Leonard Barsoton wins the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K (© Procam International)
Kenya’s Leonard Barsoton and Ethiopia’s Guteni Shone ripped up the record book at the Tata Steel Kolkata 25K 2019 as the pair set event records for the World Athletics Silver Label road race – the only 25km race in the world with such a distinction – on Sunday (15).
Barsoton, the 2017 world cross-country silver medallist, crossed the line in 1:13:05 to take 43 seconds off the event record set by Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele in 2017 while Shone clocked 1:22:09 to win by more than a minute. She clipped almost four minutes off the event record of 1:26:01 set by her compatriot Degitu Azimeraw two years ago.
Both of the winning times rank just outside the top 10 all-time marks for the 25km distance.
A large group of 11 runners in the men’s race went through the halfway point at 12.5km together in 37:11 (the 10km split being 29:41). However, over the next 2.5 kilometres several runners dropped off the back of the pack and just six were left at the front as 15km was passed in 44:21.
Despite the Ethiopian pair of Betesfa Getahun and Bayelign Yegsaw surging and pushing hard over the next five kilometres, the same six – Barsoton, Getahun, Yegsaw, Uganda’s Felix Chemonges, Ethiopia’s Dagnachew Adere and Tanzania’s Faraja Damasi – were still more or less together as 20km was passed in 59:05. But with four kilometres to go, Barsoton pushed hard for home and the move proved to be decisive.
Barsoton threw in a final 5km split of 14:00, the fastest 5km of the race, to win in 1:13:05 with Getahun, still with plenty of running in his legs despite his 2:05:28 marathon debut in Amsterdam less than two months ago, second in 1:33:33 and Yegsaw third in 1:33:36.
“It was a tough race and a tough course, and it was a close competition until the 20K mark, after which I broke free from the pack,” said Barsoton, whose previous credentials also include a half marathon personal best of 59:09 in Valencia in October. "I have been training hard this year, leading a disciplined life: sleeping early, rising early and training hard.
"I had planned to push hard from 20km but looking at the other runners I decided to wait a little bit and then went at 21-k. But to beat a record of Bekele’s is so special. I’m very excited.
“Next year, for sure I will make my marathon debut, but I don’t know where yet," he added. "However, I think I can run 2:03, a crazy time. If I can beat Bekele’s record here, I can run that sort of crazy time."
Bekele’s brother Tariku Bekele drifted off the back of the leading pack just after 13 kilometres and eventually finished 10th in 1:15:53 while Kenya’s 2009 and 2011 world marathon champion Abel Kirui, a late addition to the race, was a distant 11th in 1:18.08.
In contrast to the way the men’s race unfolded, Shone was out on her own over the last 10 kilometres.
After a group of seven women had passed 10km in 33:37, Shone started to increase the tempo and by the halfway point just had her training partner Desi Jisa for company.
The Ethiopian-born Bahraini hung on doggedly for another couple of kilometres but by 15km, which Shone passed in 50:03, the 2019 Sevilla Marathon winner was starting to pull away from her rival.
Shone passed 20km in 1:06:00 with Jisa now 42 seconds back and the gap continued to grow over the final five kilometres, which was covered in 16:09, before Shone crossed the line in 1:22:09.
Jisa hung on to take second in 1:23:32 with another Ethiopian-born Bahraini, Tejitu Daba, exactly one minute further back in third. The first five finishers were inside the former women’s event record.
“I have practiced (trained) very hard throughout the year and it is yielding results now,” Shone said.
“The temperature was a little hot and since the running was through the city there were many turns and bents to make the race tough. Moreover, you did not know what kind of surface to expect next, so you had to keep guessing," she added. "All of that made the course challenging and worth the run."
Phil Minshull (organisers) for World Athletics
1 Leonard Barsoton (KEN) 1:13:05
2 Betesfa Getahun (ETH) 1:13:33
3 Bayelign Yegsaw (ETH) 1:13:36
4 Felix Chemonges (UGA) 1:13:43
5 Dagnachew Adere (ETH) 1:13:52
6 Faraja Damasi (TAN) 1:14:57
7 Tsegay Tuemay (ERI) 1:15:06
8 Desmond Mokgobu (RSA) 1:15:08
9 Ben Somikwo (UGA) 1:15:43
10 Tariku Bekele (ETH) 1:15:53
1 Guteni Shone (ETH) 1:22:09
2 Desi Jisa (BRN) 1:23:32
3 Tejitu Daba (BRN) 1:24:32
4 Sasho Insermu (ETH) 1:24:59
5 Failuna Matanga (TAN) 1:25:55
6 Birke Debele (ETH) 1:26:49
7 Magdalena Shauri (TAN) 1:26:55
8 Nazret Weldu (ERI) 1:28:29
9 Chaltu Kekabo (ETH) 1:29:26
10 Tesfanesh Merga (ETH) 1:32:54
Tola back on top in Shenzhen
Ethiopia's 2013 world bronze medallist Tadese Tola showed an encouraging return to form at the Shenzhen Marathon on Sunday (15), winning the World Athletics Gold Label road race in 2:10:13, his first marathon victory and fastest time since 2014.
The 32-year-old, who set his PB of 2:04:49 almost seven years ago, held off young compatriot Terefa Deleba in a close finish to win by just two seconds. Deleba's 2:10:15 clocking took half a minute off the PB he set in Vienna earlier this year. Kenya's Julius Tuwei was third in a season's best of 2:10:59.
Belaynesh Yami made it an Ethiopian double by winning the women's race. She took two minutes off her PB to win convincingly in 2:27:42 as three fellow Ethiopians followed her home.
Newcomer Medhin Beyene, making her marathon debut, was second in 2:30:12, comfortably ahead of Tsehay Desalegn (2:32:47).
Race records tumble in Málaga
Kenya’s Martin Cheruiyot and Ethiopia’s Selamawit Getnet Tsegaw broke race records at the Zurich Maratón de Málaga, a World Athletics Bronze Label race, on Sunday (15).
Cheruiyot, a designated pacemaker whose duty was to take the field through 30 kilometres, forged on win in 2:10:08 while Tsegaw dominated the race en route to a 2:27:56 performance to clip four minutes from the previous mark.
Paced by Cheruiyot, the lead pack in the men’s race went through the opening 10km in 30:50 with Ezekiel Tarus running closest and pre-races favourites Moses Mbugua and Eliud Kibet in close attendance.
The pacesetter heated up the pace in the following kilometres to cover the 15km in 45:54 but the surprise came just before the halfway point when Cheruiyot, a 2:14:32 performer, opened a sizeable gap on the main pack and reached the halfway point alone in 1:04:44, well on schedule to run inside the current mark of 2:11:07.
While his fellow Kenyans Kibet, Mbugua, Tarus, Silas Sang and Pharis Kimani also dipped under 1:05 for the half, Cheruiyot decided to abandon his pacemaker’s role and break away in a quest for a sub-2:10 run. He was timed at 1:32:01 at the 30th kilometre with a full minute advantage over Kibet, Mbugua, Tarus, Sang and Kimani.
By 38km Cheruiyot’s advantage had decreased to 29 seconds (1:56:49 vs 1:57:18) but his pace seemed enough to keep his lead until the tape. Once it became clear that Cheruiyot would be the eventual victor with a new race record, attention turned to find out whether the winning mark would be under the 2:10 barrier.
He came up just eight seconds shy but his 2:10:08 was still 59 seconds faster than the previous mark. In the fight for the minor places Kibet, who last year fell exhausted barely 40 metres before the finish line, romped home in a lifetime best of 2:10:41, 11 seconds ahead of last year’s runner-up Mbugua who also clocked a career best.
“I did my job running at the agreed pace but the main pack failed to follow in my footsteps so I talked to the race director by the 23rd kilometre to announce him my intention was to go for the win and I managed so,” Cheruiyot said.
Meanwhile, Spain’s Roger Roca dictated the rhythm in the women’s race closely followed by the main favourites, the Ethiopian tandem of Getnet and Gelane Senbete. Running at a steady 3:30/km speed they covered the opening 10 and 15km in 35:10 and 52:40 while their compatriot Alemitu Abera and Kenya’s Rebecca Korir travelled together 20 seconds behind.
The leading tandem was timed at 1:13:54 by halfway, a massive two minutes ahead of the race record schedule. Shortly afterwards Senbete proved unable to maintain that pace, leaving Getnet alone with Roca, who covered each one-kilometre split in 3:30.
The pacemaker dropped in the 35th kilometre but that was not barrier for Getnet tokeep her speed through the finish which she reached in 2:27:56. Fellow Ethiopian Senbete timed 2:32:28 while further back Korir completed the podium in 2:36:50.
“The wind made the race quite tough but the pacemaker was superb and I got a new PB and also a race record by a huge margin so I can’t ask for more,” Getnet said.
Emeterio Valiente for World Athletics
1 Martin Cheruiyot (KEN) 2:10:08
2 Eliud Kibet (KEN) 2:10:41
3 Moses Mbugua (KEN) 2:10:52
4 Pharis Kimani (KEN) 2:11:45
5 Silas Kipngetich (KEN) 2:12:52
1 Selamwit Getnet (ETH) 2:27:56
2 Gelane Senbete (ETH) 2:32:28
3 Rebecca Korir (KEN) 2:36:50
4 Rebecca Hilland (GBR) 2:40:27
5 Katarina Skräddar (FIN) 2:41:55
Kenyan double in Taipei
Kenyans Kenneth Mungara and Antonina Kwambai notched convincing victories at the Taipei Marathon, another World Athletics Bronze Label road race, on Sunday.
Mungara built a 46-second lead by the 15th kilometre and was never threatened en route to a 2:14:54 victory. Josphat Kiprono Leting and Mike Kiprotich Mutai were a distant second and third in 2:15:23 and 2:17:14, respectively, to round out the podium sweep for Kenya.
The women's race played out in similar fashion, With Kwambai forging a 22-second lead over Ethiopia's Meskerem Abera Hunde by the 20th kilometre and extending it to more than two minutes by the 30th.
Kwambai went on to finish in 2:31:27, well clear of Hunde who clocked 2:34:18. Kenya's Naomi Jepkosgei Maiyo was a distant third in 2:38:33.