2010 Rock 'N' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon: Meseret Defar Wins As Shalane Flanagan Runs 68:36

Defar Wins In Sprint Finish As Flanagan's Debut Makes Her Fourth-Fastest US Performer

By Robert Johnson
September 19, 2010

*LRC Message Board Talk About Race

2004 Olympic 5,000 gold medallist and 29:59 10ker Meseret Defar's debut at the half marathon was a successful one as Defar won the 2010 Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon today in a sprint finish over the red-hot Lineth Chepkirui of Kenya, 67:44 to 67:46. Defar's winning time makes her the sixth-fastest performer in the half for 2010 and 28th-fastest performer in history. Chepkurui came into the race red hot, as this year she has won nearly every top US road race there is, as she'd been victorious at Cherry Blossom, Crescent City, Beach to Beacon, Bloomsday, Bay to Breakers and had been runner-up at Falmouth.

American 10,000-meter record holder Shalane Flanagan's second foray at the half marathon distance proved to be a successful one as she finished fourth in 68:36, more than a minute faster than the 69:41 she ran to win the US Half Marathon Championships in Houston in January. That time also makes her the fourth-fastest US woman in history just behind 1984 Olympic marathon champ Joan Benoit Samuelson, who had a career best of 68:34. Flanagan said in a pre-race interview that she viewed this race as a "glorified training run" as the main goal is to be ready for her marathon debut in New York this fall.

Top 5 US Performers At The Half Marathon
66:57 Kara Goucher*
67:34 Deena Kastor
68:34 Joan Benoit Samuelson
68:36 Shalane Flanagan
69:39 Cathy Schiro
*Aided course

The race started off very fast, as the first 5k was covered in 15:39, which is 66:02 half marathon pace (5:02 per mile) and only two women in history have ever broken 66 flat. The leader at 5k was 2010 Boston Marathon champ Teyba Erkesso, who would pay a big price for her hot early pace. At 10k, Erkesso was already way off the back and she would be a DNF before the 10 mile mark.

After the very hot initial pace, the pace continually got slower until the finish. 10k was reached in 31:45, which equates to 66:59 pace (5:06 per mile).The final 11.097494 kms were covered at just 5:13 pace, giving Defar an overall average of just over 5:10 per mile.

Flanagan stayed with the lead group through 10km but by 10 miles she was 8 seconds back of Defar.

Finishing third today was 2003 World Cross-Country champion Werknesh Kidane, who ran 68:30. Kidane is the wife of men's runner-up Gebre Gebramariam. Former Providence star Kim Smith of New Zealand came from behind and nearly got the scalp of Flanagan at the finish. At 10k, Smith was seven seconds back of Flanagan and at 10 miles she was 15 seconds back, but at the finish Smith had run 68:39 to finish fifth as compared to Flanagan's 68:36.

5km Leaderboard

113 Teyba Erkesso 15:39
110 Werknesh Kidane 15:40
104 Lineth Chepkirui 15:41
103 Shalane Flanagan 15:42
102 Meseret Defar 15:42
108 Kim Smith 15:45
112 Caroline Rotich 15:57
106 Deratu Tulu 16:17
114 Katie McGregor 16:20
116 Serena Burla 16:34

10 km Leaderboard

110 Werknesh Kidane 31:45
102 Meseret Defar 31:46
104 Lineth Chepkirui 31:46
103 Shalane Flanagan 31:47
108 Kim Smith 31:54
113 Teyba Erkesso 32:26
112 Caroline Rotich 32:52
114 Katie McGregor 33:14
106 Deratu Tulu 33:23
109 Chaofeng Jia 34:06

10 Mile Leaderboard

102 Meseret Defar 51:37
110 Werknesh Kidane 51:37
104 Lineth Chepkirui 51:38
103 Shalane Flanagan 51:45
108 Kim Smith 52:00
112 Caroline Rotich 53:33
114 Katie McGregor 54:41
127 Stephanie Herbst Lucke 54:53
109 Chaofeng Jia 55:01
106 Deratu Tulu 55:16

Finish Leaderboard

102 Meseret Defar 1:07:44
104 Lineth Chepkirui 1:07:46
110 Werknesh Kidane 1:08:30
103 Shalane Flanagan 1:08:36
108 Kim Smith 1:08:39
112 Caroline Rotich 1:10:24
114 Katie McGregor 1:12:04
127 Stephanie Herbst Lucke 1:12:15
109 Chaofeng Jia 1:12:46
106 Deratu Tulu 1:13:01

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