Turku, FinlandJosephat Kiprono Menjo did what he had promised in Turku recording a 2010 world leading 26:56.74 personal best time at the Paavo Nurmi Stadium in the sixth leg of the 2010 Tilastopaja Cup, series of meets hosted by Turun Urheiluliitto, the club of Finnish distance running legend Paavo Nurmi. And what could be a better place for a top 10,000m time than the stadium holding the name of the nine-time Olympic gold medallist.
In fact Menjo’s run was the first world leading 10,000m mark here in Turku since 16 June 1965, when Australian Ron Clarke clocked 28:14.0 for the win, then under the World record, but the record was never ratified because of a technicality.
31-year-old Menjo, who was eighth in Osaka World Championships in 2007 in 10,000m, run a super fast solo race in Turku just 11 days ago clocking 12:55.95, missing the world leader by just a few seconds that time. But today it was not going to happen as the Kenyan targeted 64-second laps and 2:40 kilometres for a 26:40 finishing time. Three runners started the race, but Menjo had dropped the Finnish duo some 150m back with just 800m to the race!
The race started at 16.30 local time, with a temperature at 13 degrees Celsius and a slightly wet track after some rain earlier during the day. In the chilly conditions Menjo started the race on World record pace reaching 1000m in 2:37.35. Like with the 5000m on the same track before, Menjo tried to start fast as running alone he knew the pace would slow down a bit towards the latter part of the race. Menjo clocked 5:16.42 for 2000m and 7:58.12 for 3000m still well within his timetable. 4000m was passed in 10:38.36, but then the fifth kilometre was a slower one in 2:43.93, but 5000m was still superfast 13:22.69.
The next kilometres proved to be a bit over 2:40 and quite quickly after the 5000m mark it was clear that it would be a fight against American Chris Solinsky’s 26:59.60 world leading time, after all the American had run a much faster 13:25 last 5km after a 13:34 start in his race. 6000m split was 16:04.50 and 7000m 18:48.86 with the pace per kilometre dropping closer to 2:45. Menjo then clocked 21:33.46 for 8000m and 24:18.24 for 9000m and knew that another 2:40 kilometre would bring him the world leading time and the first sub 27-minute 10000m of his career.
Menjo accelerated immediately after the 9000m mark running the next two 200 metres in 32 seconds and had a full 65 seconds for the last lap to reach his goal. A 61.98 last lap and 2:38.50 last kilometer were good enough to bring him the world leading time 26:56.74. This was also the biggest ever win with a winning time like this, Joonatan Oporta finished in second place clocking a 31:57.08 personal best more than five minutes behind the winner!
Very quiet and modest Menjo said after the race that this was his last race of the 2010 track season. Menjo’s manager Antti Lähteenmäki said that the runner had declined an offer to race in the Brussels 1500m and chose to race in Turku instead.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF
1 Josephat Kiprono Menjo KEN 26:56.74
2 Joonatan Oporta FIN 31:57.08
- Johannes Brunila FIN DNF
Menjo’s 200m splits: