Ethiopia’s Birhanu Legese and Kenya’s Cynthia Limo came out on top after thrilling battles over the last kilometre for both the men’s and women’s titles at the 2015 Airtel Delhi Half Marathon on Sunday (29).
After a leading pack of 10 runners went through 10km in 27:56, five men were still in contention with just 500 metres to go ahead of the finish line in the Indian capital’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
After an initial surge by Ethiopia’s Mosinet Geremew, Legese overtook his compatriot with barely 100 metres remaining and crossed the line in a personal best of 59:20, with Geremew one second in arrears.
“I am very happy, I enjoyed the course and enjoyed the race. It was very easy for me,” said Legese, whose winning time equalled the third fastest mark in the world this year
Just 21, Legese notched up his second major half marathon victory this year, having also won the Berlin Half Marathon back in March where he set his previous best of 59:45. In Delhi, he was just 14 seconds outside the course record set in 2014 by another Ethiopian, Guye Adola.
Legese first came to international attention as a 19-year-old when he ran 27:34 to finish second at the Taroudant 10km road race in Morocco. His first half marathon came in the German capital eight months ago and he returned to form in Delhi after two relatively lacklustre half marathons in September.
As the fastest Ethiopian on the 2015 world lists, Legese will possibly make his international championship debut at the IAAF/Cardiff University World Half Marathon Championships Cardiff 2016 on 26 March next year, where he potentially could bid to give his country its first individual men’s title since Haile Gebrselassie also won on British soil, in nearby Bristol, back in 2001.
Eritrea’s world record-holder and four-time world half marathon champion Zersenay Tadese, now 33, is another man who may well be in Cardiff.
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