Tsehay Gemechu took 15 seconds off Tirunesh Dibaba’s Ethiopian 10km record at the Valencia 10K Ibercaja, while compatriot Chala Ketema Regasa smashed the course record at the IAAF Bronze Label event on Sunday.
Held in the Spanish coastal city that played host to last year’s IAAF World Half Marathon Championships Valencia 2018, the winning times surpassed all expectations.
On a colder than expected morning with the thermometer marking 6C, the women’s contest was a thrilling battle between Gemechu and Kenya’s Gloria Kite. Held at the same time as the men’s race, the pair ran at a steady 3:02/3:03-per-kilometre pace to reach halfway in 15:01.
Although the pace slightly dropped in the second half, there were no significant changes until the eighth kilometre when Gemechu pulled away from Kite, going on to cross the finish line in a massive career best of 30:15, taking 44 seconds off the course record and moving to fifth on the world all-time list.
Kite finished second in 30:26 to destroy her best by more than a minute. The third spot on the podium went to Kenya’s Evaline Chirchir whose time of 30:43 was also inside the previous course record. In the eighth, Trihas Gebre set a Spanish record of 31:39.
The men’s race kicked off at a brisk pace of 2:43/2:45-per-kilometre with a six-man group led by then main favourites: Ethiopia’s Chala Ketema Regasa, Abayneh Degu and Batesfa Getahun, Uganda’s Stephen Kissa and Kenyans Matthew Kipkorir Kimeli, Edward Kibet and Vedic Cheruiyot.
The halfway point was reached at 13:43, well on schedule to break the course record. First Kimeli, then Degu and later Girma lost ground and the event became a three-man fight between Kissa, Cheruiyot and Regasa with the Ugandan doing most of the front-running.
They ran the closing kilometres together, but 10km debutant Regasa took advantage of his superior track speed (13:06.98) to overtake his opponents over the final 200 metres to romp home in 27:23 to Kissa’s 27:24 and Cheruiyot’s 27:26. Regasa’s time took 29 seconds off the previous course record.
Further down the field, Spain’s 1995 world marathon champion Martín Fiz set a world M55 best with 31:36, taking 27 seconds off the previous mark.