The Kenyan recorded the fastest half marathon debut time in history.
Kenya’s Leonard Koman won the Vattenfall Berlin Half Marathon on Sunday in his first attempt at the 13.1-mile distance. His time of 59:14 was the fastest result of any half marathon debut in history.
The men’s race came down to a sprint between several runners, with Koman edging Abraham Cheroben (59:14) and Richard Mengich (1:00:17) at the line. Koman holds the 10K and 15K world records, and his finishing speed was on display in Berlin.
“I am happy with my performance in my debut race,” Koman said in a press release. “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.”
Eleven other Kenyans finished behind Koman.
In the women’s race, Kenyans Agnes Mutune and Tadelech Bekele jumped out front at the start and never relinquished their advantage on the field. With 2 kilometers left, Bekele started her kick and surged ahead. She eventually finished in 1:10:05, eight seconds ahead of Mutune.
German Sabrina Mockenhaupt was third in 1:11:43.
“I am happy with this win and it is my plan to prepare for a marathon,” Bekele said.