Two-time world indoor champion Yomif Kejelcha was the standout performer at the Adizero Road to Records event in Herzogenaurach on Saturday (30), winning the men’s 5km in 12:53 – the fastest debut in history.
The Ethiopian won by two seconds from Kenya’s Nicholas Kimeli, making it the first road 5km ever in which two men have broken 13 minutes. There was also record depth in the men’s 10km – won by Kibiwott Kandie in 26:50 – with five men finishing inside 27 minutes.
In the men’s 5km, a relatively large lead pack passed through the first kilometre in 2:36. By the time they reached 2km in 5:19, about 12 men were still in contention. With about 6:40 on the clock, Nicholas Kimeli hit the front and started to string out the lead pack. Kejelcha stuck with him and they reached 3km in 7:58.
Levy Kibet tried to go with the lead duo, but Kejelcha started to make a break with one kilometre to go. Kimeli picked up his pace and opened a gap on Kibet, but he was unable to catch Kejelcha in the closing stages as the Ethiopian won in 12:53, just four seconds shy of the world record. Kimeli was rewarded with a Kenyan record of 12:55, while Kibet finished third in 13:02. Further down the field, Italy’s Yemaneberhan Crippa set a European record of 13:14.
Kandie, as he so often does, timed his finish to perfection in the men’s 10km. The former world half marathon record-holder was part of a large lead group that passed through half way in 13:34. Fellow Kenyan Sebastian Sawe was level with Kandie by the end of the third lap (7.5km), timed at 20:16 at that point, but Kandie unleashed his trademark finish to win in 26:50, taking one second off his PB and consolidating his position at No.4 on the world all-time list.
Sawe, who won the Rome-Ostia Half Marathon last month in 58:02, crossed the line in 26:54 to move to fifth on the world all-time list. Burundi’s Rodrigue Kwizera, winner of this year’s World Athletics Cross Country Tour, set a national record of 26:56 in third place.
World record-holder Rhonex Kipruto (26:56) and Ethiopian record-holder Tadese Worku (26:59) finished fourth and fifth respectively.
There was a close finish in the men’s half marathon, with Mathew Kimeli earning his first ever victory over the distance in 59:30 from fellow Kenyan and namesake (but no relation) Benard Kimeli. Alfred Barkach of Kenya was third in 59:36 and Amos Kurgat made it a Kenyan 1-2-3-4 finish in 59:40.
Ethiopian runners dominated the women’s races. Senbere Teferi retained her 5km title, clocking 14:37 to win by 16 seconds from compatriot Medina Eisa, whose 14:53 clocking is a world U20 and U18 best. Kenya’s 2013 world 5000m silver medallist Mercy Cherono was third in 14:56.
Fentaye Belayneh made a convincing 10km debut, unleashing an impressive long drive for home en route to winning in 30:24, the fastest time by an Ethiopian in a women-only race. Kenyan duo Joyce Chepkemoi (30:33) and Sheila Chepkirui (30:35) took the other podium places.
Former 800m specialist Tigist Assefa took almost a minute off her PB to win the women’s half marathon in 1:07:28. Rosemary Wanjiru was second in 1:07:36, six second ahead of Ethiopia’s Bezabeh Zeray.