Ugandan teenager Jacob Kiplimo and Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei signed a successful farewell to 2018, taking commanding victories at the 54th San Silvestre Vallecana, an IAAF Silver Label road race, in Madrid on Monday (31).
Kiplimo, 18, clocked 26:41, the fastest 10km ever run while Kosgei stormed to a 29:54 performance, also a course record.
The downhill nature of the course (5.5m per kilometre) means that Kiplimo's performance can’t count as a world record, but it is still a notable performance as it took 13 seconds off the previous race record set by Eliud Kipchoge back in 2006. For her part, Kosgei obliterated Gelete Burka’s previous course record mark by a full minute.
Kiplimo impresses, Hadis also excels
On the eve of the event, Kiplimo, the world U20 10,000m silver medallist, declared he felt capable to run 27 minutes flat – his best for the distance is 27:26:68 on the track – but Monday’s clocking exceeded his most optimistic expectations.
On a pleasant night with the thermometer reaching 10C, the race kicked off at a frantic pace as an eight-man pack covered the opening two kilometres in 5:24, with Kiplimo and Kenya’s Solomon Boit taking charge of the rhythm. Spain’s Toni Abadía was the only non-African among them.
The in-form Ugandan then upped the tempo, averaging a terrific 2:35 over the subsequent three kilometres to reach halfway in 13:12, well on schedule to improve on the course record. By then only Ethiopia’s world cross country bronze medallist Abadi Hadis and Eritrea’s Abrar Osman managed to remain on Kiplimo’s shoulder with Uganda’s Mande Bushendich and Tanzania’s Agustino Sulle following.
The second half witnessed Kiplimo and Hadis’s magnificent display as the pair kept knocking off kilometres at a record-breaking pace. The Ethiopian followed in Kiplimo’s footsteps until the eighth kilometre before the Ugandan star began to break away shortly afterwards. Hadis also finished well, clocking 26:54 to equal the previous course record mark. Bushendich finished third in 27:24 after overtaking Osman in the eight kilometre.
“I was determined to run fast today and be close to the course record,” said Kiplimo. “I felt really strong throughout and managed to break the record so I can’t ask for more.”
Kiplimo will race next at the Cross Internacional de Italica in Seville on 20 January where he’ll put his 2018-19 cross country season unbeaten streak on the line.
On his ambitions for the World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, on 30 March, Kiplimo said, “Yes, I'm targeting the cross country world title but my fellow Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei will be a very tough rival, even more than the Kenyans and Ethiopians guys, I think."
Kosgei and Obiri secure Kenyan double – women’s race
The women’s event was billed as a thrilling encounter between Tirunesh Dibaba and Hellen Obiri, but the Ethiopian star was never a factor as Obiri and Kosgei flew from the gun, covering every kilometre well inside three-minute pace.
By the 3000m point (8:46) they had built an eight-second margin on Dibaba before extending their lead to 14 seconds by halfway (14:40/14:54). At that point it already seemed clear that Burka’s 30:53 record would fall by a huge margin.
With some 2500m left the Kenyan tandem had increased their advantage on the Ethiopian to 26 seconds and neither of them showed a minor signal of weakness. Kosgei, a standout marathoner with a 2:18:37 best, made most of the pacing while Obiri, the world 5000m champion, seemed willing to wait until the later stages to take advantage of her superior closing speed.
The key move came inside the closing kilometre when Kosgei opened a small gap on Obiri. That proved decisive as the 24-year-old crossed the finish line in a brilliant 29:54 to Obiri’s 29:59. Dibaba completed the classiest ever podium with a fine 30:40 performance, also under the previous record.
"The race is very fast, I’m delighted with my clocking but despite this fast time I'll keep focused on the marathon,” said Kosgei, who won here in 2016 in a much slower 32:07.
Kosgei said her next appearance is not yet confirmed, but she does plan to compete at the Kenyan trials for the World Cross Country Championships.
Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF
Leading results -
1. Jacob Kiplimo (UGA) 26:41
2. Abadi Hadis (ETH) 26:54
3. Mande Bushendich (UGA) 27:24
4. Abrar Osman (ERI) 27:38
5. Solomon Boit (KEN) 28:03
6. Juan Antonio Pérez (ESP) 28:16
7. Toni Abadía (ESP) 28:16
8. Fernando Carro (ESP) 28:44
9. Agustino Sulle (TAN) 28:46
10. Yago Rojo (ESP) 28:48
1. Brigid Kosgei (KEN) 29:54
2. Hellen Obiri (KEN) 29:59
3. Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH) 30:40
4. Trihas Gebre (ESP) 31:40
5. Sara Catarina Ribeiro (POR) 31:43
6. Esther Chebet (KEN) 31:53
7. Solange Pereira (ESP) 33:19
8. Azucena Díaz (ESP) 33:20
9. María José Pérez (ESP) 33:29
10. Lily Partridge (GBR) 33:35