Valencia Half Marathon 2023

What, No World Record...?

Valencia confirms its reputation as the world's fastest half marathon...

It says much about the febrile atmosphere that currently surrounds many of the major road races that the big news from the heftily titled 32nd Trinidad Alfonso Zurich Valencia Half Marathon – held in Valencia, Spain – is that no world records were broken this year!

Valencia was the final race in the 2022/23 SuperHalfs Series of super fast 13.1-mile races following Lisbon, Prague, Copenhagen and Cardiff. From next year Berlin will be added to the list and the qualifying period for a SuperHalfs SuperMedal will be extended to 60 months – so five years to complete six of the world's best half marathons.

It was in October 2021 that Letesenbet Gidey (Ethiopia) advanced the women's world record to 1:02:52 in Valencia – as reported here on runABC – and one year earlier Kibiwott Kandie (Kenya) had run 57:32 for the world record (since improved to 57:31 by Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda in Lisbon).

Although the defending champion Kandie was back in Valencia, we didn't have a new record but instead probably the closest finish and best men's half marathon race in history as he just managed to hold on for victory in the fastest time this year (57:40) from Ethiopia's Yomif Kejelcha and Hagost Gebrhiwet, who shared 57:41 and now jointly hold the third fastest time ever.
In the women's race, there was another 2023 fastest time by Margaret Chelimo (1:04:46) from fellow Kenyan athletes Irine Cheptai (1:04:53) and Janet Chepngetich (1:05:15) confirming Valencia as the fastest half marathon course in the world this year.

Among the 19,498 finishers was a large group from Britain with top-50 places claimed by Jonathan Davies (Reading AC, 1:03:44 PB), Ollie Lockley (Leeds City, 1:03:44) and Sam Moakes (Notts AC, 1:04:56).

For the British women there was a brilliant seventh place by Samantha Harrison (Charnwood AC, 1:07:08 PB) – now third on the UK all-time list behind Paula Radcliffe and Eilish McColgan – followed by Emily Kearney (Warriors Pentathlon & AC, 1:10:45 PB) improving her best by over four minutes.

More than 600 British athletes travelled to Valencia and they were all rewarded with perfect conditions for fast running with temperatures of 11C-13C, 68% humidity, and the merest puff of a 7kph breeze.

Link to results and previous report at the runABC South race listing here.

Photo courtesy Trinidad Alfonso Zurich Valencia Half Marathon

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