Geoffrey Kamworor took 17 seconds off the world record at the Copenhagen Half Marathon on Sunday, winning the IAAF Gold Label road race in 58:01.
The 26-year-old Kenyan returned to the Danish capital, the scene of his first of three world half-marathon titles, in a bid to improve on the world record of 58:18 set in Valencia last year by Abraham Kiptum.
Outside of his appearances at the World Half Marathon Championships, it was Kamworor’s first 13.1-mile race since November 2014.
His goal of breaking the world record was such an important target that he passed up the opportunity to compete at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019.
Kamworor was part of a large group through the first five kilometres, covered in 13:51, just outside world record pace, but he upped the tempo and reached 10 kilometres in 27:32, six seconds inside his target time.
Shortly after, he was out in front alone but faced the prospect of covering the final 11 kilometres without company. It didn’t seem to faze him, though, nor did the brief heavy rain fall that occurred with 37 minutes on the clock.
He covered the next five-kilometre segment in a swift 13:31, reaching 15 kilometres in 41:03, 11 seconds inside sub-58-minute pace. His pace dropped slightly for the final quarter but he looked strong and was still operating well inside world record pace.
The clock ticked over to 58 minutes just before Kamworor reached the finish line and moments later his winning mark was confirmed at 58:01.
Five other men finished inside 60 minutes with Bernard Kipkorir taking second place in 59:16 from Ethiopia’s Berehanu Wendemu Tsegu (59:22) and Edwin Kiprop Kiptoo (59:27).
Ethiopia’s Birhane Dibaba Adugna, the 2018 Tokyo Marathon champion, won the women’s race in 1:05:57, taking almost two minutes off her lifetime best.
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World Athletics (formerly the International Association of Athletics Federations - IAAF) is the international governing body for the sport of athletics, such as running, jumping and throwing.