Philemon Limo confirmed his status as the favourite for the Mattoni Ústí nad Labem Half Marathon when the Kenyan won in a course record of 1:00:38 at the IAAF Silver Label Road Race on Sunday (15), while compatriot Josephine Chepkoech broke the course record in the women's race.
In ideal conditions, a seven-strong pack ran close together through the 10km mark, which was reached in 28:29. Limo soon increased the pace and reduced the lead group to four, comprising fellow Kenyan Julius Lamerinyang and Ethiopian pair Abebe Negewo and Tamirat Tola.
Negewo gave Limo a run for his money during the last five kilometres and it was only right at the end on Mírové Náměstí square that it became clear that Limo would finish triumphant with a two-second victory over the Ethiopian.
Despite struggling with a knee injury this year, Limo took 19 seconds off the course record he set two years ago, crossing the line in 1:00:38. Negewo was second in a personal best of 1:00:40, while Lamerinyang was third in 1:01:15.
“I’d like to thank everyone for helping me get back into shape,” said a delighted Limo. “Now I’m back where I want to be. Breaking the record was an extra bonus to be honest. I didn’t think I was up to it but when I saw that my body was responding well, I decided to give it my all.”
In the women’s race, the elite runners were split up early on with Josephine Chepkoech breaking away from her compatriot Caroline Chepkwony after 2km, reached in 6:11.
After running the final 19km alone, Chepkoech finished in 1:09:08, improving by four seconds the former record of her compatriot Agnes Kiprop which had also stood since 2011. This year’s course had been made slightly easier as a 180-degree turn had been removed.
“I wasn’t confident about beating the race record here, but I ran well,” said Chepkoech.
A distant second was another Kenyan, Caroline Chepkwony, who came home almost two minutes later in 1:10:52. Ethiopia’s Betelhem Moges was third in 1:12:07.
Organisers for the IAAF