Sizzling 58:30 for Zersenay Tadese in Lisbon in 2011 (Marcelino Almeida) © Copyright
General News 20 March 2011 – Lisbon, Portugal

Tadese blazes 58:30 in Lisbon, second fastest Half Marathon ever

Lisbon, PortugalZersenay Tadese clocked a sizzling 58:30 at the EDP Lisbon Half Marathon today (20), just seven seconds shy of the World record he set on this course one year ago.

The Eritrean was targeting his own standard at this IAAF Gold Label Road Race and although he fell shy, his performance was still the second fastest of all-time. And for more than three-quarters of it, he ran alone.

“The rabbits weren’t so good as we needed,” Tadese, a five-time World champion on the road and in Cross Country, said. “At the 5k mark I was alone and faced the other 16 kilometres only against the clock.”

Tadesse went through the first five kilometres in 14:01, and reached 10 kilometres in 27:42, three seconds behind record pace.

“Then my coach told me to push a little and go for a faster pace. But, in truth, the last three kilometers I fought against the wind and in the final hundred metres I saw the clock and knew that the world record would not be broken today.

Nonetheless the effort let him anxious to return to Lisbon again next year. “If the organisers want me I will be here to try again,” he said.

The runner-up was Kenyan John Nzau Mwangangi, who was third at the Den Hague Half Marathon, who reached the line exactly two minutes (!) after Tadesse in 1:00:30. Kenyan Silas Sang, a previous medallist in Lisbon, was next, eight seconds behind to finish off the podium.

A Kenyan quartet followed: Robert Kipchumba Kipkorir (1:00:43), winner in 2007 EDP Lisbon Half Marathon; Mike Kigen (1:00:49); Evans Cheruyiot (1:01:50), the runner-up at this year’s Dubai Marathon; and Leonard Langat (1:01:51). The first Portuguese runner was Luis Feiteira (1:04:18) who was 11th ahead of Sérgio Silva (1:04:22) and Tiago Costa (1:04:32).

Kebede cruises, Portuguese national record for surprise runner-up Felix

The women’s race was more competitive. In the initial kilometres a group of ten was at the front, but by mid-race the lead group broke apart with Ethiopian Aberu Kebede, the winner of 2010 Berlin and Rotterdam marathons, taking the win in 1:08:28, ten seconds better then she ran this year. At the finish she expressed her “happiness with the great cours and good weather” with Tadese serving as her translator.

Portuguese Ana Dulce Felix finished second, only five seconds behind with a surprise national record of 1:08:33. The Portuguese Cross Country champion ran half of the race in the chase group and only in the second half struggled on to take the surprise runner-up spot. She’s now planning a spring Marathon where, she said, she’ll be running on pace to challenge Rosa Mota’s 2:23:28 national record set back in 1985. “Nothing is impossible and I proved it to myself today.”

Behind them, Kenyan Grace Momanyi was third in a personal best of 1:08:41 (previous 1:10:19). Pauline Njeri, in fourth, also improved her career best to 1:08:55, from her previous 1:10:23. Ines Chenonge, Helena Kirop and Diana Chepkemoi rounded out the top-seven.

Former winners Rita Jeptoo (8th) and Salina Kosgei (9th) were well off the pace, as was Ethiopian Berhane Adere (15th). Monica Silva, clocking 1:15:47, was the second Portuguese finishing 18th.

Warm and sunny conditions - 17 C at beginning, 23 C at the finish) – greeted the runners. 6330 contested the Half Marathon and another in a sunny day and 6330 runners at half marathon and another 30.000 ran in the 8Km Fun run.

António Manuel Fernandes for the IAAF

Leading Results:
Men -
1. Zersenay Tadesse (ERI) 58.30
2. John Nzau Mwangangi (KEN) 1.00.30
3. Silas Sang (KEN) 1.00.38
4. Robert Kipchumba Kipkorir (KEN) 1.00.43
5. Mike Kigen (KEN) 1.00.49
6. Evans Cheruyiot (KEN) 1.01.50
7. Leonard Langat (KEN) 1.01.51
8. Yacob Jarso Kintra (ETH) 1.02.41
9. Abderhaim Bouramdane (MOR) 1.03.47
10. Solonei Silva (BRA) 1.04.10

Women -
1. Aberu Kebede (ETH) 1.08.28
2. Ana Dulce Felix (POR) 1.08.33
3. Grace Momanyi (KEN) 1.08.41
4. Pauline Njeri (KEN) 1.08.55
5. Ines Chenonge (KEN) 1.09.08
6. Helena Loshanyang Kirop (KEN) 1.09.50
7. Diana Chepkemoi Sigei (KEN) 1.10.40
8. Rita Jeptoo (KEN) 1.10.54
9. Salina Kosgei (KEN) 1:13.49
10. Marina Kovaleva (RUS) 1.13.51