General News 8 October 2008 – Monte

Making history - the who, what and when of the World Half Marathon Championships

Lornah Kiplagat of the Netherlands on her way to victory (Getty Images)Lornah Kiplagat of the Netherlands on her way to victory (Getty Images) © Copyright

MonteCarloThe IAAF/CAIXA World Half Marathon Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Sunday 12 October marks the first occasion that this IAAF World Athletics Series event has been held in South America.

This year will be the seventeenth occasion that many of the world’s best distance runners have gathered to contest the global title on the roads. There have been 14 editions of the World Half Marathon (1992 – 2005) and two outings for the World Road Running Championships (2006 – 2007).

These competitions have been highlighted by the victories of some of the greatest ever exponents of distance running, Paul Tergat (KEN), Haile Gebrselassie (ETH), Tegla Loroupe (KEN) and Paula Radcliffe (GBR) being just four of the names which resonate in that context.

In such illustrious company how will the title hopes in Rio this weekend of the current reigning World Road Running champions Zersenay Tadese (ERI) and Lornah Kiplagat (NED) stand in history?

Taking both the World road title competitions together, Tadese is one of only two men who have claimed a pair of individual titles, his coming over 20km in Debrecen (HUN) in 2006 and last year over the half marathon distance in Udine (ITA). The other man to take double gold, also consecutively, is Tergat (1999 and 2000), so if the Eritrean was to succeed once more in Brazil then he would make global history. In a national context Tadese has already achieved such acclaim as his victory two years ago marked the first occasion that an Eritrean had captured a World title in any major sport.

The history of the women’s races at these World championships has already witnessed two three-time winners. In the case of Loroupe (1997, 98, 99) her victories were consecutive, while Radcliffe took her first title in 2000, retained the crown the following year, and then returned in 2003 to take her third success. Loroupe was also a bronze medallist as long ago as 1993.

Should Kiplagat come home first next Sunday, with two World Road Running victories (2006 and 2007) and a silver medal behind Romania’s Constantina Tomescu Dita in 2005 already in the trophy cabinet, the Dutchwoman would marginally better Loroupe’s medal record.

However, when all medals in both individual and team categories are taken into account, Loroupe stands well clear with eight podium paces taken between 1993 and 2003. It is a figure matched by Romania’s Lidia Simon who garnered her medals between 1996 and 2002. Kiplagat who formerly also competed for her native Kenya can claim a mass of four medals so far, a team title with her former country being achieved in 1998.

Ethiopia’s Tesfaye Jifar leads the men’s standings with 7 podium places taken between 1999 and 2003.

Chris Turner for the IAAF


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Facts and Figures - IAAF / CAIXA World Half Marathon Championships

All the statistics for this story and so many more useful facts can be found in IAAF Consultant Mark Butler’s latest edition of his Facts and Figures for this edition of the World Half Marathon Championships.

His 30 page publication can be downloaded in pdf format from ‘Related Content’ which is situated underneath the main photo at the top of this story.

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