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Weekend recap: course records fall in Copenhagen and Bengaluru

The world half-marathon record holder, Kibiwott Kandie, was upset by Kenya's Nicholas Kimeli at the Bengaluru 10K

Photo by: Sparta Atletik 

Course records were broken at the Copenhagen Marathon and the Bengaluru 10K over the weekend. Both races welcome back tens of thousands of runners and saw previous race records smashed by some of the world’s top East African runners. 

Copenhagen Marathon

The men’s course record was shattered by Eritrea’s Berhane Tsegay, who crossed the finish line in 2:08:23, taking a minute and a half off the previous record from 2019, while Helah Jelegat Kiprop of Kenya won the women’s race, smashing the previous record by five minutes, in 2:24:10. 

Eritrea’s Berhane Tsegay crossed the finish line in 2:08:23. Photo: Sparta Atletik 

The flat and fast course in combination with the mild sunny conditions, made for the perfect racing environment in the Danish capital. The men’s race didn’t get started until the 30K mark, as the group of ten men dwindled to four, with Tsegay, his compatriot, Henok Tesfaye; Kenya’s Daniel Kipchumba and Samuel Kiplimo. With just over two kilometres to go, Tsegay made his move on the group, surging the finish line 16 seconds ahead of Tesfaye, who also finished under the previous course record in 2:08:39. Kipchumba came third in his marathon debut in 2:08:55.

Helah Jelegat Kiprop of Kenya won the women’s race in 2:24:10. Photo: Sparta Atletik 

Jelegat Kiprop returned to the podium in Copenhagen, two years after giving birth to her son. The 37-year-old 2015 World Championship silver medallist was not one of the favourites going into the race, but she said after the race that she plans to continue racing. Jelegat Kiprop holds a personal best of 2:21:27 from her win at the 2016 Tokyo Marathon. Muluhabt Tsega of Ethiopia looked strong throughout the race but settled for second place in a personal best time of 2:24:23. 

Both Jelegat Kiprop and Tsegay’s times are now Danish all-comers records.

Bengaluru 10K

Kenya’s Nicholas Kimeli and Irene Cheptai broke the course record in the 14th annual World Bengaluru 10K, clocking times of 27:38 and 30:35 minutes, respectively.

The race began unusually, with Kenya’s Reynold Kipkorir, taking out the pace on his own for the first 5K, passing the mark in 14-flat while the rest of the field remained around 10 to 15 seconds behind. At the 5K mark, Kimeli, Kibiwott Kandie and Tadese Worku began working together to pull Kipkorir back in before passing him just before the around 6.5 km.

Worku put on a surge in the final kilometre but was unable to respond when Kimeli eventually took the lead, with the two men sprinting like middle-distance runners over the final 300m in Bengaluru’s Sree Kanteerava Stadium. Kimeli’s kick was unmatched to finish first, with Worku second in 27:43. The half marathon world record holder, Kandie, was third in 27:57.

The women’s race unfolded very differently than the men’s, with Cheptai taking a big chunk out of the women’s course record, which had been held by the late Agnes Tirop at 31:19, which she ran in 2018.

The lead pack was down to three women around the 5K mark, Cheptai, two-time Olympic silver medalist Hellen Obiri, and Joyce Tele of Kenya. 

Tele was the first to lose contact with the group after 5K when Obiri began pushing the pace after hitting the 5K mark in 15:15. Obiri led the race for the next two kilometres before Cheptai took her turn to push at the 8 km mark. The Kenyan duo continued to battle, until about 300m left, when Cheptai surged past Obiri, crossing the line in a personal best of 30:35 minutes. Obiri crossed in second in a personal best time of 30:44. Tele was third in 31:47.