Just three days after her loss to rival Meseret Defar over 5000m in Zurich, World and Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba took to the roads in Tilburg on Sunday (1) in search of a World record.
The Ethiopian fell short of her target, but only just. Her winning time of 30:30 was the fourth-fastest performance in history for 10km. It also broke her own national record from earlier this year as she ran 19 seconds faster than she did in Manchester back in May.
In just her third ever race over the distance on the roads, Dibaba covered the first half in 15:21, which left her with a lot of ground to make up in the second half if she was to challenge Paula Radcliffe’s World record of 30:21 set more than a decade ago.
By this point, the 27-year-old was 21 seconds ahead of her nearest challenger, fellow Ethiopian Genet Yalew, the 2011 World cross-country junior silver medallist. Kenya’s Esther Chemtai was just one second adrift of Yalew in third place.
Despite covering the second 5km section in 15:09, Dibaba had left herself with too much work to do in her World record bid and crossed the line in 30:30 – a time that only three other women in history have bettered.
Dibaba’s winning time also took a 27-second chunk off the course record, set last year by Gladys Cherono, the Kenyan who finished second to Dibaba in the 10,000m at this year’s World Championships.
Chemtai overtook Yalew to finish second, but was more than one-and-a-half minutes behind Dibaba, finishing in 32:06 with Yalew clocking 32:09.
Eritrean teenager takes men’s 10-mile
The men’s race, held over 10 miles, was much closer. A large group of 12 athletes went through the 5km mark in 14:39, led by Khalid Choukoud of the Netherlands, Eritrea’s Tsegay Tuemay and Kenyan duo Peter Kamais and Stephen Kiplagat.
Just three men were left at the front five kilometres later, as Tuemay had Kenyans Vincent Yator and Wilson Chebet for company. Their injection of pace saw them pass 10km in 28:51 with Choukoud having fallen back eight seconds by this point, just a couple of seconds ahead of Kamais and Kiplagat.
Tuemay continued to push the pace and managed to make a break from his two challengers after covering the third 5km section in 14:07, the fastest of the race. Yator was now nine seconds behind with Chebet a further four seconds in arrears.
Seventeen-year-old Tuemay, who finished fourth in the junior race at this year’s IAAF World Cross Country Championships, maintained his lead to the finish, crossing the line in 46:06. Yator crossed the finish-line 12 seconds later with Chebet taking third place in 46:26.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF