UGANDA’S JACOB KIPLIMO broke the world record* at the EDP Lisbon Half Marathon on Sunday (21), clocking 57:31 at the World Athletics Label road race.
The world half marathon champion won by more than two minutes and took one second off the previous world record set by Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie in Valencia last year. Ethiopia’s Tsehay Gemechu, meanwhile, broke the course record in the women's race, clocking 1:06:06.
Kiplimo, who finished third in the 10,000m and fifth in the 5000m at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year, started to pull away from his opponents after just three kilometres and he passed through the first 5km in 13:40.
By the time he reached 10km in 27:05, he had a lead of about one minute over the chase pack and was well on schedule to break Kandie’s world record.
Kiplimo passed through 15km in 40:27, the fastest time ever recorded for the distance and indicative of a sub-57-minute finish. With no nearby competitors to work off, Kiplimo’s pace dropped slightly in the closing stages, but he managed to just finish inside the world record, crossing the line in 57:31.
"With one kilometre to go, I knew that I was going to break the world record," said Kiplimo. "When I was on the final straight and saw the clock, I gave it all I had and told myself I had to sprint fast to reach the finish line."
Ethiopia’s Esa Huseyidin Mohamed finished second in 59:39, just ahead of compatriot Gerba Beyata Dibaba, who was given the same time for third place. The top nine men all finished inside 60 minutes.
The women’s race was only decided in the final stages. A group of eight women passed through 5km in about 15:30, but just five of those were left in the lead pack by the time the 10km checkpoint was reached in 31:03.
Soon after, Gemechu, Daisy Cherotich and Joyce Chepkemoi broke away and ran together for another seven kilometres. Gemechu started to wind up the pace with about four kilometres to go and opened up a small gap on the Kenyan duo.
Gemechu held on to win in 1:06:06, taking 28 seconds off the course record. Cherotich (1:06:15) and Chepkemoi (1:06:19) finished close behind.
“I tried (to go after the women-only world record), but after the 17th kilometre I felt a little tired,” said Gemechu, who finished fourth in the 5000m at the 2019 World Championships and set a half marathon PB of 1:05:08 two months ago in Copenhagen. “The course and the conditions were very good. I hope to come back next year to try the world record again.”
1 Tsehay Gemechu (ETH) 1:06:06
2 Daisy Cherotich (KEN) 1:06:15
3 Joyce Chepkemoi (KEN) 1:06:19
4 Hiwot Gebrekidan (ETH) 1:08:00
5 Vibian Chepkirui (KEN) 1:08:02
6 Ethlemahu Sintayehu Dessi (ETH) 1:08:16
7 Yitayish Mekonene Agidew (ETH) 1:08:18
8 Jess Piasecki (GBR) 1:09:44
9 Tsige Haileslase Abreha (ETH) 1:10:31
10 Debash Kelali Desta (ETH) 1:11:01
1 Jacob Kiplimo (UGA) 57:31
2 Esa Huseyidin Mohamed (ETH) 59:39
3 Gerba Beyata Dibaba (ETH) 59:39
4 Hillary Kipkoech (KEN) 59:41
5 Ibrahim Hassan (DJI) 59:41
6 Milkesa Mengesha (ETH) 59:48
7 Antenayehu Dagnachaw (ETH) 59:48
8 Edmond Kipngetich (KEN) 59:49
9 Isaac Kipsang (KEN) 59:52
10 Solomon Berihu Weldeslassie (ETH) 1:00:00
*Subject to the usual ratification procedure