Chelimo and Kbrom win in Valencia
World 5000m silver medallist Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi and Norway’s Zerei Kbrom took commanding victories at the 10km Valencia Ibercaja, a World Athletics Label race, on Sunday (3) in the Mediterranean Spanish city in ideal weather for running.
The 28-year-old Chelimo moved to equal third place on the world all-time list thanks to a 29:50 clocking – though just an hour or so later she had been bumped down to equal fourth on the list, following Kalkidan Gezahegne’s world record in Geneva – while 35-year-old Kbrom managed a huge career best of 27:39.
Perfectly paced by Spain’s José Ignacio Jiménez and Kenya’s Elkana Kibet Kwambai, the women’s race kicked off at the scheduled sub-3:00-kilometre pace in the hunt for the world record of 29:43 set by Joyciline Jepkosgei in 2017. During the early stages Dorcas Kimeli, a 29:57 performer, stuck closest to the pacemakers with fellow Kenyans Chelimo, Norah Jeruto and Rosemary Wanjiru – who won in 29:50 here last year – all close by.
That leading group covered the early kilometres just outside the required pace to attack the world best but proved to be too quick for Kimeli and then for Wanjiru who lost ground shortly after the fourth kilometre which was reached in 11:53.
The pace stepped up in the fifth kilometre as Chelimo and Jeruto reached the half-way point in 14:48, well inside world record schedule. Shortly after, Jeruto, who turned 26 the day before, just couldn’t live with the pace and from then on the race turned into a solo run for Chelimo.
Despite being accompanied by pacemakers until the end, Chelimo was unable to maintain her speed throughout the second half and she soon drifted off world record pace. An exhausted Chelimo reached the finish in 29:50 to obliterate her previous best of 30:57 set in Bolzano last December.
Jeruto, the world leader in the steeplechase this year, finished a distant runner-up in 30:08 while Sandrafelis Chebet came from behind to complete a Kenyan podium sweep in 30:45.
“The race was good,” said Chelimo. “I missed out on the world record, but at least I bettered my career best so I’m very satisfied.”
Without any pacemakers, the men’s race opened at an even 2:45-per-kilometre pace with a lead trio comprising Collins Koros, fellow Kenyan Ronald Kipotrich Kirui and eventual winner Kbrom, who clocked 1:00.07 at the Copenhagen Half Marathon two weeks ago. The lead pack reached halfway in 13:45 before Koros broke away to open a sizeable margin on Kbrom while Kirui ran alone in third.
When everything looked set to go in Koros’s favour, Kbrom reemerged during the final kilometre to pass the Kenyan and win in a lifetime best of 27:39, improving Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s Norwegian record by 15 seconds.
Koros settled for second in 27:41 while Kirui also finished inside 28 minutes (27:56).
“I came to Valencia to break my PB and I managed to do so,” said a delighted Kbrom. “I also won the race, so I can’t ask for more. I’m grateful to my coach, manager and the organisers.”
posted Sunday October 3rd