Ethiopia’s Gemechu breaks women’s record at Copenhagen Half Marathon

Gemechu breaks course record at Copenhagen Half Marathon

Source: World Athletics

Tsehay Gemechu
Ethiopia’s Gemechu breaks women’s record at Copenhagen Half Marathon | CGTN Africa

Tsehay Gemechu set a course record while Amedework Walelegn made it an Ethiopian double at the Copenhagen Half Marathon, a World Athletics Elite Label Road Race, on Sunday (19).

Making the most of the flat course in Denmark’s capital city, Gemechu took 52 seconds off her almost two-year-old PB, running a dominant 1:05:08 to improve the course record set by Sifan Hassan in 2018 by seven seconds. Walelegn, meanwhile, won a much closer men’s race, holding off a challenge from Kenya’s Keneth Renju to win by two seconds in 59:10.

Running behind her pacemaker Roy Hoornweg, who also paced Yalemzerf Yehualaw to her world half marathon record in Larne last month, Gemechu had her sights on the 1:05:15 race record set by the now double Olympic champion Hassan three years ago, but the big pre-event favourite wasn’t alone in the opening stages. Her fellow Ethiopians Hawi Feysa, Gete Alemayehu and Beyenu Degefa, plus Kenya’s Vivian Kiplagat, joined her in a lead group which went through 5km in 15:16 but by 10km (30:48) the pack was starting to stretch, with Alemayehu having been dropped and Gemechu still to the fore and looking comfortable.

A couple of kilometres later Gemechu, who finished fourth in the 2019 world 5000m final in Doha, had broken away and was running clear ahead of her compatriot Feysa, the 2017 U20 world cross country silver medallist. By 15km Gemechu, now running without her pacemaker, had a 13-second lead ahead of Feysa, with Kiplagat another 22 seconds back. That is how the positions remained to the finish line, but with Gemechu’s advantage having grown to half a minute.

Tsehay Gemechuu

Feysa, who has a 2:23:36 marathon PB from Dubai last year but was making her half marathon debut, finished second in 1:05:41, with Kiplagat clocking 1:06:07 to take 31 seconds off her PB in third. Degefa was fourth (1:08:15) and Ethiopia’s Yitayish Mekonene fifth (1:08:53).

“I was hoping to break my personal best and run close to 65 minutes, and beating Sifan Hassan’s race record of course is something special,” said Gemechu, back racing in Denmark where she finished sixth at the 2019 World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus. “I am very happy. It was a bit windy, so I had to work hard.”

The men’s race saw a group of nine athletes, plus pacemaker Abel Sikowo, pass the 5km mark in 13:55 and the 10km point in 28:01. As Sikowo dropped back just before 15km it was the pre-race favourite Walelegn, who claimed bronze at last year’s World Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, who took control, taking the field through that checkpoint in 42:15.

Top men results 

Rank Name Nation Time pace
1 Amdework Walalegn ETH 0:59:10 2:49 min/km
2 Keneth Renju KEN 0:59:12 2:49 min/km
3 Daniel Mateiko KEN 0:59:25 2:49 min/km
4 Abe Tilahun ETH 0:59:46 2:50 min/km
5 Zerei Kbrom NOR 1:00:07 2:51 min/km
6 Enos Kakopil KEN 1:00:17 2:52 min/km
7 Geoffrey Koech KEN 1:00:20 2:52 min/km
8 Solomon Berihu ETH 1:00:52 2:54 min/km
9 Shadrack Kimining KEN 1:01:12 2:55 min/km

Top women results

Rank Name Nation Time pace
1 Tsehay Gemechu ETH 1:05:08 3:06 min/km
2 Hawi Feysa ETH 1:05:41 3:07 min/km
3 Vivian Kiplagat KEN 1:06:07 3:09 min/km
4 Beyenu Degefa ETH 1:08:15 3:15 min/km
5 Yitayish Mekonene ETH 1:08:53 3:16 min/km
6 Esther Chesang KEN 1:10:32 3:21 min/km
7 Tabita Gichia KEN 1:11:39 3:24 min/km
8 Nina Lauwart BEL 1:13:18 3:29 min/km
9 Marcella Herzog NED 1:13:22 3:29 min/km
10 Tirza Van Der Wolf NED 1:13:25 3:29 min/km

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