Clemence Calvin at the 2018 World Half Marathon Championships
Clémence Calvin and Moses Kibet claimed the honours at the 28th edition of the Corrida de Langueux 10km, an IAAF Bronze Label road race, on Saturday (16).
It was Calvin who produced the day’s most unexpected performance as the 28-year-old became the first French winner of this race since Christelle Daunay in 2012, breaking the national 10km record in the process, clocking 31:20.
The lead pack went through the first kilometre in 3:06. Calvin was already at the front and maintained a quick rhythm. She looked strong and promptly forged a small gap over the rest of the field.
She passed the five-kilometre mark in 15:45, ten metres ahead of the lead quartet notably composed of defending champion Birhane Mirhetu, 2016 winner Meskerem Amare and Susan Kipsang Jeptoo, who finished third at last year’s edition.
Then, Calvin managed to up the tempo, and the gap continued to grow over her opponents. Cheered by an appreciative crowd in the western French city, the Frenchwoman crossed the line 21st clocking 31:20, smashing the national record by 18 seconds. The previous mark was set by Nadia Prasad in 1994 when Calvin was four years old. She also knocked one second from Gladys Yator’s 31:39 course record and 40 from her previous personal best set in October 2015.
“When I saw 15:45 at halfway, I had to get the French record,” said Calvin, who covered the second half in 15:35 to land in the No. 7 position on this year’s world list.
“It’s an old record that I wanted to beat more than anything. I almost got tears in my eyes and I’m very proud of myself.”
Calvin, the European 10,000m silver medallist in 2014, took maternity leave in 2017, and returned to top level competition at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships Valencia 2018 in March where she finished 28th in 1:11:51.
She said she’s planning to contest the marathon at the European Championships in August, where she’ll be making her debut over the distance. She’ll run the Olomouc Half Marathon next weekend targeting to improve her 1:11:17 personal best.
Jeptoo finished a distant second in 31:59, 39 seconds behind the winner. Mirhetu rounded out the podium in 32:03.
Kibet edges Fikadu in men’s race
On the men’s side, Moses Kibet of Kenya produced a strong finish to out-sprint Ethiopian Dawit Fikadu.
Contrary to the women’s race, there were more than 15 runners in the lead pack of the men’s. They reached the halfway point in 14:19, a pace well outside the course record of 27:46 set by in Ethiopia’s Atsedu Tsegay in 2011. No one tried to break away in the following kilometres.
With one kilometre remaining, seven men remained in contention. The race came down to a fierce sprint with Kibet, who ran a 10,000m PB of 27:56:12 earlier this month, prevailing in 28:26, almost one minute better than his 29:20 road PB.
Fourth last year, Ethiopian Yismaw Ayenu improved two spots in this year’s running with a 28:27 lifetime best with his compatriot Gizachev Hailu Negasa third, another second behind.
Ethiopia’s Asefa Tefera, a 1:00:02 half marathoner, was fourth in 28:30. Like last year, James Theuri was the top French runner, finishing 15th in 29:31.
Quentin Guillon for the IAAF