Returning to the city in which she won silver in the 5000m at the 2018 European Athletics Championships, Eilish McColgan showed her range by taking victory in the Berlin Half Marathon on Sunday (2) and smashing her British record in the process.
McColgan shattered her previous record of 66:26 with a winning time of 65:43 which takes her to fourth on the European all-time list behind Sifan Hassan (65:15), Melat Kejeta (65:18) and Konstanze Klosterhalfen (65:41).
Fellow Brit Paula Radcliffe has also run faster with 65:40 in the Great North Run - the fastest time ever recorded when it was set back in 2003 - but that was set on a record ineligible course between Newcastle and South Shields.
This was McColgan’s second record-breaking performance of the season after she eclipsed Radcliffe’s legendary British 10,000m record with 30:00.86 last month and anticipation continues to grow ahead of her upcoming marathon debut in the London Marathon on 23 April.
Running in second place for most of the race, McColgan reeled in world cross country silver medallist Tsigie Gebreselama in the 17th kilometre before forging on in cold and windy conditions. McColgan did slow in the very late stages, and clutched her hamstring once and twice on the approach to the finish, but the victory and another national record was never in doubt.
“I felt my hamstring tighten badly around one kilometre to go. Fingers crossed it's just cramp, but thanks for all the lovely messages!” said McColgan on social media.
Gebreselama and fellow Ethiopian Yalemget Yaregal were second and third respectively in 66:13 and 66:27 while McColgan’s teammate Samantha Harrison was fourth, also in a lifetime best of 67:17.
In the men’s race which was won by Kenya’s Sebastian Sawe in 59:00, Norway’s European 10,000m silver medallist Zerei Kbrom was the leading European finisher in fifth in 60:39 ahead of Portugal’s Samuel Barata in seventh in 61:40.
Samuel Fitwi won the battle of the Germans in ninth in 61:44, one place ahead of Aaron Bienenfeld in 61:51. "We have helped each other during the race,” said Fitwi who will be making his marathon debut in the Berlin Marathon this September.
Crippa clocks 2:08:57 on his marathon debut in Milan
European 10,000m champion Yemaneberhan Crippa finished fifth in the Milan Marathon on his debut at the distance on Sunday (2) in 2:08:57.
Crippa was aiming to break the Italian record of 2:07:16 and even though he fell short of this mark, his time was still the second fastest debut time by an Italian marathon runner.
"I'll try again next season; I will try to be even more prepared, aware that we can do much better. Now I plan to be back in action in the 10km road race in Monza on 14 May and to be at the European 10,000m Cup on 3 June in Pacé, France where I will be looking for the standard for the World Championships in August in Budapest,” said Crippa as quoted by FIDAL.
Ugandan debutant Andrew Kwemoi took the victory in 2:07:14.
In the Paris Marathon on Sunday, Samuel Tsegay finished ninth in a Swedish record of 2:09:47. Mehdi Frere was the leading French finisher in 10th in 2:11:04 with 2018 European 10,000m champion and French record-holder Morhad Amdouni 12th in 2:12:45.
At the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto on Saturday (1), two-time European U23 cross country champion Charles Hicks from Great Britain won the 10,000m in 27:57.47 and led five runners under the 28 minute-barrier.
Behind Hicks, British teammate Scott Beattie and Peter Lynch from Ireland were fourth and fifth respectively in lifetime bests of 27:58.92 and 27:59.27.
Steven Mills for European Athletics