Mestawat Tufa & Zersenay Tadese set course records at Gifu Seiryu Half-Marathon

Mestawet TufaEritrea’s Zersenay Tadese and Ethiopia’s Mestawet Tufa set new course records when winning at the third edition of the Naoko Takahashi Cup / Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon, an IAAF Bronze Label Road Race in 1:00:31 and 1:10:03 respectively on Sunday.

Zersenay, the six-time World champion on the roads and at cross country, improved the former course record set by Kenya’s Martin Mathathi two years ago by 16 seconds – and Mathathi also won last year in 1:01:29 – while Tufa, in her first race over the distance since 2010, sliced neatly three minutes off the course record set by South Africa’s Rene Kalmer 12 months ago.

Women’s Race

The women’s race turned into a thrilling duel between Tufa, the 2007/8 IAAF World Cross Country Championships silver medallist, and Kenya’s Eunice Jepkirui, the pair starting the race at a super-fast pace, passing 5km in 16:04, which put them initially on course for a time below 68 minutes and gave them a lead of over a minute from the best of the rest of the women’s field.

Inevitable the pace started to slow but, running together, the pair passed 10km in 32:47, 15Km in 49:36 and then 20Km in 1:06:36. However Tufa surged just before they entered the stadium and won from Jepkirui, third in the Paris Marathon last month, by six seconds; with Australia’s Lara Tamsett a distant third in 1:13:33. Read more

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