Tag Archives: World Half Marathon Championships

Hassan now sets her sights on the Copenhagen Half Marathon

After winning the 3000m at the IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018 in a world-leading and national record 8:27.50, Sifan Hassan will turn her attention to the roads and will run the Copenhagen Half Marathon – a five star certified road race by European Athletics Running for All – next Sunday (16).

Hassan has not raced over anything longer than 5000m this year, the distance at which she set a European record of 14:22.34 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rabat in July, so she is approaching the race with a mixture of trepidation and curiosity.

“It will be my first race on the roads for a long time and I’m interested to see how it will go. All my training has been for the track but, as you can see, I am in good shape. I will have to try to pace myself and I am not quite sure of the strategy, but I will get some advice and I am sure it will be fun,” said Hassan, after her victory in Ostrava where she was racing for Team Europe.

It will have been almost five years since Hassan last raced on the roads so the change of surface will be metaphorically and perhaps literally, a shock to the system but Hassan is out to enjoy the experience.

“It’s not my first half marathon, I did one before back in 2011 when I was 18 years old and I had also just started running on the track. It was in Eindhoven and I ran almost flat out for the first two kilometres and then was dying at that point but I was determined to finish and did so. In fact, I won the race in around 77 minutes (actually 1:17:10).

“I’m expecting to do better in Copenhagen but I don’t know what time I will run,” she added, deliberately not raising expectations but it’s not unreasonable to expect that Hassan will do well on the super-fast course in the Danish capital.

The European best for the year is 1:08:58 by Lonah Chemtai Salpeter – the Israeli will return to racing in October and is currently mulling over her options over which half marathon to contest – when she finished as the first European at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Valencia at the end of March.

However, it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that Hassan could top that, although adding another Dutch record to her list of accolades might be a tall order. This record currently stands at 1:06:25 to Lornah Kiplagat, which was a world record when she ran it to win at the 2007 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Udine, Italy.

Hassan’s coach Alberto Salazar said last week that he could foresee her, “running between 69 and 70 minutes (in Copenhagen) although she has not been training specifically for a half marathon.”

However, Salazar advised that despite her run in the Copenhagen Half Marathon that her championship ambitions remain very much focused on the track for the next two years albeit at the longer distances. “I definitely see Sifan as very competitive in the 5000m and 10,000m at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and after that we shall have to wait and see,” said the American.

And while Hassan doesn’t look set to follow the pace at the very front of the elite women’s race on Sunday, the inclusion of the reigning European 5000m champion is still a boon for the organisers.

“Sifan Hassan is an amazing name to add to the line-up. She ranks among the greatest athletes in Europe and we are honoured that she has chosen the CPH Half to test herself over the half marathon distance”, said Copenhagen Half Marathon competition director Henrik Paulsen, when the announcement that Hassan had been added to the field was made on Friday.

Source: european-athletics.org

JOURNALISTS HONOUR OVERLOOKED CHAMPION KAMWOROR

After being overlooked for his exploits by the Kenya Police Service, three time World Half Marathon champion Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor caught the eyes of journalists and was feted for bringing honour to the country.

The athlete who also doubles up as a track star was a recipient of the StarTmes/Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) Sports Personality of the month award.

Kamworor was recognized for his exploits in long distance running and specifically the 2018 World Half Marathon championships in Valencia, Spain where he successfully defended his title for the third consecutive time.

A panel of Sports journalists settled on the 25-year-old as the month of March, 2018, Sports Personality in favour of four times Africa Rally Championships (ARC) champion motorsports ace Carl Tundo who sealed his fifth Safari Rally title.

Kamworor becomes the ninth recipient of the award given in partnership between the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya and pay tv company StarTimes.

Kamworor who is managed by Global Sports Communication based in Kaptagat Uasin Gishu County received a  42-inch digital television set and KSh100, 000 courtesy of StarTimes.

“I want to thank journalists for recognising me with this award and Kenyans who have supported me all these years but I am unhappy that my employer has never seen anything good in me,” also the 2017 New York City Marathon champion.

Despite winning the World Cross Country Championships and World Half Marathon Championships titles thrice, and the World Championships’ 10,000 metres silver once, Kamworor, nicknamed “Man of all Surfaces” for his prowess in the track, cross country and road running competitions, is disappointed that his employer, the National Police Service, is yet to recognize and appreciate him for the honour he has brought to the country and Police force.

Kamworor complained that he has competed for the National Police Service for many years but has never promoted him despite his achievements.

“My Kenya Police colleagues have been promoted several times yet I have achieved more than them. It’s not about the money, but a pat on back in recognition of someone’s effort,” said Kamworor.

“The monthly award is a modest token to show that efforts by our athletes do not go unnoticed which will motivate other up and coming sportsmen and women to excel in their respective fields,” said SJAK President Chris Mbaisi.

Why Sam Chelanga Retired From Running at age 33

When Sam Chelanga was growing up in the village of Kabarsel, just north of the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, Paul Tergat would stop by the house as Chelanga tended to the animals on his family’s farm.

In a country known for its distance runners, Tergat is one of Kenya’s greatest ever — a two-time Olympic medalist, five-time world cross country champion, and former world record holder in the marathon. Tergat was a training partner of Chelanga’s brother, Joshua (a 2:07 marathoner), and treated Chelanga like a younger brother — he’d give him 1,000 shillings in pocket money, and in return Chelanga would ferry around the runners in Tergat’s group and drop off water on training runs in Tergat’s Toyota Land Cruiser.

“He would never let anyone [else] drive but he said, ‘Hey Sam, come drive my truck,’” Chelanga says.

Sometimes Tergat would ask Chelanga what he wanted to become when he grew up. Chelanga’s answer was always the same: a lawyer. Chelanga’s home village was poor and lacked reliable access to safe drinking water and hospitals. Chelanga hoped that a law degree would help him to deliver social justice.

Sam Chelanga with wife Marybeth and son Micah after earning his U.S. citizenship in 2015 (Courtesy Sam Chelanga)

But a law degree requires going to college, and college costs money. Tergat told Chelanga that there was another route to college: running. Reluctantly, Chelanga took up the sport, setting in motion a 13-year journey that included a decorated collegiate career at Liberty University and professional stops in Eugene, Ore., Hanover, N.H., Tucson, Ariz., and Colorado Springs, Colo.

On Thursday, one day after finishing 4th at the USATF 10k Championships at the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Chelanga, 33, announced that he has retired from professional running in order to enlist in the U.S. Army. On July 29, he will report to Fort Jackson in South Carolina for basic training; once he completes that, it’s off to Officer Candidate School in Fort Benning, Georgia, beginning October 15. Chelanga would like to specialize in military intelligence.

Even though Chelanga says he grew to love running, he was never motivated by medals or glory. As he went on to win four NCAA titles at Liberty and five U.S. titles on the roads as a pro (he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2015), many things drove him: a college degree, helping his family and home village back in Kenya, representing the United States, supporting his wife, Marybeth, and their two sons, five-year-old Micah and one-year-old Noah. But he wasn’t the guy who went to bed every night dreaming about Olympic gold. When he and Marybeth started dating, Chelanga never spoke about running. When I ask him what his proudest accomplishment in running was, he tells me that it wasn’t a race, but instead the moment when he realized he was actually going to graduate with a college degree “because that is why I started running.”

Chelanga’s retirement announcement prompts several questions. The most obvious: why now? Chelanga, who has trained with Scott Simmons‘ American Distance Project in Colorado Springs since 2016, was the top American finisher at last year’s World Cross Country Championships, finishing in 11th place. This year, Chelanga ran a half marathon personal best of 60:37 in Houston in January, finished 14th at the World Half Marathon Championships in March (again, he was the top U.S. finisher), and won the U.S. 25K title in May. He has plenty left in the tank.

Which is precisely why Chelanga felt it was important to join the Army now.

“I’ve done everything that I wanted to do in running,” says Chelanga, who achieved personal bests of 13:04 in the 5,000m and 27:08 (still the collegiate record, set in a very famous race where Chris Solinsky ran 26:59 and Galen Rupp 27:10) in the 10,000m. “I’ve got more than I asked for when I came in…I don’t want to wait until I’m old or something. I feel young, I feel fresh, I feel like I have a lot of energy and I want to take this job when I’m going to serve at the best level of my ability.”

There’s also this fact: Chelanga no longer has an endorsement contract, as his Nike deal expired at the end of 2017 (Nike did offer to renew it, but Chelanga turned them down).

Chelanga, who considered joining the Kenyan Air Force as a teenager, has always been inspired by men in uniform. He was also born with a desire to serve, and that desire was not being met as a professional runner.

“I left running because I wanted to do something [where] every morning, I wake up and feel fulfilled,” Chelanga says.

Chelanga’s path to the Army is untraditional, especially when contrasted with the journeys of his training mates in Colorado Springs. Several of them, such as Shadrack KipchirchirLeonard Korir, and Paul Chelimo, joined the Army as a way to acquire U.S. citizenship and continue their running careers representing the United States. Chelanga had to wait five years to become a naturalized U.S. citizen and decided to join the Army three years later.

Chelanga says that former Army WCAP coach Dan Browne did try to recruit him to join the Army while he was in college, but Chelanga says he was told by a recruiter that he could only enlist if he was a U.S. citizen or was in possession of a green card. That was not actually the case — the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program under which Chelimo and others gained their citizenship was established in 2009 — but regardless, Chelanga signed a contract with Nike when he exhausted his eligibility in 2011 rather than attempt to enlist in the military.

Chelanga has not forgotten his home village back in Kenya. During his professional career, Chelanga sent water filters back to Kabarsel so that every family had access to clean drinking water. Recently, he heard about the death of a neighbor, who passed away at the same hospital where Chelanga’s father died and hopes that one day he may be able to help upgrade it.

“I’ve always wanted to do something about that hospital,” Chelanga says. “It’s the only hospital in my district and it’s not even good.”

But Chelanga has other priorities, too. He’s a grown man, a family man, and believes he must do right by the country that has given him so much.

“I got into running with the mindset that I was going to help my community back in Kenya,” Chelanga says. “But now I have two kids, and those kids are going to grow up in the United States. This is their new community, this is my new community…Leading young men and women for the United States in the Army, it’s the biggest honor I would have ever asked. Not that I underestimate that what running has done or can do, but I just feel in my heart that this is a calling for me.”

letsrun.com

Gudeta’s World Half Marathon Championships record ratified

The International Athletics Association of Federations (IAAF) confirmed on Monday (14) that the world record that was set by Ethiopian Netsanet Gudeta on March 24 when she smashed the women’s only race world record at the world half marathon championships in Valencia, Spain.

Gudeta got a record of 1:06.11 to break a former record of 1:06.25 that was set by Dutch Lornah Kiplagat on October 14, 2007.
the 27 year-old got her first success in senior competitions after she had been the 4th place in Cardiff (UK) in 2016.
The winner’s podium was completed by Kenyan Jocyline Jepkosgei (silver medal) and Pauline Kamulu (bronze).
IAAF also ratified the world record by indoors got by the male 4×400 relay team of Poland, composed by Karol Zalewski, Rafal Omelko, Lukasz Krawczuk and Jakub Krzewina on March 4 at the Indoor Championship in Birmingham, UK with 3:01.77.
The Polish quartet won and set their record over US Kyle Clemons, David Verburg, Kind Butler and Calvin Smith, who got 3:02.13 in Sopot, Poland on March 9, 2014.

Lagat Is the Accidental athlete at World Half-Marathon Championships

After turning 43 last December, two-time Olympic medalist Bernard Lagat did not think he would make another appearance at an IAAF World Championships.

Beginning with the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in 2001, Lagat had qualified for 11 world championships, both indoors and outdoors, and had won three indoor titles and two outdoors. Although still competing, he was largely viewed as a “legend” athlete racing here and there for his own satisfaction in the twilight of his career.

Almost exactly a month later, the five-time Olympian from Tuscon, Ariz., lined up for the Aramco Houston Half-Marathon, a distance he had only run twice before. On an unusually cold Texas winter day, he kept an even pace and clocked a personal best and American over-40 record of 1:02:00 finishing in 15th place. He had no idea that his mark would qualify him for his 12th world championships, and his first as a road runner.

“It is a surprise,” Lagat told reporters here today at an outdoor press conference held at the finish line in the Ciudad De Les Artes y la Ciencias (City of Arts & Sciences) in the Jardin del Turia, Valencia’s huge park in the center of the city. “I think I used that word, like it was an accident. A lot of athletes were asking me in Houston, ‘hey Bernard are you trying to get the team?’ And I said, ‘look and see who is running here. Everybody is running. Therefore I’m just here to run a personal best.'”

Under USA Track & Field’s selection process, Lagat was actually sixth on the list (a full team is five athletes per gender). But two athletes above him, Christo Landry and Haron Lagat, were unable to accept their team spots, elevating Lagat to #4 on the list.

“I wasn’t looking into running the world championships,” Lagat admitted. “But then, that position made me fourth in the United States, and I said, ‘wow.’ They gave me the invitation and I said I’m taking it. I was really, really excited to be here.”

Lagat, who is the second-oldest competitor in the men’s field (the oldest is 43 year-old Maurice Turnock of Gibraltar who was born seven months before Lagat), doesn’t relish the half-marathon distance, at least not yet. He admitted that tomorrow’s race was going to hurt.

“It’s painful from mile-two,” Lagat said. “Since mile number two it starts to get painful. Mile-one is OK. I can run with these guys at 4:32, no big deal. I have 3:47 (personal best for the mile); so I can brag about that. The pain starts towards the half. As you keep going you just see everyone starting to leave you, and you’re on your own.”

If the weather cooperates, Lagat could improve his personal best, but beating Haile Gebreselasie’s world over-40 record of 1:01:09 would be a tall order, Lagat said.

“It’s going to be a tough one,” he said.

Nonetheless, Lagat plans to be as competitive as possible. That’s just how he’s wired.

“It is a big challenge for me, but I still have that competitive nature for myself,” Lagat said. “I always want to go out there and do the best that I can. We’ll see tomorrow how I’m going to fare.”

source: runnersweb.com

$245,000 in Prize Money up for Grabs at World Half Marathon

A total prize purse of US$245,000 is on offer at the IAAF/Trinidad Alfonso World Half Marathon Championships Valencia 2018 on Saturday 24 March.

Prize money (all amounts are in US$):
Individual
1st – 30,000
2nd – 15,000
3rd – 10,000
4th – 7000
5th – 5000
6th – 3000

Teams
1st – 15,000
2nd – 12,000
3rd – 9000
4th – 7500
5th – 6000
6th – 3000

WORLD RECORD BONUS

An athlete who surpasses a world record in Valencia will be awarded a US$50,000 bonus by the IAAF.

The current ratified world records are:

Men: Zersenay Tadese (ERI) 58:23
Women (single-sex race): Lornah Kiplagat (NED) 1:06:25

The payment of all prize money is dependent upon athletes undergoing and clearing the usual anti-doping procedures.

PREVIEWS PUBLISHED

Previews of both the men’s and women’s races are now published. The statistical reference, ‘IAAF/Trinidad Alfonso World Half Marathon Championships Valencia 2018’, compiled by noted statistician Mark Butler, is also available (download | read).

Timetable:
Saturday 24 March (times are local, GMT+1)
Women’s race: 17:05
Men’s race: 17:30

Yimer looks to break Medal Ground In Valencia

It usually takes young Ethiopian runners time to ward away the shyness and agree to interviews, especially when their most recent performance have catapulted them to the short list of favourites ahead of an upcoming major championships.

And it took some time and patience to convince Jemal Yimer, one of the key athletes to watch in the fight for the men’s title at the IAAF/Trinidad Alfonso World Half Marathon Championships Valencia 2018 following his scorching 59:00 debut for the distance at the RAK Half in the UAE last month. The 21-year-old finished second there in the fastest debut half marathon performance ever.

“Jemal does not like to talk much about his performances, nor show off or boast about his achievements,” his agent Malcolm Anderson says. “He is grounded, patient, and listens to the various people who support his athletics.”

Behind his quiet demeanor and short answers to interview questions lays a steely discipline that has so far been rewarded by upward mobility in an international career that has spanned less than two years.

RAPID RISE IN NATIONAL RANKS

Before venturing into the half marathon for the first time, Yimer’s best performances came at the IAAF World Championships London 2017 where he placed fifth in the 10,000m and earlier that year when he finished fourth in the senior men’s 10km at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Kampala 2017. These results, after his nation team debut at the 2016 African Championship in Durban, South Africa, where he was fourth in the 10,000m, show an athlete who is consistently finding a place on Ethiopia’s ultra-competitive major championship teams and knocking on the door for a medal.

“The world half marathon [championships] was my plan for 2018 because there are no major [track] championships in my event [10000m],” he says.

“My preparation has gone very well. I expect the team and myself to win medals [in Valencia]. That is why I am super excited when I am included in the team for the world championships. When I train in the national, the feeling is just different.”

Competing in Valencia is yet another step in fulfilling a prophesy that began two decades ago in the South Wollo zone of Ethiopia’s Amhara region. Born to a family of farmers and raised by his mother because his father was serving in the military during his early years, Yimer grew up with a sense of national duty and longed to serve his country in the line of duty.

STRONG COACH-ATHLETE BOND

“I really remember the time when I started running,” he says. “It was in 2010 when I was in school. I am not sure [what the event was], but I was watching TV and it was showing Tirunesh (Dibaba) and Kenenisa (Bekele) racing. I really wanted to be a runner and I was ready to fight for it. It meant wearing the national colours. It was an honour.”

His route to the top would go through the youth development centre in Debreberhan, very close to his home town, under the tutelage of coach Habtemariam Ayehu who would go on to play a crucial role in his development.

“He was ready to do anything for me,” he says. “There is this story in 2015 that I remember. I had a traffic accident when I was on my way to training. Habte was waiting for my arrival at the training ground. I was in a very good form. Unfortunately, the small van I was traveling in fell. That day, I saw him punching the vehicle [in anger] and crying after watching my critically wounded knee. I trust him after that because I watched him that day. He is like a mom and dad. He is the one behind my story from village to the world championships.”

That trust has helped guide Yimer to call-ups to Ethiopian squads for the last two years. Although Valencia is a major stepping stone in his development and presents a chance to finally break medal ground, Yimer says his immediate future lays on the track where he will be aiming for honours over the 10000m at the 2019 world championships in Doha and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“I am a man of the track,” he says. “I feel like the track is where I breathe better. I can train there the whole day.”