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Brigid Kosgei suffers first defeat since 2018

Brigid Kosgei in action during the Chicago marathon last year. PHOTO/Courtesy

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 21 – World marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei ran inside a new world’s best in the half marathon, but it wasn’t enough as she finished second at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in the United Arab Emirates on Friday morning.

This was the first loss for Kosgei in 12 races as she hasn’t been beaten on any race she has registered in since October 2018. With the Tokyo Olympics also on her plate in August, many will hope she doesn’t burn herself down as she is also registered for the London Marathon in April.

Kosgei clocked two seconds into the previous Half Marathon world record after clocking 64:49, but Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh won the race and set a new world record after outpacing the Kenyan Chicago and London Marathon champion to clock 64:31,

Kenyans dominated both the men’s and women’s races clinching four of the top five places with Kibiwott Kandie winning the men’s race in a time of 58:58, finishing ahead of compatriot Alex Munyao.

It was in the women’s race that all eyes cast, with a possible assault at the world record on the cards. The race was paced by Geoffrey Pyego who also paced Kosgei to the world record at the Chicago Marathon.

-Leading pack

The leading pack that included Kosgei and Yeshaneh hit the 10km mark in a time of 30:17 with the Ethiopian beginning to look for an opening gap and the fast Kosgei.

They kept in close proximity at the 15km mark, the clock reading 45:39 and the pace well within world record time. The Ethiopian did a 15:30 split at the 20km mark with Kosgei clearly struggling to keep pace.

Her attempt at catching up was futile as Yeshaneh crossed the line well within Joycilline Jepkosgei’s previous mark of 64:51 set in Valencia last year.

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Rosemary Wanjiru finished third in 65:34 with Evaline Chirchir (66:01) and Joan Melly (66:16) closing down the top five.

-Competitive men’s race

In the men’s race, the world record wasn’t such a big deal with all in the leading pack playing their cards close to their chests, looking at an opportune time to strike.

They passed the 10km mark in 28:07 with Munyao stretching to a brief lead at the 15km mark. Munyao kept his lead with Kandie, winner of the national cross country title last weekend keenly following his steps.

With three kilometres to go, Kandie pounced and fought into the lead, going on to cross the line in 58:58 ahead of Munyao who clocked 59:16.

Ethiopia’s Mule Wasihun was third while the Kenyan duo of Alfred Barkach and  Vincent Kibor closing down the top five.

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