Lornah Kiplagat of the Netherlands wins in 68:37 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report 12 October 2008 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Kiplagat saunters to another staggering victory - Women's Race Report, Rio 2008

Rio de Janeiro, BrazilLornah Kiplagat producing another staggering performance in perfect conditions retained her global road running title for the second time at today's IAAF / CAIXA World Half Marathon Championships with a runaway victory on a course that stretched along the coastline of this wonderful city.

Kiplagat showing no signs of the knee injury which halted her preparations for the defence of her gold medal, scored the most resounding victory since Great Britain's Paula Radcliffe won the crown by one minute, twenty seven seconds five years ago in Vilamoura, Portugal.

The World record holder for the half marathon distance making an early break, won in a season's fastest of 1:08:37 ahead of Ethiopia's Aselefech Mergia who lowered her personal best by over minutes with a time of 1:09:57.

Kenya's Pamela Chepchumba who fought gallantly for the silver medal with Mergia along the final kilometre, again like 12 months ago, had to settle for the bronze medal just four seconds behind.  

The race began on an uphill stretch with Kiplagat and Berlin half marathon champion Peninah Arusei of Kenya, prominent at the front of the field and speeding  through 5km in a quickish 15:43 with seven other opponents just a second down on them.

Defending team champions Kenya with their three scorers aggregating a time of 47:11 in the top four, led Ethiopia who had all five contestants in the top nine placings by a single second, with Japan lying third with a time of 50 minutes.

Kiplagat and Arusei continued to force along the pace but after 7km Kiplagat took off on her own, the defending champion purposely putting her foot on the throttle as the course came down to sea level.

The 34-year-old Kenyan-born star who has represented the Netherlands since 2003, held a 10sec advantage at 10km (31:31) from Mergia with Arusei slipping backwards, three seconds behind her Ethiopian rival.

Mergia's emergence - she came to Rio with a two-year-old PB of 74:13 - along with the backing of Genet Getaneh and Abebu Gelan lying fifth and sixth, saw Ethiopia take a healthy 28sec lead in the team event from Kenya with Japan (1:41:10) remaining third.

Kiplagat at the 15km point held a massive 1min 1sec advantage from Mergia whilst Kenyan's Arusei and Pamela Chepchumba, plus Getaneh were all just a second away from challenging for the silver medal.

Ethiopia continued its leadership in the team contest aggregating 2:26:57 and leading by half a minute from Kenya with Japan posting a time 2:34:05.

Kiplagat winner two years ago of the inaugural edition, of the now discontinued IAAF World Road Running Championships where she set a 20 km World record in Debrecen, Hungary, went through that marker in 1:04:41.

The chasing foursome were all still glued together Mergia and Chepchumba motoring together in a time of 1:06:33 with Chepchumba and Arusei a second in their slipstream.

Kiplagat in the final kilometre and enjoying what was effectively a stroll down Rio's equivalent of the French Riviera in an ideal temperature of 23 degrees, spent the last 500m waving her appreciation to the crowd.

Her rivals however were still fighting a knife edge battle and fourth placed Getaneh in particular was unfortunate to lose out on a podium placing by just two seconds.

Ethiopia scoring its first success for four years took team honours with an aggregate time of 3:30:59. Kenyan denied a third successive victory finished second in 3:31:24 while Japan for the fourth consecutive year recorded 3:40:58.

David Martin - Press Association - for IAAF