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Eilish McColgan smashes British half-marathon record in Berlin

McColgan broke her own national best by an astonishing 43 seconds

Photo by: Kevin Morris

Eilish McColgan won the Berlin Half Marathon on Sunday in 65:43, beating her own British record by a whopping 43 seconds. She won the race by 30 seconds over second-place Tsigie Gebreselama of Ethiopia. This is McColgan’s second national record in the past month, joining the 10,000m British best of 30:00.86 that she ran in California on March 4. Kenya’s Sabastian Sawe won the men’s race in Berlin in 59 minutes flat. 

McColgan’s historic win 

In the opening stages of the race, McColgan and Gebreselama ran with Yalemget Yaregal, another Ethiopian, passing through the 5K checkpoint in 15:21. Over the next 5 km, Gebreselama pulled away from the other two women, building a lead of 12 seconds.

By the 15K mark, McColgan and Yaregal had made up no ground, instead losing even more time to Gebreselama, who won silver at the 2023 World Cross Country Championships in February. At that point in the race, Gebreselama held a 16-second advantage over McColgan and Yaregal, and it looked like the best they would be fighting for would be second place. 

However, McColgan was not interested in anything worse than first, and she laid down an incredible closing quarter of the race to pass Gebreselama and win by 30 seconds. This was a masterclass of grit, determination and patience from the British champion, and it resulted in a well-deserved national record. 

McColgan has had quite a start to 2023, with two record-breaking performances in the two races she has run so far this year—and it’s only April. If there’s anyone to keep an eye on as the 2023 season unfolds, it has to be her. 

Eilish McColgan
Eilish McColgan (Scotland) sets course record at 2022 London Big Half. Photo: James Rhodes

Sawe takes the win

The men’s race saw a group of eight running together through the first 5K. They passed this point in 13:55. Sawe was in the mix from the start, and after 10 km, only he and four other men remained in the lead group. By the 15 km checkpoint, it was a three-way battle at the head of the race, and although it stayed quite close until the end, Sawe managed to break away from his competitors and win by 11 seconds. He crossed the line in 59:00, two seconds off his PB, finishing ahead of fellow Kenyans Alex Kibet and Bravin Kiprop.

For full results from the Berlin Half-Marathon, click here

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