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Ethiopia’s Abebe Negewo broke the course record at the Minsk Half Marathon, while Kenya’s Sheila Jerotich became the first non-Belarusian winner of the women’s race at the IAAF Bronze Label event on Sunday September 9.
Abebe ended Hillary Maiyo’s winning streak in the Belarusian capital, but the Kenyan put up a good fight and finished close behind Negewo as both men were given the same finishing time of 1:02:39. Negewo was first across the line, though, and became the first Ethiopian winner of the race.
Abebe, Maiyo and the four other top contenders – Kenya’s Joel Maina Mwangi, Benard Korir, Ethiopia’s Feyera Gemeda and authorized neutral athlete Rinas Akhmadeyev – soon detached themselves from the rest of the field and covered the first five kilometres in 14:43.
Akhmadeyev and Gemeda were unable to maintain that pace for much longer and lost contact with the leaders. Korir soon followed, leaving Negewo and Maiyo at the front with Mwangi a few paces behind as they reached 15 kilometres in 44:48.
Maiyo finished a close second while third-placed Mwangi crossed the line in 1:02:53, also inside the previous course record. The women’s race had been touted as something of a homecoming for Volha Mazuronak following her victory in the marathon at the recent European Championships, but it soon became clear the Belarusian had not yet sufficiently recovered to seriously challenge for top honours here.
Jerotich, who earlier this year had finished fourth in the marathon at the Commonwealth Games, had the best closing speed of the pair and came through to win in 1:02:05 with Kudzelich following a few seconds later.