World Athletics has ratified the half marathon record of 58 minutes and one second set by Kenya’s Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor on Tuesday.
In a sensational run, Kamworor chopped 22 seconds from the previous record at the Copenhagen Half Marathon on September 15, coming tantalisingly close to breaking the event’s 58-minute barrier.
It was an apt setting for the 26-year-old Kenyan who won the first of his three successive world half marathon titles in the streets of the Danish capital in 2014.
Covering the first five kilometres in 13:53, just outside world record pace, Kamworor upped the tempo to reach 10 kilometres in 27:34, four seconds inside his stated target.
He was in front alone by the 11-kilometre mark, but didn’t slow. He reached 15 kilometres in 41:05, the fastest time ever recorded for that distance and a stunning 11 seconds inside sub-58 minute pace.
His pace dropped over the waning stages but he still reached 20 kilometres in 55:00, another world best. He was just a few metres from the finish line as the clock moved to 58 minutes before stopping at 58:01.
“It is very emotional for me to set this record,” said Kamworor, who also won back-to-back world cross country titles in 2015 and 2017.
“And doing it in Copenhagen, where I won my first world title, adds something to it.”
The previous record of 58:23 was set by Zersenay Tadese in Lisbon in 2010 with the 58:18 ran by another Kenyan, Abraham Kiptum in Valencia on October 28 last year, chalked off the record books after he was suspended from the sport for doping.
Kamworor continued his fine 2019 by winning his second New York Marathon title in two hours eight minutes and 13 seconds on November 3, reclaiming the crown he last won in 2017.
Besides his mastery of the roads, the versatile distance runner also owns three World Cross titles, his first coming when he won the junior 8km gold at the 2011 edition in Punta Umbria, Spain.
Kamworor added the senior titles at the 2015 and 2017 World Cross meets in Guiyang, China and Kampala, Uganda in that order.
Earlier this year, he was beaten to bronze in Denmark where Uganda’s Joshua Cheptengei succeeded him as the senior 10km champion in Aarhus, Denmark.
On the track, Kamworor who was raised in the village of Chepkorio in Kenya’s Rift Valley brought home the silver medal in 10,000m at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, China, beaten to gold by British multiple distance champion, Mo Farah.
He is a training partner of world marathon record holder, Eliud Kipchoge.
Story by CGTN Africa Sports Reporter Mutwiri Mutuota