Collin Matiza Sports Editor
TWO of Zimbabwe’s upcoming male and female long and middle-distance runners Canisious Nyamutsita and Bertha Chikanga impressed during their debut appearances in the Copenhagen Half-marathon in Denmark on Sunday.
They managed to finish in the top 30.
The organisers of this year’s Copenhagen Half-marathon assembled one of the deepest half-marathon fields in history for the IAAF Gold Label road race on Sunday with an elite field boasting 17 sub-60-minute men, including three of the four fastest half-marathon runners over the past six years.
And Nyamutsita and Chikanga showed no inferiority complex in their debut appearance at this major international road race in the Scandinavian country. Chikanga was the most impressive as she finished in 18th place in a good time of 1 hour 13 minutes in the women’s race won by European 5000m champion Sifan Hassan of The Netherlands in a course record of 1:05:15.
The women’s race had a strong field of more than 1 000 runners.
Nyamutsita also did well in the men’s race of the same event as he came home in 24th place in 1 hour 05 minutes 09 seconds.
As expected the first three places in the men’s race went to African runners – Kenyans Daniel Kipchumba (59 minutes 06 seconds), Abrahm Kiptum (59:09) and Ethiopia’s Jemal Yimer Mekonnen (59:14).
There was also a strong field of more than 1 000 competitors in the men’s race.
In her first serious attempt at the distance, European 5000m champion Hassan took more than a minute off the European record at the Copenhagen Half-marathon on Sunday, winning the IAAF Gold Label road race in a course record of 1:05:15.
The Dutch runner showed that she is not only a world-class runner on the track but also on the road, improving on the continental mark of 1:06:25 set 11 years ago by her compatriot Lornah Kiplagat in Udine. In near perfect weather conditions, the 25-year-old was ultimately just 24 seconds shy of the world record.