EritreaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Zersenay Tadese and EthiopiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mestawet Tufa set new course records when winning at the third edition of the Naoko Takahashi Cup / Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon,Ã‚Â an IAAF Bronze Label Road RaceÃ‚Â 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 KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 AfricaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Rene Kalmer 12 months ago.
The womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s race turned into a thrilling duel between Tufa, the 2007/8 IAAF World Cross Country Championships silver medallist, and KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 womenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 AustraliaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Lara Tamsett a distant third in 1:13:33. Read more