Meseret Hailu wins Women’s World Half Marathon Championship

Kavarna, Bulgaria – Battling against warm and humid conditions, Meseret Hailu led Ethiopia to an upset victory in the team race with her surprise triumph at the 20th edition of the World Half Marathon Championships in Kavarna, Bulgaria.

Temperatures along the sunny course that wound through this Black Sea coastal city of 12,000 rose to 30 C (86 F) during the morning’s first race, but that didn’t seem to faze the unheralded 22-year-old Hailu, who crossed the line in 1:08:55, a performance that sliced more than two minutes from her previous personal best.

“I am very happy for me and my country,” said Hailu, whose best previous outing came with her third place finish at the Prague Marathon in May where she clocked a relatively modest 2:27:15. “It was a very hard race, the temperatures were very hot.”

Hers was the first Ethiopian win at these championships since Berhane Adere’s victory in 2002 and only the second ever. Not too shabby for Hailu, who was competing in her first World Championship event.

It was also the closest race ever at these Championships, with her victory not secured until she passed Feyse Tadese in the race’s final 15 metres to win by less than a second. The pair, who produced the first-ever 1-2 finish for Ethiopia, weren’t on paper nearly as impressive as the daunting squad Kenya sent to Kavarna, but those stats and figures meant little soon after the race got underway. Read more

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