Victory on the roads of Germany and yet another national mark for the 32-year-old as she continues her London Marathon preparations in style
Eilish McColgan sliced 43 seconds off her own UK half-marathon record of 66:26 as she won the Generali Berlin Half Marathon in 65:43 on Sunday (April 2).
The performance comes just one month after she broke Paula Radcliffe’s long-standing British 10,000m record with 30:00.86 and in Berlin she narrowly missed the fastest-ever half-marathon by a British woman of 65:40 which was set by Radcliffe at the Great North Run – a course that is ineligible for records – in 2003.
That same year Radcliffe ran 2:15:25 to win the London Marathon, so there are natural comparisons with McColgan as she heads toward her marathon debut on April 23 in the British capital.
“I’m really happy,” she told organisers at the finish. “It was a bit breezy and cold but I’m Scottish so I’m used to that weather.
“The pace was super quick at the start so I panicked going through 10km. I got a bit of cramp near the end but I’m glad to get to the finish and run a national record.”
Tsigie Gebreselama had led through 10km in 30:44 with McColgan chasing 12 seconds behind. The Ethiopian, who won silver behind Beatrice Chebet at the World Cross Country Championships in Australia last month, continued to lead by 16 seconds through 15km in 46:24, but soon afterwards McColgan caught and passed her.
Into the closing stages the 32-year-old Scot was away and clear but battling a little cramp in her leg. Slightly worryingly, she was still wearing the same black knee support that she wore during her 10,000m run in California last month. Powering home, she flung her arms up crossing the line as she smashed her best of 66:26 which was set at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon 14 months ago.
McColgan had never run the Berlin Half before but her first European medal had come in the city in 2018 when she took 5000m silver behind Sifan Hassan. The Dutch runner coincidentally holds the European half-marathon record with 65:15 with McColgan now fourth in the European all-time rankings.
🇬🇧 Eilish McColgan smashes her British half-marathon record of 66:26 to win the Berlin Half in 65:43. pic.twitter.com/lBdYJASyjr
— AW (@AthleticsWeekly) April 2, 2023
Behind McColgan on Sunday, Gebreselama held on for second place in 66:13 as Yalemget Yaregal of Ethiopia was third in 66:27.
Samantha Harrison clocked a 67:19 PB to move into equal fourth place with Jess Warner-Judd on the UK all-time rankings as another Bri, Calli Thackery, shaved a second off her PB with 69:01.
The streets of Berlin almost always see fast times and the men’s race was quick too as Sabastian Sawe broke away from fellow Kenyan Alex Kibet in the closing stages to win in 59:01.
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