Tag: Zersenay Tadese


After Galen Rupp’s 59:47 win at the Huawei Rome Ostia Half Marathon last Sunday, 11 March 2018, I combed through the IAAF.org all-time half-marathon performance list to see what I could see.

To date, there have been 317 “official” sub-60:00 half marathon performances dating from Moses Tanui‘s 59:47 win in Milan in April 1993 (366 when we add what are/were considered the *aided courses like Lisbon ‘98).  Rupp’s own 59:47, though ineligible for record purposes due to Rome’s net downhill, point-to-point course, nevertheless was an excellent prep for next month’s Boston Marathon, as Rome mirrored the p-t-p, downhill Boston layout.

Historically, his 59:47 half-marathon PR places Rupp equal 211th best all-time (258th on all courses), but equal-fourth with New Zealand’s Zane Robertson on the all-time non-African related breakdown. (Again, noting Mo Farah, GBR, has a 59:22, 59:32, and 59:59 to his credit)

  • 1 Marilson Gomes Dos Santos – BRA – 59:33 – 7th, Udine, Italy `07 –  equal 137th best performance ever
  • 2 Antonio Pinto – POR – 59:43 – 1st, Lisbon `98 = = 226th best (all courses)
  • 3 Ryan Hall – USA –  59:43 – 1st, Houston `07-  =185th  best ever
  • 4 Zane Robertson – NZL – 59:47 – 2nd, Marugame `15 – =211th best
  • 4 Galen Rupp – USA – 59:47 – 1st, Rome-Ostia `18 – =211th best
  • 6 Sondre Nordstad Moen – NOR – 59:48 – 4th, Valencia `17 – = 221st  best
  • 7 Fabian Roncero– ESP – 59:52 – 1st, Berlin ‘01
  • 8 Dathan Ritzenhein – USA – 60:00 – 3rd, Birmingham `09 – =318th best
  • 8 Callum Hawkins – GBR – 60:00 – 1st, Marugame `17 – =318th best
  • 10 Jake Robertson – NZL – 60:01  – 1st, Lisbon `17 – =326th best
    (This January Jake Robertson won the Aramco Houston Half Marathon in 60:01 against a loaded international field to equal his 2017 PR).

The half-marathon world record has stood since 21 March 2010 when Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese won the Lisbon Half Marathon in 58:23, breaking his own previous mark by eight seconds set the year before on the same course (which had been slightly altered to comply with record standards  from the layout that Pinto ran his sub-60 on in ‘98).

To show the rapid improvement in – and scheduling of – half-marathon races, it is interesting to note that only six of the 317 (366) sub-60 half marathon performances to date were set in the 20th century: (more…)



To nobody’s surprise Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge will make a world record attempt this September 24th at the BMW Berlin Marathon, site of the last six men’s marathon world bests dating back to Ethiopia’s Haile Gebrselassie‘s 2:04:26 in 2007. That Kipchoge would run in Berlin this fall was always one of the probabilities coming out of Nike’s Breaking2  Project from this past May in Monza, Italy where the 2016 Olympic Marathon champion completed the marathon distance in a remarkable 2:00:25 in an unratified attempt to break the two hour barrier for 26.2 miles.

Kipchoge came so close to the sub-two hour barrier in Italy in May using a rotating stream of 30 even-tempo pacers, that a sub-62 first half in Berlin will seem modest by comparison. In essence Breaking2 will have been a speed session for Berlin.  (more…)


OK, how can I not weigh-in on the sub-2 hour marathon experiment by Nike? First, as to the potential. Alright, yes, based on every metric available, it is possible, barely, though not probable. As much of life is a matter of self-fulfilling prophecy, it is only when we think something is possible that it enters into the realm of the doable. After the belief it is a matter of execution.

There is no doubt Nike has the resources to make such an attempt valid, and the marketing savvy to maximize the public interest. The big question for me is the unintended consequences of the attempt. (more…)


Chicago contender Zersenay Tadese
Chicago contender Zersenay Tadese

Chicago, Ill. — His name tops a glittering list of champions who have gone on to top another list he hopes to join this Sunday in Chicago.  Eritrea’s Zersenay Tadese is inarguably the greatest half-marathoner in the world with five IAAF World Championship titles at the distance and the two fastest times in history — 58:23 in Lisbon 2010, and 58:33 in The Hague in 2007. But the 31 year-old is now seeking to slash his Z-first initial onto the all-time marathon list at the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Though he has dominated the half-marathon since 2006, Tadese has never popped the marathon performance that his credentials predict.  To date his best is a modest 2:10:41 from London 2012.  Chicago will be his third attempt at the full distance. He debuted at the 2010 London Marathon, where he posted a time of 2:12:03 good for seventh place.

“I have changed my training,” admitted Tadese.  “I have done more long runs. So I hope to run faster on Sunday.”

Besides his five world half-marathon titles, Tadese has shown his form on the track where the three-time Olympian has earned a bronze medal in the 10,000 meters at the 2004 Athens Olympics (he was fifth in Beijing 2008; 6th in London 2012).   He also won silver at the 2009 IAAF World Championships 10,000 in Berlin, and struck gold at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa, Kenya in 2007.  Each and every one of those results points toward not just marathon success, but marathon dominance.

Men like Zersenay who take lesser medals on the track, but win at cross country and the half-marathon seem born marathoners.  They may not have the speed to close over the final 400 meters on the track, but they possess a bottomless fount of strength from which to draw. Englishman Steve Jones, the two-time Chicago Marathon champion (1984-`85) and former marathon world record holder was one such runner.  Never fast enough to win at the shorter track distances, the second Jonesy moved to 26.2 miles, he was a killer.  So, too, should Tadese be.  But he hasn’t done it in either of his first two marathons. (more…)