Its the Not-The-Honolulu Marathon on Saturday - Anyone for a Sub-Sixty Half Marathon - How about Fifty Eight Minutes and Twenty Three Seconds to be exact - which to those of us who have run the half-marathon distance 58:23 are remarkable numbers. Makes December 8th, 2010
Tedese sets world record at Lisbon Half-Marathon
Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea smashed the World record in the Half Marathon on Sunday, clocking 58:23 at the EDP Lisbon Half Marathon. Tadese, the winner of four successive World Road Running and World Half Marathon titles, eclipsed the mark of 58:33 set by Kenyan Samuel Wanjiru in 2007.
Following the uncooperative weather the day before this IAAF Gold Label Road Race, nobody expects great things from the race today, but the Gods protecting this event came through. After a little bit of fog appeared on Lisbon's famous 25 Abril Bridge, the sun was smiling through the clouds throughout the race.
So, that was the perfect signal everybody wanted as the race commenced. With the start at sea level (without crossing the bridge) the elite field ran against the clock as the organizers predicted.
By the 10th kilometer (27:53), the race was practically defined. By then, Tadese was running alone against the clock - the rabbits lasted for only nine kilometers - and produced the race of life. So far, that is!
20Km World record first to fall
Inside of World record pace, even when he reached 15Km in 41:33 (four seconds behind Felix Limo's 41:29 World record set in 2001), Tadese forced the pace to another level. The Half Marathon World record was well within reach when he crossed the 20Km marker in 55:21, 27 seconds faster than Haile Gebrselassie's World record of 55:48 set in 2006.
The reigning World silver medalist in the 10,000m forged onward to clock 58:23, smashing by 10 seconds Wanjiru's mark set at The Hague in 2007.
"I felt very good, and looking for a performance just like that," said Tadese, who had a previous personal best of 58:59 over the distance set at the 2007 World Half Marathon Championships in Udine, Italy.
"I'm in a good shape. Kilometer after kilometer I achieved more courage and determination and always believed that I can get the world record."
Afterwards, Tadese opened the window to the near future. "I hope to be in the same shape and to use the same skills to try for the world record in the London Marathon." Impressed by the event's organization, Tadese promised to return to what he described as "a OItmarvelous city and course!"
By the 10th kilometer it was clear that there were two races today, Tadese's run against the clock, and the one for the runner-up spot. By the 15th kilometer Kenyan Sammy Kitwara, the winner of 2009 Rotterdam Half Marathon and the 2008 Paris Half Marathon, was 24 seconds behind Tadese, and by the finish the margin didn't change. He was second in 59:47, a personal best, ahead of his compatriot Emmanuel Mutai, the 2009 World silver medalist in the Marathon, who clocked 1:00:03, also a personal best.
Duncan Kibet (1:00:21) was fourth and Gilbert Masai (1:00:28) fifth, both with personal bests.
Two-time World Marathon champion Jaouad Gharib of Morocco was still in contention for a podium spot at 15Km, but faded in the waning stages to finish a distant sixth in 1:00:33.
Amid the African domination, former European 10,000m champion "Chema" Martinez of Spain was the first European across the line, finishing 11th in 1:02:52, 46 seconds ahead of the first Portuguese, Hermano Ferreira, who was 13th with 1:03:38.