Despite setting an unofficial world debut record at the Berlin Half Marathon on Sunday (30 March), Leonard Komon claimed he was disappointed with his effort. Komon edged out fellow-Kenyan Abraham Cheroben in a thrilling sprint finish to come home in 59:14. The performance stands as six seconds quicker than the previous record held by Moses Mosop but slower than the 59 minutes Komon was hoping for.
The race, celebrating its 34th staging, was dominated by Kenyan athletes with the top 12 runners hailing from the east African country. Taking advantage of a tailwind for the opening section, the leading pack passed through the 5k mark in 13:39 and reached the 10k point in 27:40. The pace dropped marginally, however, after 11k when the runners were forced to battle into a headwind for the remainder of the race.
In a sprint to the line, Komon finished marginally ahead of Cheroben, with both runners given the same time of 59:14 - the second fastest this year. The course record remains at 58:56, set by Patrick Makau in 2007. Komon said: "I am happy with my performance in my debut race. Of course I ran longer distances in training, but there is always a difference between training and competition.”
On the prospect of running quicker, Komon added: “I thought I would be able to run sub 59 minutes. It was a challenge, but at the end there was something missing. But I know what to do and will try to run such a time in my next half marathon."
Lomon’s performance comes after the Kenyan slashed 17 seconds from the world 10km record in 2010 with 26:44, and he followed this up by lowering Haile Gebrselassie's world 15km record by nine seconds to 41:13 a few months later. He also ran the fastest 10km ever on German soil with 27:12 in Berlin four years ago, and his lifetime best for 10 miles of 44:27 remains the second fastest of all-time.
In the women’s competition, Tadelech Bekele led the field home with a time of 1:10:05. The Ethiopian runner pulled away from Kenya’s Agnes Mutune with barely two kilometres to go and later commented: "I am happy with this win and it is my plan to prepare for a marathon." Germany’s Sabrina Mockenhaupt filled the final place on the podium, finishing in 1:11:43.