in 13:42 to reach 10 kilometres in 27:49.
The double Commonwealth champion still had another gear to move into, though, and he upped his tempo in the final third of the race to get back on pace for a world best. Having covered the final five kilometres in 13:16 and the final three kilometres in 7:46, he crossed the finish line in 41:05.
“After 10km I was outside the schedule for the world best so I decided to accelerate at 12km,” said Cheptegei after winning this race for the fourth time. “The last kilometre was hard but I really enjoyed it. I am very proud of my achievement and want to thank the organization and my team.”
Eritrea’s Abrar Osman finished a distant second in 42:34, 22 seconds ahead of world 5000m champion Muktar Edris.
Cheptegei’s compatriot and fellow Commonwealth 10,000m champion Stella Chesang won the women’s race in a national record of 47:19. Kenya’s Evaline Chirchir finished one place higher than she did last year, taking second place in 47:35, while Susan Krumins of the Netherlands was six seconds adrift in third.
Melese and Tura achieve Ethiopian double in Shanghai
Ethiopia’s Yebrgual Melese reduced the women’s course record by more than a minute at the Shanghai International Marathon on Sunday (18), while compatriot Abdiwak Tura took the men’s title following a breath-taking home stretch battle, securing the first Ethiopian double in the 19-year history of the IAAF Gold Label event.
Running in cold and drizzly conditions with temperatures ranging from 10 to 12 degrees, Melese built up a comfortable lead in the final five kilometres to wrap up the win in 2:20:37, beating the course record of 2:21:52 set three years ago by compatriot Tigist Tufa.
The 28-year-old led a group of seven and maintained a fast pace in the early stage of the race, passing 10 kilometres in 35:30 and 20 kilometres in 1:06:30. The group was cut to three women at the 25-kilometre water station, which they reached in 1:23:35, and Muluhabt Tsega of Ethipia quit the title contest after another two kilometres.
The in-form Melese, whose PB of 2:19:36 from Dubai earlier this year made her the fastest entrant, kept pushing ahead. After several unsuccessful mini-breaks, she finally pulled away from Azmera Abreha to achieve the sole lead after 36 kilometres and never looked back before breaking the tape in style to celebrate her first marathon title in three years.
Eight of the top 10 finishers in the women’s race achieved a lifetime best. The 20-year-old Abreha, also from Ethiopia, improved her PB by more than three minutes to finish second in 2:21:51. Third place went to Kenya’s Betty Lempus, who improved her PB by nearly six minutes to 2:23:41.
In the men’s event, two sub-2:05 runners turned the race into a last 100-metre sprinting contest, with Tura rallying to edge fellow Ethiopian Tsegaye Mekonnen in front of the finish.
The 21-year-old Tura clocked 2:09:20 to claim the title, 4:36 shy of his career best of 2:04:44 set in Dubai earlier this year. Mekonnen, a 2:04:32 performer, finished with the same clocking but had to settle for second place. Dickson Tuwei of Kenya finished third in 2:09:21.
A leading group of more than 10 runners reached five kilometres in 15:25, 10 kilometres in 30:47 and 20 kilometres in 1:01:21. Nine men were still in contention as they reached the 30-kilometre mark in 1:32:12, and after another five kilometres the pack was trimmed to seven.
It soon became clear that the leaders were focused only on winning – and not challenging the 2:07:14 course record set by Kenya’s Paul Lonyangata in 2015 – as none of them were willing to risk speeding up too early. The seven runners remained together until they entered the Shanghai Stadium, where the finish line was located.
Mekonnen was the first to launch a charge for the line and he was followed by Tura and Tuwei. Tura passed Mekonnen in the final 10 metres to take his second title of the year following his 2:09:04 victory in Milan in April.
“I expected to finish with 2:07 today, but the weather was very difficult and the competition was tough,” said Tura. “I am very happy to win in my first competition in Shanghai.”
The top seven finishers were separated by just eight seconds. Former world record-holder Dennis Kimetto completed his first marathon for two-and-a-half years, finishing a distant 10th in 2:14:55. His time was almost 12 minutes slower than his 2:02:57 best from 2014, but would have given him some confidence after three successive incomplete marathons.
Vincent Wu for the IAAF
Gebrehiwet and Tesfaye earn second wins in Great Ethiopian Run
Olympic 5000m bronze medallist Hagos Gebrhiwet and 20-year-old Fotyen Tesfaye regained their titles at the TOTAL Great Ethiopian Run in Addis Ababa on Sunday (18).
The men’s race saw the return of Gebrhiwet, winner of the men’s race in 2012, after two injury-plagued seasons as he lined up alongside 2015 runner-up Bonsa Dida and national 10,000m champion Tilahun Hailu.
But after running as part of the lead pack in the first half of the race, Gebrhiwet’s experience shone through in the second half. The 2013 world 5000m silver medallist took control of the contest just after the seven-kilometre mark and went on to achieved a dominant win in 28:55 ahead of Dida (29:04) and Hailu (29:14).
“It was a tough race in many aspects,” said the 2015 world bronze medallist, who now joins Azmeraw Bekele as the only man to win the Great Ethiopian Run more than once. “I am glad to return [to winning ways].”
Tesfaye surprised many with her unexpected victory in 2016, but having gained experience of international track races since then, she was keen to return to the roads.
She did not disappoint, picking up a hard-fought victory over Tsehay Gemechu and world U20 3000m bronze medallist Tsige Gebreselama to win in 33:44.
“Winning the race for a second time was not easy,” said Tesfaye after becoming the third woman to achieve two victories at the Great Ethiopian Run. “I am really happy about this.”
The course was changed again this year to accommodate traffic considerations for a summit in the city. The race had more than 44,000 participants taking part with Eritrea’s three-time world half marathon champion Zersenay Tadese and Uganda’s 2012 Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich the guests of honour.
Elshadai Negash for the IAAF
1 Hagos Gebrhiwet (ETH) 28:55
2 Bonsa Dida (ETH) 29:04
3 Tilahun Hailu (ETH) 29:14
1 Foten Tesfaye (ETH) 33:44
2 Tsehay Gemechu (ETH) 33:49
3 Tsige Gebreselama (ETH) 33:53
Girma and Lekapana take top honours in Boulogne-Billancourt
Taye Girma and Parendis Lekapana captured victories at the Boulogne-Billancourt Christian Grangier Half-Marathon, an IAAF Bronze Label road race, on Sunday (18).
Spearheaded by Precious Mashele of South Africa, who established a steady tempo from the gun, the lead pack of eight runners hit the five-kilometre and 10-kilometre marks in 14:31 and 29:02 respectively.
Mashele, Olika Adugna, Yismaw Ayenu, Taye Girma, Josphat Tanui and 2008 Olympic steeplechase champion Brimin Kipruto were still in contention for the victory at 15 kilometres, reached in 43:32.
Mashele broke up the field by ramping up the pace after about 17 kilometres and only Girma and Tanui were able to follow him. Then Girma began his decisive attack with two kilometres remaining, passing the 20-kilometre mark in 57:55, two seconds ahead of Tanui and six seconds ahead of Mashele.
Girma maintained his pace in the closing stages and won in 1:00:52.
“It’s my first experience of a half marathon and I’m very happy to win today,” said the Ethiopian, who earlier this year set a 10km PB of 28:06. “I felt cold during most of the race.”
Tanui came home second in 1:01:00 as Mashele rounded the podium in 1:01:14. Kipruto, now focusing on road running, finished fifth in 1:02:24.
Parendis Lekapana produced a solo effort to prevail over compatriot Susan Jeptoo, whose PB of 1:09:02 is 11 seconds faster than Lekapana’s personal record.
Lekapana, 27, set out well inside PB pace and covered the first five kilometres in 15:51, suggesting a possible finish time of 1:06:50.
She was then timed in 32:21 at 10 kilometres, 42 seconds ahead of Jeptoo, and was still on pace to challenge the course record of 1:08:29 set by Rahma Tusa last year. The Kenyan couldn’t maintain that kind of speed and covered the next 10-kilometre section in 34:32, but she still held a 55-second lead over Jeptoo at 20 kilometres.
Although the gap had reduced to 40 seconds, Lekapana, second last year, crossed the line in 1:10:46 to seal her second win of the year following a 1:09:23 success in Krems. Karine Pasquier of France finished third in 1:15:26.
Quentin Guillon for the IAAF
1 Taye Girma (ETH) 1:00:52
2 Josphat Tanui (KEN) 1:01:00
3 Precious Mashele (RSA) 1:01:14
4 Olika Adugna (ETH) 1:01:41
5 Brimin Kipruto (KEN) 1:02:24
1 Parendis Lekapana (KEN) 1:10:46
2 Susan Jeptoo (KEN) 1:11:26
3 Karine Pasquier (FRA) 1:15:21
4 Miriam Ortiz Ribaz (ESP) 1:15:26
5 Hannane El Bajjaoui (MAR) 1:18:04
Lemciyeh retains Kobe Marathon title, Jerotich breaks course record
Morocco’s Khalil Lemciyeh successfully defended his title at the Kobe Marathon, while Kenya’s Susan Jerotich took two minutes off the IAAF Bronze Label race’s course record on Sunday (18).
A lead pack of four men passed through the first 10 kilometres in 30:59, but Lemciyeh soon ventured out on his own and started to open up a gap on compatriot Hamza Sahli after just 15 kilometres, which was reached in 46:01.
By 25 kilometres, Lemciyeh’s lead over Sahli had stretched to 25 seconds with Australia’s Liam Adams almost a minute behind the leader. Adams caught Sahli at 30 kilometres, the pair passing that checkpoint in 1:33:44, almost a minute down on Lemciyeh.
Adams continued to chip away at Lemciyeh’s lead but the Moroccan was too far in front to be caught and he retained his title in 2:13:54. Adams finished second in 2:14:38 with Sahli further back in third, 2:18:18.
The women’s race was a much closer affair. Jerotich and Mongola’s Munkhzaya Bayartsogt were part of a four-woman lead pack during the early stages, passing 10 kilometres in 35:01 and 15 kilometres in 52:41. Kokob Tesfagaber and Sana Achahbar were, in turn, unable to maintain that pace and eventually dropped behind, leaving Jerotich and Bayartsogt to battle for the victory.
Upon reaching 30 kilometres in 1:47:13, it was clear that the course record – 2:33:14, set last year by USA’s Maegan Krifchin – was under threat. But it was only in the final few hundred metres of the race that Jerotich was able to pull away from her opponent, winning by 10 seconds in a PB of 2:31:38.
Nina Savina of Belarus had held back from the leaders since the opening kilometres but came through to take third place in 2:33:36, taking 14 seconds off her PB.