(LetsRun.com)―Ethiopian runners Berhanu Legese and Almaz Ayana took the honors at the 13th edition of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon – and the 10th anniversary of Airtel as the title sponsor of the prestigious race – crossing the line in the Indian city’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in 59:46 and 1:07:11 respectively to take US$27,000 first prize cheques on Sunday (19).
Berhanu Legese, now 23, regained the title he won two years ago after pulling away in the final half- kilometer from four rivals.
His teenage compatriot Adamlak Belihu followed Berhanu Legese home and clocked 59:51 on his debut over the distance. Despite having to settle for second on this occasion, it was still a stunning performance from Adamlak Belihu who turns just 19 on Monday. Following the two Ethiopians home was USA’s Leonard Korir who clocked 59:52, the second fastest time ever by an American and just nine seconds shy of the US record. Entering the final kilometer, any one of five men could have still potentially won and all five went under the one-hour barrier, with another four under 61 minutes, to provide a race of memorable depth and quality. Ethiopia’s Asefa Negewo went under 60 minutes for the first time, taking more than a minute off his best, when finishing fourth in 59:54 while Kenya’s Jorum Okumbo, still only 19 himself, was fifth in 59:58.
IAAF World Championships London 2017 marathon gold medalist Geoffrey Kirui had his first race since winning his world title but lacked just a little bit of sharpness compared to his rivals and slipped out of contention late in the race before coming home sixth in 1:00:04.
Reigning world 10,000m champion Almaz Ayana was making her debut over the half marathon distance but hardly looked like a novice as she led home an Ethiopian clean sweep of the podium positions in the women’s race.
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