Meseret Defar makes stellar half-marathon debut

Meseret Defar
Meseret Defar

By Steven Mills, AW News

Former world 5000m record-holder Meseret Defar sets a US all-comers’ record of 67:44 in Philadelphia.

Former Olympic 5000m champion Meseret Defar from Ethiopia made a superb debut at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon on September 19.

The 26-year-old set a US all-comers’ record of 67:44, defeating Kenya’s Lineth Chepkirui by two-seconds.

Defar, who overcame a shin injury in the build-up to this race, told reporters: “I had the speed and knew that with the last 2K, I could push and win it.”

Werknesh Kidane from Ethiopia completed the podium in third with 68:30 with Shalane Flanagan fourth in 68:36.

Both Kidane and Flanagan will be making their marathon debuts in New York in November.

Kim Smith, who is also in preparation for the New York Marathon, finished fifth in 68:39.

In the men’s race, Mathew Kisorio improved his PB from 61:10 to 60:15 to defeat the in-form Gebre Gebremariam by ten-seconds.

The 21-year-old Kisorio, who has clocked 12:57.83 for 5000m this year, was being closed down by the Ethiopian in the closing stages but Gebremariam wasn’t able to make too much of an impact on Kisorio’s 15-second lead at the ten-mile mark.

Gebremariam, who will be making his marathon debut in New York, was satisfied with his 60:25 performance, which translates to a 34-second lifetime best.

Abderrahim Goumri from Morocco finished third in 61:33