By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2014 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
PHILADELPHIA (21-Sep) — Kenya’s Bedan Karoki, who was 5th in the 10,000 at the 2012 Olympics and sixth in 2013, said Friday that it was his goal to break 59 minutes at the Rock ‘N’ Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon here today. Although his winning time of 59:21 fell short of that goal, he nonetheless ran the fastest half-marathon on USA soil this year, the third fastest time ever in the 37-year history of this event, and tied the fourth-fastest time in the world this year.
“I’m very happy to come,” Karoki told Race Results Weekly after the race. “This is my third half-marathon. I have been winning; I’m very happy.”
Behind pacemaker Alex Oloitiptip, Karoki, Geoffrey Bundi and Cybrian Kotut went through the first 5 kilometers on world record schedule in 13:49. Oloitiptip dropped out in the seventh kilometer, leaving the three men to push ahead alone and the race left the city center to run along the Schuylkill River.
“We worked together with Bedan,” said Kotut, a younger brother of legendary marathoner Martin Lel. “Then, when pacemaker left us, I took over. I tried to push because I wanted to run my PR.”
Bundi fell off the pace about 9 kilometers into the race, and Karoki and Kotut crossed the 10-K mark together on Kelly Drive in a swift 27:45, just outside of world record pace. Karoki was managing well despite the soaking humidity.
“Actually, for the first 10-K it was good,” Karoki observed. “But, the weather was very, very humid.”
After crossing Falls Bridge to run on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive back to the city center, Karoki put in an acceleration after hitting the 15-K mark in 42:01. Kotut was unable to respond.
“That was my plan; 15 kilometers to push the pace,” he said.
Running on his toes with a short but quick stride, Karoki galloped through 10 miles in 45:02, but then began to struggle to keep up his pace.
“Actually, the legs were very heavy,” he said of the final stages of the race. “So, I couldn’t push up the pace.”
Karoki, who finished fifth at the London Olympic Games 10,000m, crossed the finish line in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art all alone, and was immediately congratulated by his Japanese coach, Hiroshi Tako of the DeNA Running Club. He took a Kenyan flag from race organizers, then celebrated with Kotut who finished second in 59:58.
“I’m very happy,” said Kotut. “Despite the humid, I’m happy that I’ve done another 59 here.”
Unofficial Top 10 Men’s Results Via Competitor Below. More results here.
Discuss this race in the LetsRun.com fan forum: Philly RnR Half Marathon – Baden Karoki 59:23 / Aberu Kebede 68:39 / Deena Kastor 69:39 NEW Masters WR!