Leonard Komon takes the 15Km World record in Nijmegen (© organisers)
Leonard Patrick Komon broke the world record* over 15km at the 27th ABN -AMRO Zevenheuvelenloop, or Seven Hills Run, in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, on Sunday (21).
Running in cool but sunny conditions at this IAAF Silver Label Road Race, the 22-year-old clocked 41:13 to eclipse the 41:29 mark held jointly by Kenyan Felix Limo and Ethiopian Deriba Merga. Limo set the mark at this race in 2001 while Merga's was set en route during the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in 2009.
“I wanted a quick start,'' Komon said after his run. “I knew I had a fair chance to break Felix Limo's record. We studied his split time during his World record and the conclusion was to do the first five kilometres faster than Limo.”
A group of six - Komon, Ethiopians Ayele Abshiro and Abere Kuma, Abraham Kiplimo of Uganda, and Kenyans Joseph Birech and Kennedy Kimutai - indeed went out very fast. They passed the 5 Km marker in 14:01, 13 seconds faster than in Limo’s 2001 record run. The very fast pace was too much for most of the leading group, which broke up after six kilometres. Just before the eight kilometre mark, Komon dropped Kuma, his last opponent.
In a very crafty style the tall Kenyan forged on, passing 10 kilometres in 27:39. At that point he was already 15 seconds ahead of record pace. Cheered by thousands of spectators, Komon continued to eventually knock 16 seconds from the previous mark.
For Komon it was the second World record on the roads in the Netherlands in two months. He bettered the World record for 10Km on the roads with a scintillating 26:44 clocking in Utrecht on 26 September.
“For the last six weeks I have prepared for this race,” Komon said, speakig through his manager, Marc Corstjens.
Kuma finished a distant second 48 seconds behind Komon, who earned a EUR 50,000 bonus for his record. Third place went to another Ethiopian, Ayele Abshiro, who was just a second back. Felix Limo, who also started in Nijmegen, finished 19th in 46:44.
Getaneh upsets Kiplagat - women's race
From the outset, the women's race was a two-sided affair between Ethiopian Genet Getaneh and Kenyan Florence Kiplagat. The two stayed together until the final kilometre where Kiplagat, who took the World Half Marathon title in Nanning last month, had to bow for the tiny Ethiopian whose 47:53 was the fastest time over the distance this year. Kiplagat clocked 48:08.
More than 23,000 runners started in the race, one of the biggest in the Netherlands.
Wim van Hemert for the IAAF
*pending the usual ratification procedures
1. Leonard Patrick Komon, KEN 41:13 WR* - splits: 14:01- 27:39
2. Abera Kuma, ETH 42:01 - splits: 14:01-27:58
3. Ayele Abshiro, ETH 42:02 - splits: 14:01-28:10
4. Abraham Kiplimo, KEN 43:04
5. Berhanu Delale, ETH 43:08
6. Moses Mosop, KEN 43:09
7. Joseph Birech, KEN 43:23
8. Ryan Vail, USA 44:00
9. Jussi Utriainen, FIN 44:06
10. Abebe Sihine, ETH 44:24
11. Samwell Kayemitt, KEN 44:29
12. Koen Raymaekers, NED 44:52
13. Jamal Baligha, MAR 45:18
14. Kazuya Watanabe, JPN 45:33
15. Abdi Nageeye, NED 46:22
19. Felix Limo, KEN 46:44
1. Genet Getaneh, ETH 47:54 - splits: 16:19-32:23
2. Florence Kiplagat, KEN 48:08 - splits: 16:18-32:23
3. Sayo Nomura, JPN 49:45 - splits: 16:46-33:31
4. Aki Odagari, JPN 51:38
5. Benita Willis, AUS 51:53
6. Heleen Plaatzer, NED 52:05
7. Inge de Jong, NED 52:59
8. Nadja Wijenberg, NED 54:43
9. Valentine Kipleter, KEN 54:43
10. Helen Sharpe, NED 55:07