Kipsang upsets Tadese at world half-marathon championships

World half-marathon championship medallists.

Geoffrey Kipsang was crowned the world half-marathon champion over the weekend in a world best time for 2014 of 59:08 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The win is the Kenyan’s first world championship win in the senior rankings.

In an upset that would have seen him win a record sixth half-marathon world championships, Zersenay Tadese of Ethiopia was locked out of the podium, finishing fourth behind Eritrea’s Samuel Tsegay and Ethiopia’s Guye Adola, who both ran 59:21, with Tsegaye narrowly edging Adola for silver.

In the women’s race, Gladys Cherono of Kenya also won her first world championship title, leading a Kenyan podium sweep ahead of Mary Ngugui and Sally Chepyego. The three ran 1:07:29, 1:07:52 and 1:07:44, respectively. Kenya also had runners finished fourth and fifth, having their entire team beat out the rest of the field.

The race organizers introduced some big changes from previous years. Historically, the half-marathon championships have been their own event without recreational or non-elite competitors. This year, in an attempt to increase interest in elite racing, race organizers also held a recreational half-marathon which attracted 30,000 runners along with the 222 elite athletes.

The time of year was also changed. Usually, the event is held in the fall, but a suggestion to move it to the spring seems to have helped drive participation numbers. The decision was based on a thought that holding the half-marathon in the spring would attract runners who are preparing for a fall marathon and are not racing one during the spring season.