CPH Half witnessed 15 runners within an hour, double Ethiopian victories and a new para world record.
Conditions were ideal and all spots sold-out at 25,000 entrants, as the 8th annual Copenhagen Half Marathon took place on Sunday September 18.
15 men inside an hour and double Ethiopian Victories
In both the men’s and women’s races, Ethiopia triumphed with a double victory.
Last year’s winner, Amedework Walelegn, was eager to repeat his victory but had to settle for the second spot in 59:05 minutes – seven seconds after his compatriot Milkesa Mengesha, who won in 58:58 cutting 50 seconds off his previous personal best set in Lisboa last year.
“I am not surprised with my victory today. It was a good competition and a great crowd, and I always perform well in Denmark,”
So the 22-year-old Mengesha said after the race with reference to his gold medal from the World U20 Cross Championships in Aarhus three years ago.
After a steady opening 5km of 14:02, the pace in the men’s race dropped slightly in the following few kilometres as the large lead pack reached 10 km in 28:10.
The leading contenders – which included Mengesha and his compatriots Amedework Walelegn and Chala Regasa, Kenya’s Felix Kipkoech, Vincent Kipkemoi and Edmund Kipngetich, and South Sudan’s Dominic Lobalu – then started to increase the pace.
By the time of the 15 km checkpoint, reached in 42:06, the lead pack was down to 12. They remained bunched together for a few more kilometres before Mengesha started to ease away, carving out a small lead before going on to win in 58:58. Compatriot Walelegn followed him home in 59:05, two seconds ahead of Kipkoech.
Further back, Switzerland’s 40-year-old Tadesse Abraham became the oldest man in history to finish inside 60 minutes for a half marathon, clocking 59:53.
A total of 15 men finished inside an hour at the World Athletics Elite Label road race, the race witnessed a record depth.
Ethiopian duel in the women’s race
In the women’s race, Tsigie Gebreselema seemed for a long time to be able to break the race record of 65:08 set last year, but the Ethiopian couldn’t keep the high speed in the last phase and was in the end beaten by Tadu Teshome who won in a personal best of 66:13 minutes.
“I really felt good today and am very happy with my performance. My next goal is Valencia Marathon in December where I hope to run 2:18-2:19,” Teshome said.
In contrast to the men’s race, which increased in pace as it went on, the women’s race started off remarkably quick but soon became a war of attrition as athletes tried to hold on as best they could.
When the first 5 km was covered in a swift 15:19, most of the lead pack decided to ease off the pace, but Teshome and Tsigie Gebreselama maintained that tempo for another 5km, reaching 10km in 30:40 – inside both of their PBs for 10km.
Gebreselama then broke away from Teshome and opened up a gap of 30 seconds by 15km, reached in 46:39, but it didn’t last. Teshome came back over the next few kilometres and caught her compatriot with about two kilometres to go.
Once she was in the lead, Teshome continued to pull away and she went on to win in 1:06:13, 22 seconds ahead of Gebreselama, who was making her half marathon debut. Ethiopia’s Tiruye Mesfin almost caught Gebreselama, eventually finishing third in 1:06:42.
Ny Danish para world record
While no race records where broken in the men’s and women’s races, see race witnessed a new para world-record, as the domestic runner Christian Lykkeby-Olsen made it to the finish in 1:09,33. Lykkeby thereby managed to lower the previous record in his T46-class by more than a minute.
“I feel absolutely amazing. It was damn hard, but I did it. I am overwhelmed with joy and really proud that I managed to break the World Record,” told Christian to the Danish National Television ‘DR Sporten’.
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