Andamlak Belihu wins the TCS World 10K Bengaluru (Procam International) © Copyright
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Weekend road round-up: Belihu wins in Bengaluru, records fall in Cape Town and Copenhagen

Andamlak Belihu added the TCS World 10K Bengaluru title to the Delhi Half Marathon crown he won seven months ago, crossing the line in the IAAF Gold Label road race in 27:56 on Sunday (19).

In difficult conditions with high humidity and temperatures reaching 26C, the 20-year-old Ethiopian was prominent at the front of the leading pack from the outset. Eight men went through 5km in 14:11 before Uganda’s Mande Bushendich made an audacious early move just after the halfway point.

Bushendich went through the gears so rapidly that the leading group was quickly fractured and by 7km only Belihu was left to challenge him. It initially looked as though Belihu was also going to be dropped as he briefly struggled to stay with his rival –later saying that he had suffered some knee pain which then passed – but he took the lead again with just under two kilometres to go before he pulled away, never to be headed all the way to the line in the Garden City’s Sree Kanteerava Stadium.

Belihu crossed the line in 27:56, just eight seconds outside his personal best and 12 seconds off the course record. Bushendich finished second in 28:03.

“I expected to run a fast time as there were so many good runners in this race, but I also expected to run even faster than this,” said Belihu, who finished 10th in the 10,000m at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 while still an U20 athlete.

Agnes Tirop’s finishing time may have been more than two minutes slower than her 31:19 course record from 12 months ago but the world 10,000m bronze medallist retained her title and became the first woman to win back-to-back crowns in the 12-year history of the race.

Nine women went through the first half of the race in a modest 18:06, more than two minutes down on last year’s split. Tirop put in regular short bursts of pace during the next three kilometres but they did nothing to break up the group apart from dropping Bahrain’s world marathon champion Rose Chelimo.

Eight women were still closely grouped together as they entered the stadium for one final lap of the track. Ethiopia’s Letsenbet Gidey darted into the lead on entering the stadium but, with 50 metres to go, Tirop still had plenty in reserve and emerged victorious in a thrilling five-woman sprint for the line.

Tirop won in 33:55 with just two seconds covering the top five. Senbere Teferi was second and Gidey third, both women also given 33:55.

“I would have liked to have run faster and I did my best but no one else wanted to push hard so I was just content with the win,” said Tirop.


Latvian all-comers' records in Riga

Andualem Belay and Beyene Debele secured an Ethiopian double at the Tet Riga Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, and smashed the Latvian all-comers’ records in the process on Sunday (19).

Belay won convincingly in 2:08:51, the second-fastest time of his career, to take more than two minutes off the course record set last year. Kenya’s Silas Kiprono Too was a distant second in 2:12:27 with Julius Tuwei taking third place in 2:14:04.

Debele’s win in the women’s race was similarly convincing. Like Belay, Debele also produced her second-fastest time to date to win in 2:26:18, improving the course record by two minutes.

Worknesh Alemu (2:27:38) was also inside the previous course record, while Kumeshi Sichala (2:29:44) completed an Ethiopian sweep of the podium positions.


Danish all-comers’ records broken in Copenhagen

Jackson Limo and Etalemahu Habtewold took top honours at the 40th Telenor Copenhagen Marathon and set Danish all-comers’ records at the IAAF Bronze Label road race on Sunday (19).

Eleven runners passed the half-way stage in 1:04:18, putting them well inside the required pace to break the course record. Marathon debutant Victor Kiplimo and Ethiopia’s Gebre Roba Yadete broke free from the leading pack after 29km, but Yadete struggled to maintain the pace for much longer.

At 37km, Limo emerged from the chase pack and took the lead, building up a gap of 70 seconds over the last five kilometres and eventually winning in 2:09:54.

“My goal was to break the course record,” said Limo, whose only other sub-2:10 run dates back to 2014. “I ran my own race but at 25km I started to feel a minor hamstring pain. Luckily it disappeared after 32km.”

Two Danish male pace-makers led a group of four women through the first half in 1:13:33. The pace dropped slightly in the second half, but Habtewold built up a clear lead with about 10 kilometres remaining.

Fellow Ethiopian Dinknesh Mekash joined Habtewold with five kilometres to go, but the shared lead didn’t last long as Habtewold went on to win in 2:29:19, 53 seconds ahead of Mekash.


Kipkoech runs world’s fastest 12km in Cape Town

Brillian Kipkoech produced the fastest 12km run in history to win the FNB Cape Town 12 ONERUN while fellow Kenyan Morris Gachanga secured a hat-trick of titles in the men’s race at the IAAF Bronze Label event on Sunday (19).

Uganda’s Commonwealth 10,000m champion Stella Chesang went out hard with the intention of breaking Vivian Cheruiyot’s 38:22 course record from 2015 and led a group of five women through the first 5km in 15:58.

Chesang, Kipkoech, Sofiya Chege and Degitu Azamirew maintained that pace through 10km, reached in 32:00, and then upped their tempo for the last two kilometres. With a strong final 500 metres, Kipkoech out-kicked her opponents to win in 38:05.

The top four women all finished inside the previous world best for the rarely-run distance with Chesang taking the runner-up spot in 38:09, just ahead of Chege (38:10) and Azamirew (38:11).

“When I made my move at 11km, I wanted to see how my body felt and it responded well, so I attacked again with about 500 metres to go and was able to move away,” said Kipkoech. “I did not know about the course record, so I am very happy today.”

The first kilometre in the men’s race was covered in 2:47, prompting talks of a course record, but a slight headwind in the next few kilometres slowed the pace. All the main contenders, including defending champion Gachaga, were in the pack as they passed through 5km in 14:22.

The second 5km was covered in 13:50 as Abdallah Mande threw in numerous surges with Gachaga the only man capable of sticking with the Ugandan.

As the lead duo reached 11km, South Africa’s Stephen Mokoka had closed up on them until they attacked again in the final 500 metres with Gachaga emerging the winner in 33:38. Mande was second in 33:39 and Mokoka third (33:50).