Kenya’s Leonard Komon and Serbian teenager Amela Terzic celebrated victories at the 32nd edition of the Peuerbach New Year’s Eve Run in Austria, with the former setting a race record of 18.32 on Monday (31).
A high quality field, combined with relatively mild temperatures of about 6°C, provided favourable conditions to attack the race record on the 6.8km run. Komon, the World record-holder for 10km and 15km, as well as his compatriot Geoffrey Kirui, both went under the long standing mark of 18:46 minutes set by Kenya’s Richard Limo back in 1999.
Komon, Kirui and Turkey’s 2012 European Athletics Championships 10,000m winner Polat Kemboi Arikan were together after three of the eight laps but by the halfway mark Arikan had been dropped, and eventually finished third.
The Kenyan pair kept going at a fast pace and battled it out until the last few strides. In a thrilling finish Komon, 24, prevailed over his younger compatriot while both were timed at 18:32, taking 14 seconds off the course record.
Austrian runners featured prominently with 1500m man Andreas Vojta clocking 19:30 to clinch fifth place in a sprint finish ahead of Kenya’s Cornelius Kangogo while multiple Austrian record holder Günther Weidlinger had a good comeback in seventh place after an Achilles injury had forced him to drop out of the Olympic Games marathon.
The women’s race was run over 5.1km and turned out to be a clash of generations as German marathon record holder Irina Mikitenko, 40, and Terzic, 19, ran shoulder-to-shoulder over almost the entire distance.
The young Serb, a recent winner of the SPAR European Cross Country Championships junior title and a 1500m silver medallist at the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships, surged decisively on the last lap and won in 16:03.
Mikitenko showed good speed for a marathon specialist and finished four seconds in arrears. Serbia’s course record holder Sonja Stolic was third in 16:33.
Andreas Maier (Organisers) for IAAF
Men’s race (6.8km)
1. Leonard Komon (KEN) 18:32
2. Geoffrey Kirui (KEN) 18:32
3. Polat Arikan (TUR) 19:05
4. Amos Mitei (KEN) 19:10
5. Andreas Vojta (AUT) 19:30
6. Cornelius Kangogo (KEN) 19:31
Women’s race (5.1km)
1. Amela Terzic (SRB) 16:03
2. Irina Mikitenko (GER) 16:07
3. Sonja Stolic (SRB) 16:33
4. Christiane Danner (GER) 16:46
5. Andrea Mayr (AUT) 16:46
6. Tatyana Vilisova (RUS) 16:51