Joyciline Jepkosgei took the GENERALI BERLIN HALF MARATHON with a spectacular course record of 65:16.
The 27 year-old Kenyan smashed the mark of Dutch double Olympic Champion Sifan Hassan, who had won the race with 65:45 in 2019.
Second-placed Kenyan Nancy Meto was just five seconds behind, improving her PB by more than three minutes. With 65:21 she was also inside the former course record. Valary Aiyabei completed the Kenyan podium with 67:32 for third place.
Kenya’s Felix Kipkoech clocked a world leading time of 58:57 in partly windy but otherwise good conditions.
The 23 year-old improved his own world lead by 38 seconds. Fellow Kenyans Josphat Tanui and Philemon Kiplimo followed in second and third with 59:40 and 59:54 respectively.
A total of 15,096 athletes from 130 countries started at the 40th edition of the GENERALI BERLIN HALF MARATHON. 14,508 of them were half marathon runners, making this the biggest race in the world so far this year.
“This was a really nice race with a fantastic course. The wind was quite strong at times. But I am really happy with my performance and this gives me a lot of motivation for the London MarathonJoyciline Jepkosgei
The women’s race
Due to a tail wind during the first couple of kilometres some very fast split times were recorded. Kenyans Joyciline Jepkosgei, Nancy Meto and Valary Aiyabei stormed through the 5 k mark in 15:02.
This was well under world record pace. However the global mark of 64:02 then slipped out of reach when the wind hit the runners from the front for a longer section. Nonetheless the pace was still extraordinary fast.
The Kenyan trio passed the 10 k mark in 30:29. On the way to 15k (46:02) Valary Aiyabei lost contact.
In contrast Nancy Meto managed to hold on to the former world half marathon record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei (64:51) until the final two kilometers. She was rewarded by her fine race with second place and an improvement by more than three minutes to 65:21.
In preparation for the London Marathon on 3 October Joyciline Jepkosgei showed a world-class performance.
“This was a really nice race with a fantastic course. The wind was quite strong at times. But I am really happy with my performance and this gives me a lot of motivation for the London Marathon,“ said Joyciline Jepkosgei.
“I am really happy that we are able to run big major races again.“
While there were six runners achieving times of sub 70 minutes Berlin’s Rabea Schöneborn was the fastest German. She finished eighth with a personal best of 70:35.
The men’s race
With the wind coming from behind during the first section the men set off very fast as well. They passed 5k in 13:42 before a group of seven reached the 10k mark in 27:45.
They were still on course for the course record of Eric Kiptanui, which in contrast to the women was the official pre-race target. The Kenyan had won the Berlin race with 58:42 in 2018.
However during the second half the leaders lost a couple of seconds, when they battled the wind and pacemakers were dropping out. After 15k (41:57) Felix Kipkoech, Josphat Tanui and Philemon Kiplimo were in the lead.
This was no surprise as they were the trio on the start list with personal bests of sub 60 minutes. Kiplimo was then dropping back at 16k and Tanui could not hold on much longer as well. Felix Kipkoech was able to increase the pace in the final 3k (2:46, 2:48, 2:48) and managed to finish just below 59 minutes.
“I am really happy, this is the biggest win in my career,“ said the Kenyan who is still a newcomer. The 23 year-old only ran his first international races in 2019. This spring he won the Siena half marathon with a world lead of 59:35. Clocking 58:57 in Berlin he now improved his own mark by 38 seconds.
Germany’s Philipp Pflieger was the fastest national runner with a time of 63:03. He missed his PB by just 13 seconds and finished ninth.
1. Felix Kipkoech KEN 58:57
2. Josphat Tanui KEN 59:40
3. Philemon Kiplimo KEN 59:54
4. Raymond Magut KEN 60:16
5. Wisley Kibichii KEN 61:04
6. Bernard Wambua KEN 62:31
7. Godadaw Belachew ISR 62:33
8. Haftom Weldaj ERI 62:47
9. Philipp Pflieger GER 63:03
10. Christian Vasconez ECU 64:04
1. Joyciline Jepkosgei KEN 65:16
2. Nancy Meto KEN 65:21
3. Valary Aiyabei KEN 67:32
4. Nigsti Haftu ETH 68:05
5. Helen Tola ETH 68:27
6. Bezabeh Ftaw ETH 68:30
7. Izabela Paszkiewicz POL 70:28
8. Rabea Schöneborn GER 70:35
9. Medhin Gebrselassie ETH 70:53
10. Agnes Ngolo KEN 71:19
Meet The Authors
Yomog Meje is a former Nigerian junior athlete and the Associate editor at Athletics Africa.