Geoffrey Kipsang And Tiny Eritrea Have Days To Remember At 2014 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships
March 29, 2014
21-year-old Geoffrey Kipsang has shown the potential to be a senior world champion, but now he’s got a world title to prove it as he won the 2014 IAAF World Half Marathon championship today in Copenhagen in 59:07 ahead of Eritrea’s Samuel Tsegay and Ethiopia’s Guye Adola, who both ran 59:20.
Finishing fourth was 5-time world half marathon Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea, who was unable to win a record sixth individual World Half Marathon title today, but it was a great day for tiny Eritrea nonetheless as the tiny country of just 6 million plus won gold in the team competition as the top three Eritrean runners all broke an hour. With Tsegay in second (59:20), Tadese in fourth (59:37) and Nguse Amlosom (59:37) in fifth, Eritrea’s top three man total time of 2:58:59 was by far the best on the day.
If more than three men scored, Eritrea still would have won the team title as their two other finishers weren’t far behind – Ghirmay Ghebreslassie (7th 60:09) and Samson Gebreyghannes (8th 60:12).
2006 NCAA 5,000 and 10,000 champ Josphat Boit led the US effort by finishing 21st in a new personal best of 61:32 (previous PR of 61:41). “It was a great race,” Boit told Race Results Weekly after the race. “I came here to place as high as I could, and it’s great to represent,” he said, pointing at the USA logo on his chest.
Team USA was sixth in the team standings in 3:06:18.
Quick takes and full individual results appear below. Team results will eventually show up here.
Quick Take #1: Kipsang is the real deal. The junior world xc champ in 2011, he might have been favored to win senior World XC gold last year in Poland but he didn’t run the race as instead of running the Kenyan Trials he dominated the RAK Half Marathon. He wasted no time running a full marathon last year (follow the $) running 2:09:12 in Rotterdam in his debut. Since then, he’s run 2:06:12 in Berlin and 2:07:37 in Tokyo last month. If you want to know why Kenya struggles to win medals in the 10,000 on the track, it’s because young talents like Kipsang are on the roads. Remember at 18 in 2011, in the span of 8 days, he ran his track prs of 27:12 at Pre and then 13:12.23 in New York.
59:07 without a rabbit is very impressive. His next goal? The WR. “For now, my main goal is to prepare well to run the world record in the half-marathon,” he told reporters.
Kipsang trains with Olympic marathon champ Stephen Kiprotich under the tutelage of Patrick Sang.
Quick Take #2: Think about Eritrea’s performance for a minute. In a single race, the country of 6 million had five men run 60:12 or better on a non-aided course. The US’s population is more than 50 times bigger at 313 million plus and in the history of the US only two men have ever run under faster than 60:12 – Dathan Ritzenhein 60:00, Ryan Hall 59:37 (Todd Williams ran 60:11 on an aided course).
Eritrea’s team gold wasn’t totally unexpected. Ken Nakamura tells us they had won team silver on 7 straight occasions.
Quick Take #3: Stats by Ken Nakamura: For the fifth time in history KEN won both men and women’s race in the World half Marathon. Previously then won both in 2010, 1999, 1998, & 1997.
More: The Messageboard discussion of this race is here: Official 2014 IAAF World Half Marathon Discussion Thread. *IAAF Recap of race.
*Women: LRC Led by Gladys Cherono’s Gold, Kenya Women Dominate 2014 IAAF World Half Marathon By Going 1 Through Five – Americans Bersagel and Kleppin Both in Top 15
Men’s Team Standings