Billed as an attempt on the world record, the 2015 Copenhagen Half Marathon saw Run-Fast athletes assemble in a truly star studded field. Unfortunately the early morning weather, in particular a 20kmh wind in addition to rain, quickly put paid to the organisers and elite athletes’ aspirations for a world record. Nonetheless spectators and competitors alike knew that an exciting and combative race lay ahead. Six of the elites had previously run the distance in 59 minutes and a further three in 60 minutes, not to mention the half marathon debutants who had run 27 minutes for 10K; clearly a gladiatorial battle would commence.
The course itself is very quick, faster even than the world record course of 18 months ago in the same city. In spite of the windy conditions the field were still up for the challenge and minds focused on the $10,000 first prize, plus additional time bonuses.
The pacemakers lead off at really quick with Run-Fast athlete Edwin Kipyego in 3rd place; there was still a pack of 20 runners at the 5km mark which was reached in 13:54. Here the wind began to take its toll with the first of the pacemakers dropping to the back of the pack. By 10km (reached in 27:56) the pack was down to 12 athletes and the remaining pacemakers had dropped out. Edwin continued in 3rd place alongside a rapidly thinning group.
By 15km the group was down to four with Kenyan athlete Bedan Karoki piling on the pace to open a small gap of a few seconds on compatriots Edwin, Simon Cheprot and Alex Korio. The latter three made a tactical error in letting Karoki open up a gap at this point as he increased the pace even further in the last few kilometres and they were just unable to respond as he led home in 59:14, a remarkable time considering the windy and wet conditions.
In the final finishing straight it was a ‘do or die’ effort for the remaining pack of three to fight it out. Alex Korio was able to grab 2 seconds on Edwin who took 3rd place in 59:30. This is the first time that Edwin has completed the distance in under 60 minutes and a new PB by some 34 seconds places him 5th fastest in the world this year and ahead of Mo Farah in the all-time rankings.
In the women’s race, Run-Fast athlete Gladys Yator was ranked 7th fastest on the start line but Gladys was in good shape and hoped for a PB performance.
Again the race pace was very quick, a group of about five women, including Gladys, reached 5km in under 16 minutes. The leading five ladies reached the 10km mark in 32:18, approximately a minute quicker than planned for Gladys. By 15km the group had really split with only two runners at the front, the eventual winner Purity Cherotich Rionoripo and the Ethiopian runner Sutame Asefa. Gladys at that stage was suffering from a combination of the faster than planned pace and a stomach problem which eventually saw her fall back from 3rd place to finish 7th in 1:10.54, some 10 seconds off her personal best. The winner Purity finished in 1:08.29 followed by Sutame in 1:08.47.
With better weather conditions better times could have been had but all in all it was an exciting race for both the men and women.