Report17 Nov 2019

Weekend road round-up: Gidey smashes 15km world best, Lonyangata and Melese win in Shanghai


Letesenbet Gidey in Nijmegen (© Organisers)

Ethiopia's Letesenbet Gidey smashed the world best for 15km at the Zevenheuvelenloop (Seven Hills Run) in Nijmegen, Netherlands, on Sunday (17).

Gidey, this year's World Championships 10,000m silver medallist, clocked 44:20, more than a minute better than the previous world best of 45:37 Joyciline Jepkosgei set in Prague two years ago en route to her first world record in the half marathon.

Covering the first five kilometres in a quick 15:09, the 21-year-old upped the pace over the next five kilometres, closing that stretch with a stunning 2:44 10th kilometre, to reach the 10km point in a remarkable 29:44. She slowed over the next two kilometres but shifted gears again in the waning stages, closing with kilometre splits of 2:49, 2:52 and 2:50. She covered the last 10km in a stunning 29:12, the fastest 10-kilometre stretch ever produced under any conditions.

"I felt I was in good form in preparation for the (race) and my legs felt good all through the race," said Gidey, who rose to prominence in the U20 ranks after taking back-to-back world U20 cross country titles in 2015 and 2017. "I was quite surprised to see how much time I was able to get off the previous world (best) to be honest but I had great legs and it was a really nice race."

Stephen Kissa of Uganda won the men's race in 41:49 to become the seventh fastest ever over the distance.

Bob Ramsak for World Athletics


Lonyangata and Melese regain Shanghai Marathon titles

Kenya’s Paul Lonyangata and Yebrgual Melese of Ethiopia took the men’s and women’s title at the Shanghai International Marathon, a World Athletics Gold Label road race, on Sunday (17).

The 26-year-old Lonyangata broke clear before 35km and led alone the rest of the way to hit home with a clocking of 2:08:11, 57 seconds shy of the 2:07:14 course record he set in the Chinese city in 2015.


Kenyan distance runner Paul Lonyangata


“It has been five years since I run here last time,” Lonyangata said. “I noticed nobody had broke my course record so I came back to break it myself. But the weather was much hotter than five years ago.” 

The temperature was around 15 degrees when the race started but rose quickly. When the men’s leaders reached 20km 1:00:12, it was already near 20 degrees.

A group of 12 runners led the race to a fast pace in the early stages, reaching 5km in 14:57 and 10km in 29:58. When the leaders passed the 15km mark in 45:01 they were already 47 seconds ahead of the course record, and by 20km they were still six seconds ahead. 

But the pace slowed after 20km and when the last pace maker left the seven-runner leading pack, the leaders were 43 seconds behind the record time.

“I think the pacers stopped too early. One of the two pacers stopped after 11 kilometres and the other left by 25km. Because of the weather and the pace maker, I did not break the course record,” said Lonyangata, who decided to control the race with his own pace after 30km and pulled clear by 35 km before breaking the tape in style to celebrate his first marathon victory of the year.

Hassan El Abbassi of Bahrain, who set the Asian record of 2:04:43 last year in Valencia, finished second in 2:08:58, followed by Lmenih Getachew of Ethiopia with a clocking of 2:09:14.

Defending champion Yebrgual Melese also managed to confirm her favourite status in the women’s race although the winning time of 2:23:19 is more than two minutes slower than the 2:20:36 course record she achieved 12 months ago.

As the fastest entrant in the field with a personal best of 2:19:36 set last year in Dubai, the 29-year-old Melese was among a six-athlete leading group in the first half of the race. When she arrived at the 25km water stations in 1:24:12, only countrywoman Waganesh Mekasha managed to keep up with the chasers trailing 16 seconds behind.

After another four kilometres, the 27-year-old Mekasha began to fade gradually. Melese was leading by 14 seconds at 30km and kept widening the gap until wrapping up her fourth title over the classic distance.

Mekasha, a 2:22:45 performer, finished second in 2:25:37 while Ethiopia’s Obse Abdeta, 19, finished third in 2:27:47 in her marathon debut. 

Vincent Wu for World Athletics


Jelagat breaks course record at Boulogne-Billancourt half

Kenya’s Nancy Jelagat broke the women’s course record at the 23rd Boulogne-Billancourt Christian Grangier Half-Marathon, a World Athletics Bronze Label road race, on Sunday (17).

Jelagat took advantage of the perfect conditions to clock 1:08:25 and smash her personal best by almost two minutes as well as improving by five seconds the previous course record set by Ethiopia’s Rahma Rusa two years ago.

Jelagat, who recorded two others PBs this year --32:05 in the 10km and 2:36:22 in the marathon-- produced a solo performance here. From the gun, she established a small lead over Ethiopia’s Mehdin Beyene. Although Jelagat was shadowed by Beyene throughout the race, she never faded, ultimately erasing her previous best of 1:10:18 she set when winning in Hamburg in 2018.

Beyene finished second 14 seconds adrift in 1:08:38, also a career best. Deborah Samum rounded out the podium in 1:09:57, ten seconds ahead of Ethiopia’s Silenat Ysmaw. Both bettered their respective lifetime bests.

In our preview yesterday, we wrote that the men’s course record of 1:00:11 set by Franklin Chepwony in 2013 shouldn’t be in jeopardy. Felix Kipkoech however produced an impressive display of strength and came tantalisingly close.

From the gun the 21-year-old Kenyan headed a group of six, including defending champion Taye Girma, Precious Mashele of South Africa, newcomer Selemun Kashsay and Briton Jake Smith. The leaders reached 10km in 29:10, suggesting a finish time of about 1:01:30.

But with Kipkoech as the driving force, the tempo was ratcheted up soon after. As a consequence, Kashsay and Smith were dropped at about 12 kilometres with Girma following suit two kilometres later. That left Kipkoech and Mashele, who finished third at last’s year edition, to battle it out for the win.

They covered the next five kilometres in 14:08 to reach 15km in 43:18. Kipkoech then made his final move in the waning stages to pull off the victory in 1:00:12, just one second shy of the course record. He also improved his previous career best of 1:01:24 set in Rabat in April by more than a minute.

Mashele came home second in 1:00:28 as Girma held on to round the podium in 1:00:50.

Smith was fifth in 1:02:02 to lop 1:04 from the UK U23 record of 1:03:06 set by Callum Hawkins in 2014.

Leading results
1 Felix Kipkoech (ETH) 1:00:12
2 Precious Mashele (RSA) 1:00:28 
3 Taye Girma (ETH) 1:00:50
4 Selemun Kashsay (KEN) 1:01:41
5 Jake Smith (GBR) 1:02:02

1 Nancy Jelagat (KEN) 1:08:24
2 Mehdin Beyene (ETH) 1:08:38
3 Deborah Samum (KEN) 1:09:57
4 Silenat Ysmaw (ETH) 1:10:07
5 Asmae Ghizlan (MOR) 1:12:11

Quentin Guillon for World Athletics


Yamaguchi and Kusuro take Kobe marathon titles

Haruka Yamaguchi of Japan and Ugandan Geoffrey Kusuro cruised to decisive victories at ninth Kobe Marathon, a World Athletics Bronze Label road race, on Sunday (17).

Yamaguchi, an unsponsored runner who clocked a 2:33:06 lifetime best in Sydney in September, pulled away early and was never threatened en route to her 2:27:39 victory. her performance also slashed nearly four minutes from the 2:31:38 course record set last year by Kenyan Susan Jerotich.

Further back, Ethiopians Sisay Meseret and Tesfanesh Merga finished second and third, respectively, clocking 2:31:30 and 2:31:43.

Kusuro, who had Kenyan Eliud Barngetuny for company for the first half, pulled away in the second en route to a 2:08:46 victory, also a personal best and well under the 2:12:42 course record set in 2017 by Morocco’s Khalil Lemciyeh. Kusuro, 30, warmed up for the race with a 59:54 run at a half marathon in Belfort, France, on 29 September. He set his previous marathon best of 2:10:53 at the Ljubljana Marathon last year.

Barngetuny was second in 2:12:23 and further back Junichi Tsubouchi of Japan was third in 2:14:05.