Eighteen months after Copenhagen, the Danish capital, hosted the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, Kenya’s Bedan Karoki won the inaugural edition of the Copenhagen Half Marathon, clocking a world-leading 59:14 at the IAAF Bronze Label Road Race on Sunday (13).
His time was a personal best and his victory meant that Karoki remains undefeated at the half-marathon distance, having won his previous three races over 13.1 miles last year.
Mild rain and a temperature of 15C offered good conditions for the 24,000 participants, although it was a bit windy. The two pacemakers ran the first 5km in 13:54, but they dropped out just before 10km, which was reached in 27:56. With 12 men still in contention, Karoki took up the running at the front.
The pace dropped slightly in the next five kilometres, but only four other men – Edwin Kipyego, Alex Oloitiptip, Simon Cheprot and Paul Lonyangata – were able to stay within a few seconds of the world cross-country silver medallist. Karoki passed the 15km mark in 42:05 with a lead of two seconds over Kipyego and Oloitiptip.
No one could follow Karoki’s strong pace over the final three miles and he crossed the line in 59:14, just six seconds short of the Danish all-comers’ record set in the same city by Geoffrey Kamworor at last year’s IAAF World Half Marathon Championships.
“The weather was not too bad; perfect temperature, but a bit windy,” said Karoki. “I am very happy with my PB. At 8km the pace was slowing down, so I wanted to push. It was a bit hard to run mostly on my own. With more competition, I could have run under 59 minutes.”
Kenyan athletes filled the top nine spots with the first three setting PBs. Oloitiptip finished second in 59:28 with Edwin Kipyego clocking 59:30 in third and Simon Cheprot taking fourth in 59:32. The Kenyans indeed swept the prize money taking the first nine spots.
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