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Abraham Kiptum Cops World Half Marathon Record in Valencia

Kenya’s Abraham Kiptum broke the men’s world record* at the Medio Maratón de Valencia Trinidad Alfonso on Sunday (28), clocking 58:18 at the IAAF Gold Label road race to take five seconds off the mark set by Eritrea's Zersenay Tadese in 2010.
Abraham Kipturn 460
One year after his compatriot Joyciline Jepkosgei broke the women’s world record at the Medio Maratón de Valencia Trinidad Alfonso, Kenya’s Abraham Kiptum broke the men’s world record* at the IAAF Gold Label road race, clocking 58:18 to take five seconds off the mark set by Eritrea's Zersenay Tadese in 2010.

On a perfect day for distance running, the 15-man lead pack went through the first 10 kilometres in 28:02. Shortly afterwards the long-legged Kiptum broke away from the rest of the pack and his 15-kilometre split of 41:40 – just seven seconds slower than Tadese’s equivalent split from his world record run – suggested that Kiptum was on course to break his PB of 59:09 set six weeks ago in Copenhagen.

“I can’t believe it, I’m over the moon,” said 29-year-old Kiptum. “Obviously I knew I was in good shape because I set a PB last month in Copenhagen but I was eager to run in Valencia because it’s one of the flattest circuits I’ve ever run and I was confident of improving on my best.

“I realised the race slowed down between the ninth and 10th kilometre so I decided to step up the pace and go for everything.”

Valencia, often promoted as ‘the city of running’, has played host to all three standing world records for the half marathon: Abraham Kiptum’s men’s record of 58:18, Joyciline Jepkosgei’s women’s record of 1:04:51 and Netsanet Gudeta’s women-only record of 1:06:11, set at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships Valencia 2018.

Kenya’s Abraham Kiptum broke the men’s world record* at the Medio Maratón de Valencia Trinidad Alfonso on Sunday (28), clocking 58:18 at the IAAF Gold Label road race to take five seconds off the mark set by Eritrea's Zersenay Tadese in 2010.

On a perfect day for distance running, the 15-man lead pack went through the first 10 kilometres in 28:02. Shortly afterwards the long-legged Kiptum broke away from the rest of the pack and his 15-kilometre split of 41:40 – just seven seconds slower than Tadese’s equivalent split from his world record run – suggested that Kiptum was on course to break his PB of 59:09 set six weeks ago in Copenhagen.

Having covered the second 10-kilometre section in 27:16, Kiptum strode home in 58:18 to break the world record by five seconds.

“I can’t believe it, I’m over the moon,” said 29-year-old Kiptum. “Obviously I knew I was in good shape because I set a PB last month in Copenhagen but I was eager to run in Valencia because it’s one of the flattest circuits I’ve ever run and I was confident of improving on my best.

“I realised the race slowed down between the ninth and 10th kilometre so I decided to step up the pace and go for everything.”

Valencia, often promoted as ‘the city of running’, has played host to all three standing world records for the half marathon: Abraham Kiptum’s men’s record of 58:18, Joyciline Jepkosgei’s women’s record of 1:04:51 and Netsanet Gudeta’s women-only record of 1:06:11, set at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships Valencia 2018.

Profile: Abraham Kiptum Born: 1989

When making his international racing debut, Abraham Kiptum jumped right into the deep end and took on the marathon, lining up in Rabat in April 2015. He finished third in a highly respectable 2:11:36.

Having started off with a 26.2-mile race, it came as little surprise when Kiptum took so well to racing half the distance. His first race at the distance was a 1:01:52 victory in Madrid in April 2016. Five months later he reduced his PB to 59:36 when finishing sixth in a high-quality race in Copenhagen.

In the months that followed, Kiptum notched up three victories on the competitive Kenyan cross-country circuit, winning in Ndalat, Eldoret and Mosoriot. He returned to the roads in February 2017 and successfully defended his Lagos Marathon title, clocking 2:15:23.

His best marathon performance to date came in October 2017 when he placed third in Amsterdam in a lifetime best of 2:05:26. He finished just 17 seconds behind Lawrence Cherono, who broke the course record with 2:05:09.

Following a 2:06:29 triumph at the Daegu Marathon in April earlier this year, Kiptum dropped back down in distance. Despite colliding with the motorbike that was carrying the cameraman in the latter stages of the Kabarak Half Marathon in July, Kiptum got back up on his feet and went on to win in 1:03:02.

The Copenhagen Half Marathon two months later was thankfully less eventful and Kiptum finished second in a PB of 59:09, just three seconds behind winner Daniel Kipchumba. The close finish proved to be the perfect motivation for Kiptum’s next race.

Few had anticipated that the world record would be broken at the Medio Maratón de Valencia Trinidad Alfonso, but after passing through the first 10 kilometres in 28:02, Kiptum felt good and so upped the pace. By 15 kilometres he was on course to finish well inside 59 minutes but his momentum carried him beyond that target and all the way to a 58:18 victory, breaking Zersenay Tadese’s 58:23 from 2010 – the longest-standing world half marathon record to date.

Kiptum’s progression

Half marathon
1:01:52, 1st, Madrid, 24 April 2016
1:01:26, 1st, Casablanca, 15 May 2016
59:36, 6th, Copenhagen, 18 September 2016
59:09, 2nd, Copenhagen, 16 September 2018
58:18, 1st, Valencia, 28 October 2018

Marathon
2:11:36, 3rd, Rabat, 19 April 2015
2:05:26, 3rd, Amsterdam, 15 October 2017


World half marathon record progression

Twenty-five years have passed since the first sub-60-minute half marathon. Just 19 seconds now stand in the way of history’s first sub-58-minute performance.

59:47 Moses Tanui (KEN) Milan 3 April 1993
59:17 Paul Tergat (KEN) Milan 4 April 1998
59:16 Samuel Wanjiru (KEN) Rotterdam 11 September 2005
58:55 Haile Gebrselassie (ETH) Tempe 15 January 2006
58:33 Samuel Wanjiru (KEN) The Hague 17 March 2007
58:23 Zersenay Tadese (ERI) Lisbon 21 March 2010
58:18 Abraham Kiptum (KEN) Valencia 28 October 2018

Last modified onMonday, 29 October 2018 09:21
  • Countries: Africa

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