Tirunesh Dibaba en route to a 46:28 World record in the 15Km in Nijmegen (Aktiefoto) © Copyright
In her first road race since 2005, the 24-year-old Ethiopian, who is the reigning 5000m and 10,000m Olympic champion, clocked 46:28* to shatter the previous mark of 46:55 set by Kayoko Fukushi of Japan in 2006.
The Zevenheuvelenloop, or Seven Hills Run, is an IAAF Label Road Race. It can now boast both the men’s and women’s World records. Kenyan Felix Limo clocked 41:29 eight years ago on the undulating course in this eastern Dutch city.
It was a double victory for Dibaba as her husband Sileshi Sihine, the two-time Olympic silver medallist in the 10,000m won the men's race in 42:14. He outsprinted Ugandan Nicholas Kiprono who was credited with the same time to win here for the third time.
Dibaba ran impressively especially in the final part of the race. At the 10 kilometre marker she was even with the World record split (31:23) but from that point on she simply accelerated and won by nearly half a minute. Already before the five kilometre point (15:58) her nearest opponent, compatriot Bezunesh Bekele, was 13 seconds back and would later reach the finish line 80 seconds adrift.
Dibaba began carefully. "Although I trained a lot together with my husband for this race, a roadrace is something different," she said. "I did not know what I could expect. Therefore I was not that fast in the beginning."
Dibaba’s last race on the roads was in April of 2005, when she clocked 14:51 at the Carlsbad 5000 in Carlsbad, Calif., still one of the fastest performances ever in a road race.
"I loved the course and I was feeling fine. After 10 kilometres I pressed the pace and in the final three kilometres it felt like flying. It feels good as you hear after the finish that your husband also has won."
Asked if she will run more often on the roads, Dibaba said, "I now can say I like the road but the track will still be my first goal."
Sihine agreed with his wife. "It feels fine as you win as a couple. We have trained a lot together for this race. It was nice to do."
The men's race was in the first five kilometres a four-man affair between Sihine, Kiprono, Abraham Rotich and Ayele Abshiro. After five kilometres with Sihine pressing the pace, only Kiprono managed to follow. The pair ran together until the final metres where Sihine out-sprinted his opponent.
* pending the usual ratification procedures
Wim van Hemert for the IAAF
26th Fortis Zevenheuvelenloop 15 kms in Nijmegen (The Netherlands) Sunday, 15 November
Temp. 10-12 degrees C,light wind, partly sunny.
1. Sileshi Sihine, ETH 42:14
2. Nicholas Kiprono, UGA 42:14 correct
3. Abraham Rotich, KEN 43:04
4. Ayele Abshiro, ETH 43:10
5. Stephen Kiprotich, UGA 44:07
6. Sibusiso Nzima, RSA 44:15
7. Jamal Baligha, MAR 45:26
8. Vitaliy Rybak, UKR 45:27
9. Saji Abdelkabir, MAR 45:41
10. Mario Krockert, GER 45:46
11. Patrick Stitzinger, NED 45:51
12. Ruben Scheurwater, NED 45:59
1. Tirunesh Dibaba, ETH 46:28 World record*, previous 46:55, Kayoko Fukushi (JPN), 05-Feb 2006, Marugame (JPN)
2. Bezunesh Bekele, ETH 47:48
3. Tetyana Holovchenko, UKR 50:33
4. Ilse Pol, NED 51:14
5. Merel de Knegt, NED 51:54
6. Agnes Kiprotich, KEN 52:09
7. Corine Spaans, NED 52:57
8. Petra Kaminkova, CZE 53:08
9. Loise Kangogo, KEN 53:46
10. Lindsay van Marrewijk, NED 54:12
11. Nadja Wijenberg, NED 54:33
12. Heleen Plaatzer, NED 55:07