Leonard Komon Runs Fastest Half Marathon Debut Ever – Wins In 59:14 In Sprint Finish In Berlin

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Komon wanted the World Record and went out in 13:39 for 5k (57:36) but the wind hindered his record attempt.

By meet organizers with edits and Quick Takes by LetsRun.com.
March 30, 2014

LogoRunning his debut at the distance Leonard Komon won the 34th Vattenfall BERLIN HALF MARATHON with a world-class time of 59:14, just edging out fellow Kenyan Abraham Cheroben in a sprint finish. While the 26-year-old Komon had said he wanted to set the world record (58:23), the Kenyan still had plenty to celebrate: His time is an unofficial world debut record. He improved the mark of Moses Mosop by six seconds. Mosop debuted in 59:20 in Milan in 2010.

Ethiopia’s Tadelech Bekele won the women’s race in 70:05.

Running with a tailwind during the first 10 km, the race started very fast. The leaders hit the 5 km mark in 13:39 (57:36 pace). A group of four runners – pacemaker Vincent Rono led his fellow countrymen Komon, Cheroben and Daniel Chebii – reached the 10 km point in 27:40. With this split time, the group was on time for a world record – that’s 58:22 pace. But Rono’s pacemaking duties soon ended and when the group of three turned into Kurfuerstendamm after 11 km they ran into a head wind for most of the remaining distance. While Chebii could no longer hold on, Cheroben showed a great performance. The Kenyan, who is a training partner of Komon and entered the race with a personal best of 60:38, took the lead. “I have to thank him for this, because it really helped me,” said Komon after the race.

However the pace dropped and the world record became unrealistic once the two leaders passed the 15 km point in 41:44 (58:42 pace). In the final few kilometres it was now about winning not about chasing records. In a sprint finish Komon, who is the world record holder on the road at 10 km (26:44) and 15 km (41:13), just beat Cheroben. Both were given the same time of 59:14 which is the second fastest this year. The course record remains at 58:56, set by Patrick Makau (Kenya) in 2007.

Leonard Komon wins the Vattenfall Berlin Half Marathon

Leonard Komon Wins The Vattenfall Berlin Half Marathon

“I am happy with my performance in my debut race. Of course I ran longer distances in training, but there is always a difference between training and competition. I thought I would be able to run sub 59 minutes. It was a challenge, but at the end there was something missing. But I know what to do and will try to run such a time in my next half marathon,” said Leonard Komon, who intends to move up to the marathon distance in the future.

Komon finished ahead of eleven fellow Kenyans. Behind Cheroben the fight for third place was very close as well. Richard Mengich edged out Sylas Kimutai with both clocking 60:17. Chebii followed in fifth place with 60:40. Germany’s André Pollmächer ran a fine race with a PR of 62:45 in 13th place.

In the women’s race, Kenya’s Agnes Mutune and Tadelech Bekele led from the beginning. With little more than two kilometres to go 22-year-old Bekele moved ahead. The pace was not as fast as expected – they hit 10 km in 33:02 (69:42 pace) – and with the wind during the second half Bekele missed out on a sub-70 minutes finish. Clocking 70:05, she was eight seconds ahead of Mutune (70:13). “I am happy with this win and it is my plan to prepare for a marathon,” Bekele said. Running in third position for most of the race Germany’s Sabrina Mockenhaupt kept the podium place, finishing in 71:43. Maja Neuenschwander (Switzerland) was fourth with 1:12:43.

Quick Take #1: A great debut for Komon.

Komon is a pretty interesting runner. In this day and age with so much money being in the marathon, it’s amazing that the 26-year-old Komon hasn’t ever even run a half marathon before to test the waters as to how he might do at 26.2. It’s not like he’s been focused on a track career. Komon has track PRs of 12:58.24 and 26:55.29 but he rarely runs on the track any more – with just one track race each of the last three years. He’s never run a global championship for Kenya on the track (he won silver at World XC in 2008). He’s been largely focused on dominating the shorter road races.

Quick Take #2: We estimate the wind cost Komon roughly 15-20 seconds.

The course map shows the race runs pretty much due West for the first half and then comes back to the East. Weatherunderground shows the wind was out of the West at around 8 mph during the race.

We reached out to LetsRun.com wind expert John Kelloggthe man who predicted the possibility of the 2:03:02 worlds best in Boston because of the wind – and asked him how much running into an 8 mph wind for half the race and then turning around and running with it would impact to the race. “I’d say an 8 mph wind itself would impact you about 17 seconds (1.2 to 1.3 seconds per mile) over an out-and-back half marathon because of the harmonic mean effect, but if you ran too hard at the start, you probably would die more at the end and it might cost you more than 25 seconds.”

Quick Take #3: Did you know American Kara Goucher has the fastest women’s half marathon debut in history? Check out Ken Nakamura‘s Fastest Half Marathon Debuts In History

Quick Take #4: Nakamura also has compiled a chronological list of all 112 sub-60 half marathons: Chronological List Of All Sub-60 Half Marathons Achieved In History – By Ken Nakamura

More: Official John Kellogg Is a Genius Thread (He Predicted The 2:03 on Boston)

Results – 10km splits can be found here.

Men’s Top 30

Pos. Name ac club time
1 Komon, Leonard (KEN) MH Kenia 0:59:14
2 Cheroben, Abraham (KEN) MH Kenia 0:59:14
3 Mengich, Richard (KEN) MH Kenia 1:00:17
4 Kimutai, Sylas (KEN) MH Kenia 1:00:17
5 Chebii, Daniel (KEN) MH Kenia 1:00:40
6 Kipkoech, John (KEN) MH Kenia 1:01:38
7 Matelong, Peter (KEN) MH 1:01:57
8 Rotich, Lucas (KEN) MH Kenia 1:01:57
9 Kiplagat, Hosea (KEN) MH Kenia 1:02:09
10 Kiplagat, Eliud (KEN) MH Kenia 1:02:11
11 Ereng, Patrick (KEN) MH Kenia 1:02:41
12 Kibet, Luke (KEN) M30 1:02:45
13 Pollmächer, Andre (GER) M30 Rhein-Marathon Düsseld… 1:02:47
14 Maina, Charles (KEN) MH 1:02:53
15 Masai, Moses (KEN) MH Kenia 1:03:27
16 Tesfai, Simon (ERI) MH Eritrea 1:04:21
17 Merrien, Lee (GBR) M35 Groß Britanien 1:06:28
18 Mellina, Pol (LUX) MH Celtic Diekirch 1:06:57
19 Cruz Mateos, Imanol (ESP) M35 Spanien 1:06:58
20 Schulze, Marc (GER) M30 SCC Berlin 1:07:04
21 Csere, Gaspar (HUN) MH Ungarn 1:07:11
22 Thornton, Gary (IRL) M35 1:07:22
23 Fane, Tsotleho Peter (LES) M30 Rostock 1:07:39
24 Zywicki, Benjamin (USA) MH 1:07:51
25 Revuelta, Alberto (ESP) MH Spanien 1:07:55
26 Bieri, Matthias (SUI) MH ST Bern 1:08:02
27 Madsen, Thomas (DEN) MH loebeshop.dk 1:08:28
28 Rossmann, Thomas (AUT) M30 Kolland Topsport Asics 1:08:54
29 Berni, Marcel (SUI) MH Schweiz 1:08:55
30 Åberg, Marcus (SWE) MH Hässelby SK 1:09:42

Women’s Top 30
Pos. Name ac club time
1 Bekele, Tadelech (ETH) WH 1:10:05
2 Mutune, Agnes (KEN) WH Kenia 1:10:13
3 Mockenhaupt, Sabrina (GER) W30 LG Sieg 1:11:43
4 Neuenschwander, Maja (SUI) W30 Schweiz 1:12:43
5 Kibor, Alice (KEN) WH 1:13:15
6 MaCarthy, Claire (IRL) W35 Irland 1:16:25
7 Urach, Sandra (AUT) W35 Österreich 1:17:52
8 Mustonen, Kukka-Maaria (FIN) W35 Ku-58 1:19:43
9 Brandt, Victoria (GER) WH SCC Berlin 1:20:25
10 Schindler, Cornelia (GER) W35 Berlin 1:21:00
11 Lupke, Anne (GER) W30 Turnerbund Hamburg Eil… 1:21:04
12 gerson, leigh (USA) W30 Brooklyn 1:21:19
13 Giebl, Sarah (GER) WH TV 1861 Neu-Isenburg 1:21:37
14 Robe, Karoline (GER) WH Lauftraining.com 1:23:02
15 Juuti, Sari (FIN) W40 Kenttäurheilijat-58 1:23:29
16 Pedersen, Marte (NOR) WH Hytteplan Sport 1:23:55
17 Winberg, Linnéa (SWE) WH Berlin 1:23:56
18 Berthold, Anne (GER) WH LAC Erdgas Chemnitz e…. 1:23:58
19 Bergsløkken, Ida (NOR) WH Privat 1:24:13
20 Andersen, Rikke Lybecker (DEN) W45 Aarhus 1:24:31
21 Hennessy, Mary (USA) WH Somers 1:24:36
22 Dr. Cerna, Verena (GER) W30 LC Uster 1:24:38
23 Parsiegla, Karsta (GER) W50 SCC Berlin 1:24:41
24 Schink, Lina-Kristin (GER) W30 SCC Berlin 1:25:27
25 Vatnaland, Janne (NOR) WH Spirit Stavanger Friid… 1:25:31
26 Drumm-Becker, Sabine (GER) W45 Kieser Training Köln 1 1:25:44
27 Mosbron, Ann Kristin (NOR) W30 Spirit Stavanger Friid… 1:25:51
28 Kopatschek, Anne (GER) W35 MACH3 Köln e.V. 1:26:39
29 Siebert, Michaela (GER) W40 HHSC 1:26:56
30 Prof. Bjurman, Anna (SWE) WH Is Göta 1:27:22