Zersenay Wins his 5th World Half Marathon Championship

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The win brought him a $ 30,000 cash award and a second team title to his country Eritrea 

Bulgaria - half marathon win by Tadese
Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea is now a legend in the half marathon distance running

By News Agencies,

Once again, Zersenay Tadese runs himself into international spotlight putting Eritrea on the map of sports winning the men’s World Half-Marathon Championships in Kavarna, Bulgaria.

He set a blistering pace after the first 10 kilometres to win his fifth World Half Marathon title as Kenya’s John Mwangagi finished third on Saturday.

Tadese lead the field deploying his economic running style to outrun chasing Ethiopians and Kenyans until he secured victory by increasing his pace to a sprint finishing first place ahead of competition. 

Running in hot and humid conditions, Tadese clocked 1:00:19, 32 seconds faster than Deressa Chimsa of Ethiopia, to regain the title he won in four consecutive Championships from 2006 to 2009. John Nzau Mwangangi of Kenya took bronze.

Besides the weather, Mwangangi of Kenya said the course had sharp turns and conceded that the strong field made the race interesting.

We knew Tadese would go for it and for sure he was pretty fast,” said Mwangagi.

Kenyans may have succeeded in stopping Tadese from clinching his fifth title when Wilson Kiprop beat him to the title in 2010 in Nanning, China, but he left nothing to chance on Saturday as he grabbed victory. Although, this time, Tadese failed to better his own championship record of 59 minutes and 35 seconds, the Eritrean was emphatic in his display, conquering the hot and humidity conditions in one hour and 19 seconds.

The decisive factor in determining the outcome was Tadese’s second 5km of 13:43 which splintered the sizable leading group. At 5km in 14:22, the leading thirty athletes were covered by four seconds but 1:47 now separated the first thirty runners at 10km as Tadese surged through in 28:05.

Tadese kept the pressure on as he passed 15km in 42:16 which meant he covered the previous 10km in a very respectable 27:54. His advantage had stretched from eight seconds at 10km to 29 seconds at 15km over Pius Kirop from Kenya.

Even though the former four-time champion slowed through 20km in 57:11, Tadese’s lead had stretched to 33 seconds ahead of Ethiopian marathoner Deresse Chimsa while Kirop dropped back to third.

I’m very happy to win here,” Tadese told the IAAF. “Two years ago I was second because I had a knee injury. So it’s good to be back on top.”

Tadese writes history as the most successful athlete of the World Half Marathon.

His last major victory was in March 2012, when he won the third consecutive year the Lisbon Half Marathon race in Portugal, which had been awarded the IAAF Gold Label Road Race status as one of Europe’s major marathon competitions.

Zersenay began his sports career in cycling, his first love, in the second half of the 1990s, winning a series of races in Eritrea. Tadese dreamt of a career as a professional cyclist in Europe but soon realised that, coming from the country he did, it was an impossible dream. He was used to 30-50 km races and was not prepared for European races, which are held over longer distances.


1. Zersenay Tadese   ERI 1:00:19 
2. Deressa Chimsa   ETH 1:00:51 (PB)
3. John Nzau Mwangangi   KEN 1:01:01
4. Pius Maiyo Kirop   KEN 1:01:11
5. Stephen Kosgei Kibet   KEN 1:01:40
6. Eliud Kipchoge   KEN 1:01:52
7. Jackson Kiprop   UGA 1:02:05
8. Stephen Mokoka   RSA 1:02:06
9. Tewelde Estifanos   ERI 1:02:10 (SB)
10. Kiflom Sium   ERI 1:02:12 (SB)

Winning the Kavarna, Bulgaria World Half-Marathon race with style. Tadese is also a world half marathon record holder at 58.23 that he set last year in Lisbon