Uganda's Jacob Kiplimo took the 2020 World Athletics Half Marathon gold in Gdynia, Poland on Saturday, October 17.
Kiplimo made history as the first athlete from Uganda to win the world half marathon title with a kick over the last of the four laps. The 19-year-old top runner won his first global title with a championships record with 58:49 holding off world seasonal leader Kibiwott Kandie (58:54) and Ethiopia’s Amedework Walelegn (59:08). World 5000m and 10000m record holder Joshua Cheptegei had to settle with fourth place with 59:21 on his debut over the half marathon distance beating Andamlak Belihu (59:32)
The top 10 runners broke the 60 minutes barrier for the second time in history and for the first time in the World Half Marathon Championships.
Kiplimo crowned a successful season in which he set two world seasonal best times in the 3000m in Rome (7:26.64) and in the 5000m in Ostrava (12:48.63). The 19-year-old Ugandan star clocked 1:01:53 at altitude in Kampala in his only previous appearance over the 21 km distance.
No Ugandan runner had ever won an individual medal in the 23 previous editions of these championships.
The leading group of 23 runners started at a conservative pace going through the 5 km in 14:20 and the 10 km in 28:23. It was whittled down to eleven runners at 15 km, when Kandie stepped up the pace. The Kenyan runner went through the 15 km mark in 42:17 with the first sub-14 minute 5km split of the race between the 10 and the 15 km in 13:54.
Kiplimo joined Kandie over an uphill section of the course with a lap to go. Kiplimo broke away from Kandie at 16 km. Kandie closed his gap on Kiplimo with less than 3 km to go, but the Ugandan runner surged away building a 4-second lead at 20 km. Kiplimo went through the 20 km in 55:55 with a 15-20 km split of 13:37, and crossed the finish-line in 58:49.
Kandie finished second leading Kenya to gold medal in the team event with the cumulative time of 2:58:10. The Kenyan team triumph was completed by Leonard Barsoton (sixth in 59:34) and Benard Kimeli (ninth in 59:42). Ethiopia won the team silver medal with 2:58:25 ahead of Uganda (2:58:39).
Jacob Kiplimo: “I feel great. It was my first time at the World Half Marathon Championships and I won. It is hard to explain, because I am full of emotion. It was unbelievable. The weather was really good, as were the conditions and course. I am so greatful for everyone who has supported me”.
In the women's race, Kenya's Peres Jepchircrhir won the title in a new world record of 1:05:16.
|1||Jacob KIPLIMO UGA||58:49||CR|
|2||Kibiwott KANDIE KEN||58:54|
|3||Amedework WALELEGN ETH||59:08||PB|
|4||Joshua CHEPTEGEI UGA||59:21||PB|
|5||Andamlak BELIHU ETH||59:32||SB|
|6||Leonard BARSOTON KEN||59:34||SB|
|7||Stephen MOKOKA RSA||59:36||NR|
|8||Morhad AMDOUNI FRA||59:40||NR|
|9||Benard KIMELI KEN||59:42||SB|
|10||Leul GEBRESILASE ETH||59:45||SB|