When it comes to half marathon, Copenhagen is the place to run fast. That was indeed underlined at Sunday’s Copenhagen Half Marathon with the first three men dipping under 59 minutes
The last time to see a sub-59-time was in Valencia in October 2014 by Abraham Cheroben, and, again, Cheroben was the man to accomplish it. Now running for Bahrain, the former Kenyan could cross the finish line in an outstanding time of 58:40 minutes. Only the likes of Zersenay Tadese (58:23) and Samuel Wanjiru (58:33) has ever run faster in the history of half marathon. With the newcomer Jorum Okombo and Alex Oloitiptip – both from Kenya – clocking 58:48 and 58:51 respectively, CPH Half 2017 became only the second race in history with three men under 59 minutes.
Despite the impressive results, it really didn’t come as a surprise. The previous two versions of CPH Half already had showed fast winning times with 59:15 in 2015 and 59:07 last year, but on both occasions a strong headwind influenced on the race. Sunday there was hardly any wind in the Danish Capital. A temperature of 15 degrees, sunny conditions and crowds of people in the streets supporting all the 21.000 participant, showed to be the perfect recipe for personal records en masse.
The pacemaker led the leading group through the first 5K in 13:48 – three seconds slower than scheduled. Before the 10K-mark, the pacemaker had dropped out leaving a group of ten men on their own. The pace slowed slightly with 27:50 at 10K. Then last year’s winner, James Nwangi Wangari, could no longer keep up with the others, and at 15K (split: 41:53) the group now was reduced to five runners, among them the debutant Leonard Barsoton, silver medalist from the World Cross Championships in March. Soon after, however, he and his countryman Albert Kangogo could no longer keep up with the other three, leaving them alone to battle for the 1st prize of 10.000$.
Behind Cheroben, Jorum Okombo was today’s biggest surprise – and a name to look out for in future races. Born in 1997, the Kenyan had his debut in Holland earlier this year when taking a 2nd spot at the Venloop Half Marathon. Now with just 20 years of age, he has moved up to a joint 6th place on the all time list. With seven men under one hour – the same number as last year – the Copenhagen Half Marathon is the first race in history to accomplish that feat twice.
The female runners could also write history. As with the men, the women passed the 10 km mark in a large group, where the split 31:43 minutes indicated a new race record. On the last part of the course Eunice Chumba (Bahrain) created a lead and crossed the finish line in 66:11 minutes – a time that places her as a joint 9th in the all time list. The time was as well an improvement of Ingrid Kristiansen’s Scandinavian all-comers-record set in Norway 30 years ago.
In Copenhagen last year, Eunice Chumba missed the victory by only four seconds. Now triumphing in Copenhagen for the first time, the 24-year-old runner was, of course, very happy.
“It’s such a great course, and the atmosphere was superb. So I will definetely come back next year,” she said.
With two other women crossing the finish line below the 67 minutes, the CPH Half 2017 set a new standard for the women’s elite race. The foundation for achieving such fast times in Copenhagen was created back in 2014.
“The IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in 2014 is the initial foundation of this race. On that day in March 2014, it was clear that Copenhagen could indeed go on to become one of the top running cities in the world. Each year we make adjustments to further improve the event in order to be able to offer runners from all over the world a magnificent experience and a unique opportunity to run on an extremely fast course,” says Jakob Larsen, CEO at the Danish Athletics Federation.
Top 5 Men
Top 5 Women