Ústí nad Labem – a city of records. The Mattoni Ústí nad Labem Half Marathon (awarded the IAAF Gold Label) can now proudly make such a claim. So far no RunCzech Running League race has seen all four best times in different categories smashed in one go. That time came today in Ústí with records broken in the categories of fastest man, woman, Czech man and Czech woman. And if this weren’t enough to celebrate, finishing in 59:14 defender of last year’s victory Kenyan runner, Barselius Kipyego ran the second fastest half marathon on this year’s world rankings, while enhancing his own event record by one second. Meanwhile the Bahrain representative Violah Jepchumba managed to advance the race record by over one minute (finishing 1:06:06). Jiří Homoláč (1:04:33) emerged as the fastest Czech man while RunCzech Racing Team member Eva Vrabcová-Nývltová (1:11:22) also enhanced the Ústí record by almost fifty seconds, despite not achieving her planned goal of recording a new Czech half marathon best.
A strong start line as well as ideal running conditions all pointed to a fast race earlier today in Ústí nad Labem. At twelve degrees and no wind, things certainly looked promising. “The weather seemed to be all over the place the week prior to the race, but in the end we, and above all the runners, were in luck. We couldn’t have asked for a better end to this year’s season if we tried,” a joyous Carlo Capalbo, President of the RunCzech Running League revealed adding: “the results of all elite runners are simply phenomenal, we’ve never experienced anything quite like it. A time under one hour and four race records overall – I think such results speak for themselves.”
The battle between the fastest men offered a gripping spectacle. In the final quarter of the race, last year’s winner Barselius Kipyego showed his thirst for victory by breaking away from rivals and dashing ahead to a powerful finish while shaving a second off his own event record and personal best. “ I really enjoyed the race. I ran really well, the weather was great and the race went exactly according to plan. As I headed towards the finish, I spotted the timekeeper and had a fair idea about how fast I needed to run. I’m pleased it turned out as it was meant to,” said the elated winner, describing the experience at the finish line. He was followed by RunCzech Racing Team member Josphat Kimutai Tanui whose time of 59:22 not only meant second place overall but also a new personal best. Running in third place, also breaking a new personal best was Ismail Juma (59:30). So all three podium men finished the race within 60 minutes.
Yuta Shitara also delivered a commendable performance, running a new Japanese record with a time of 1:00:17.
The fastest woman on the course Violah Jepchumba was also satisfied with her result. Representing Bahrain, the runner has had a truly excellent year, regularly making it onto the podium, but never reigning supreme until today. “I’m really pleased that it finally happened today and I managed to win. When you win and also manage to break a new race record, it’s impossible not to be happy,” declared the smiley winner whose time of 1:06:06 also meant a new personal best by one minute and eleven seconds. Running in second place, also scoring a new personal best was Nancy Jepkosgei Kiprop (1:07:22), followed in third place by Lucy Cheruiyot (1:07:23) also running a personal best.
The Czechs also delivered some commendable results on the Ústí nad Labem course. With a time of 1:04:33, Jiří Homoláč defended his victory title from last year, also enhancing his personal race record by one minute and eight seconds. “I have to say I’m utterly delighted, this is my third fastest half marathon ever. Everything is going well with my preparations and I hope that I’ll be able to deliver a half decent performance at the marathon I’m running in six weeks time,” the hopeful Czech winner revealed who had enough energy spare at the finish for a few press-ups. “A photographer at yesterday’s press conference was winding me up that my press-ups were great last year, so I promised him I’d do the same again this year providing I won,” boasted Homoláč. Finishing second with a season’s personal best of 1:06:04 was Vít Pavlišta, followed by Petr Pechek (1:07:14) in third place.
Eva Vrabcová-Nývltová set out with rather ambitious goals, announcing before the race that she planned to beat Alena Peterková’s Czech half marathon best. In the end she was twenty seconds off doing that but still her time of 1:11:22 still secured the runner her own Czech best on the Ústí course by almost fifty seconds. “The first ten kilometres went great and without any issue at all, I was convinced about breaking the record. But then my pacemaker dropped out at the ten-kilometre mark. While I managed to catch up with a Kenyan runner, she wasn’t so keen on cooperating and by the finish I just didn’t have the strength. My result today is really motivating for me, it was a wake-up call, “Eva Vrabcová-Nývltová revealed. She was joined on the podium by Radka Hanzlová (1:17:16) and Tereza Ďurdiaková (1:17:51), both recording new personal bests.
The seventh Mattoni Ústí nad Labem Half Marathon played host to a total of 3 700 long-distance runners from 39 countries around the world.
You can watch the highlights of the race HERE.
Top 5 Men
Top 5 Women