Kenyan Leonard Komon won the 34th Vattenfall Berlin Half Marathon, on his debut at the distance, with a world-class time of 59:14 edging out compatriot Abraham Cheroben in a sprint finish on Sunday.
Komon, who earlier said he wanted to set the world record (58:23) still had plenty to celebrate as his time is an unofficial world debut record. He improved the 59:20 mark set by Moses Mosop when he debuted in Milan in 2010 by six seconds.
The 26-year-old, who is the world record holder on the road at 10 km (26:44) and 15 km (41:13), just edged Cheroben in the finish with both Kenyans timed at 59:14 - the second fastest this year. The Berlin's course record, set by compatriot Patrick Makau in 2007, still remains at 58:56.
"This was uncharted territory for me, now I'm going to work specifically on what I've done wrong this time yet," Komon said after the race.
"I am happy with my performance in my debut race. Of course I ran longer distances in training, but there is always a difference between training and competition."
"I thought I would be able to run sub 59 minutes. It was a challenge, but at the end there was something missing. But I know what to do and will try to run such a time in my next half marathon," he added.
Richard Mengich edged out another Kenyan Sylas Kimutai for the third position with both athletes timed at 1:00:17.
Ethiopia’s Tadelech Bekele won the women’s race in 1:10:05 despite swirling winds ahead of Kenya’s Agnes Mutune (1:10:13) with German Sabrina Mockenhaupt finishing third in 1:11:43.
- Komon, Leonard (KEN) 59:14
- Cheroben, Abraham (KEN) 59:14
- Mengich, Richard (KEN) 1:00:17
- Kimutai, Sylas (KEN) 1:00:17
- Chebii, Daniel (KEN) 1:00:40
- Kipkoech, John (KEN) 1:01:38
- Bekele, Tadelech (ETH) 1:10:05
- Mutune, Agnes (KEN) 1:10:13
- Mockenhaupt, Sabrina (GER) 1:11:43
- Neuenschwander, Maja (SUI) 1:12:43
- Kibor, Alice (KEN) 1:13:15