The 2014 IAAF AL World Half Marathon Championships was a huge success today. For the Danish Athletic Federation, they sponsored the largest running event EVER in Denmark, with 30,000 runners in the half marathon, and 202 elite runners in their first World Championships of Athletics in Denmark. For the IAAF, their "bold experiment" should be de rigeur for all of their athletics events: a peoples' race and road championships could be part of every and any championships.
Keen observers noted that this may be the most profitable event in IAAF history. One thing for certain, combining championship athletics events and mass participation road running makes both promotional and financial success!
As I write this, more than 2/3 of the 30,000 runners and walkers have finished. A sunny day, a bit blustery greeted the runners as the women took off at 12:30, and the men and people's field took off at 12:55.
There were lots of smiling faces among the IAAF Family. Essar Gabriel, General Secretary, was seen taking pictures of the crowds with his iphone, and smiling as he realized the good feelings and smart event that the IAAF was about to do, in partnering with the Danish Federation.
Jakob Larsen, of the Danish Athletic Federation, resplendent in his jacket and tie, walked briskly around the finish, checking with his team to insure all was good. And, it was. " A success has many fathers," was the line that Mr. Larsen used on Friday to describe the serendipitous relationship developed between the IAAF and the Danish Athletic Federation. It is one of those quotes that will be remembered long after this glorious day in March.
The IAAF AL-Bank World Half Marathon Championships was a huge success. 30,000 plus runners. A first ever sweep in top five positions in women's race by Kenya, a hugely popular Eritrean team win (with five of eight top finishers) with the Eritean diaspora community in Copenhagen. For the individual winners, Gladys Cherono used her speed and sped away at 18 kilometers, to win in 67:28. On the men's side, Geoffrey Kamworor used a final 10k of 27:45 to blast away from the field, winning in a WL of 59:07!
Gladys Cherono, you will remember, won the silver medal in Moscow over the 10,000 meters distance. When queried what she will do next, Gladys noted that she will begin training for the 10,000 meters at the Commonwealth Games. Wilson Kipketer quipped, " I want to run in the Commonwealth Games, but, Denmark is not part of the Commonwealth." C'est dommage.
Goeffrey Kipsang Kamworor, a two time World XC junior champ, third twice in Berlin and sixth in February's Tokyo Marathon, had a fantastic victory today. Kamworor, who is quiet spoken, noted clearly that he wants to go to Berlin and wants to run, very, very fast.
A fatigued Kajsa Berquist, 2005 World Champion in the high jump, had a nice finish in the half marathon. " I was just under two hours, I have run much faster." noted Ms. Berquist, as Andreas Thorkildsen, two time Olympic, World and European gold medalist in the javelin watched, glad he had not run the half. " My normal running distance is thirty meters, there is no way I am doing a half marathon, " Thorkildsen said good naturedly.
Wilson Kipketer, the former World Champion and World record holder ran 1:20:43 for the half marathon. " My next goal is 1:15. I am not sure where I will run that. I loved the race today. Each kilometers, fans said hello Wilson!".
US fortunes were pretty good. Josephat Boit ran 61:31 for 21rst, a PB, and was followed, in quick succession by Tyler Pennel (33rd), 1:02.19 and Matt Llano (35th), 1:02.24. Shadrack Biwot (39th) ran 1:02:27, and Fernando Cabada, Jr. was 46th in 1:02.53. The US men finished seventh.
The US women were fifth, finishing just behind Japan and Italy. Annie Bersagel (13th) ran a pb of 1:10.09 as Lauren Kleppin, fresh off a nearly 14 minute PB at the ASICS LA Marathon, ran another PB, of 1:10.17 for 14th place. Clara Santucci was 34th in 1:12:21, her PB also. In 36th, Mattie Suver ran 1:12.41, a seasonal best. And in 44th place, Wendy Thomas ran 1:14.06.
The IAAF has a hit here. The Danish Federation partnered on the right event, with the right sport and 30,000 participants can attest to the success.
As the IAAF President, Lamine Diack noted, " In what other sport, can you participate with the best in the world in a world championship race? " Aware of the answer, Lamine Diack smiled a knowing smile, that the IAAF, in 2014, has put on two very successful World Championships in a row; the first in Sopot, Poland (World Indoor Champs, March 7-9, 2014), and now the IAAF AL-Bank World Half Marathon Championships.
And for today, in Copenhagen, all is good with the world. Now, one to Eugene, Oregon and the World Junior Championships.
2014 WCH, women, 1. Gladys Cherono, KEN,1:07.28, SB, 2. Mary Ngugi, KEN, 1:07.43, 3. Selly Kaptich, KEN, 1:07.51, 4. Lucy Kabuu, KEN, 1:08.36, 5. Mercy Kibarus, KEN, 1:08.41, 6. Netsanet Gudeta, ETH, 1:08.45, 7. Christelle Daunay, FRA, 1:08.47, 8. Valeria Straneo, ITA, 1:08.54, 9. Tsehay Desalegn, ETH, 1:09.03, 10. Genet Yalew, ETH, 1:09.14,
USA finishers: Annie Bersagel, 13th in PB of 1:10.09, Lauren Kleppin, 14th, in PB ob 1:10.15, Clara Santucci, 34th, in PB of 1:12.21, Mattie Suver, 36th in SB of 1:12:41, and Wendy Thomas, 44th in 1:14:06,
Women's Teams: 1. Kenya, 2. Ethiopia, 3. Japan, 4. Italy, 5. United States, 6. France
2014 WCH, Men, 1. Geoffrey Kamworor, KEN, 59:07WL, 2. Samuel Tsegay, ERI, 59:20, 3. Guye Adola, ETH, 59:20, 4. Zersaney Tadese, ERI, 59:37, 5. Nguse Amlosom, ERI, 59:59, 6. Wilson Kiprop, KEN, 60:00,7. Ghirmay Ghebreslasie, ERI, 60:09, 7. Samson Gebreyohannes, ERI, 60.12, 9. Adugna Tekele, ETH, 60:14, 10. Kenneth Kipkemoi, KEN, 60:28.
USA finishers, Josephat Boit, 21. 61:32, 33.Tyler Pennel, 62:19, 35. Matt Llano, 62:24, 39. Shadrack Biwott, 62;27, 46. Fernando Cabada, Jr., 62:53,
Men's Teams: 1. Eritrea, 2. Kenya, 3. Ethiopia, 4. South Africa, 5. Uganda, 6. Japan, 7. USA.