MADRID, Spain, Jan 1 – The Kenyan duo of Brigid Kosgei and Hellen Obiri secured a Kenyan one-two finish ahead of Ethiopia’s Tirunesh Dibaba at the 54th San Silvestre Vallecana, an IAAF Silver Label road race, in Madrid on New Year’s eve.
The women’s event was billed as a thrilling encounter between Dibaba and Obiri, but the Ethiopian star was never a factor as the two Kenyans flew from the gun, covering every kilometre well inside three-minute pace.
By the 3000m point (8:46) they had built an eight-second margin on Dibaba before extending their lead to 14 seconds by halfway (14:40/14:54). At that point it already seemed clear that Burka’s 30:53 record would fall by a huge margin.
With some 2500m left the Kenyan tandem had increased their advantage on the Ethiopian to 26 seconds and neither of them showed a minor signal of weakness.
Kosgei, a standout marathoner with a 2:18:37 best, made most of the pacing while Obiri, the world 5000m champion, seemed willing to wait until the later stages to take advantage of her superior closing speed.
The key move came inside the closing kilometre when Kosgei opened a small gap on Obiri.
That proved decisive as the 24-year-old crossed the finish line in a brilliant 29:54 to Obiri’s 29:59. Dibaba completed the classiest ever podium with a fine 30:40 performance, also under the previous record.
“The race is very fast, I’m delighted with my clocking but despite this fast time I’ll keep focused on the marathon,” said Kosgei, who won here in 2016 in a much slower 32:07.
Kosgei said her next appearance is not yet confirmed, but she does plan to compete at the Kenyan trials for the World Cross Country Championships.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s Solomon Boit finished fifth in the men’s race won by 18-year old Ugandan sensation Jacob Kiplimo who timed the fastest 10km race ever, stopping the clock at 26:41.
The downhill nature of the course (5.5m per kilometre) means that Kiplimo’s performance can’t count as a world record, but it is still a notable performance as it took 13 seconds off the previous race record set by Eliud Kipchoge back in 2006.
“I was determined to run fast today and be close to the course record,” said Kiplimo. “I felt really strong throughout and managed to break the record so I can’t ask for more.”
Kiplimo will race next at the Cross Internacional de Italica in Seville on January 20 where he’ll put his 2018-19 cross country season unbeaten streak on the line.
On his ambitions for the World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, on March 30, Kiplimo said, “Yes, I’m targeting the cross country world title but my fellow Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei will be a very tough rival, even more than the Kenyans and Ethiopians guys, I think.”
Leading results –
- Jacob Kiplimo (UGA) 26:41
- Abadi Hadis (ETH) 26:54
- Mande Bushendich (UGA) 27:24
- Abrar Osman (ERI) 27:38
- Solomon Boit (KEN) 28:03
- Brigid Kosgei (KEN) 29:54
- Hellen Obiri (KEN) 29:59
- Tirunesh Dibaba (ETH) 30:40
- Trihas Gebre (ESP) 31:40
- Sara Catarina Ribeiro (POR) 31:43
- Esther Chebet (KEN) 31:53