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Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda tied the current world best 15K on Sunday, November 19 in the NN Zevenheuvelenloop in Nijmegen, which is located in Holland, at the Dutch and German border. He clocked a 41:05 performance.
The 23-year-old Olympic and World Championships 10,000m bronze medallist missed the 2023 Budapest World Athletics Championships and then the Riga World Road Running Championships due to a hamstring injury. He returned to racing in October with a win at the Cross Country Tour Gold meeting in Atapuerca, Spain.
Kiplimo, the defending World Cross Country Champion, tied fellow Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei for the world lead. The compatriots now share the world’s best time for the distance. Cheptegei currently holds the 5000m and 10,000m world records, while Kiplimo is the current half-marathon world record holder with his 57:31 performance from Lisbon two years ago. Watch out Kenya and Ethiopia.
The race started slower than the pace he would average. Kiplimo was well aware that there was an uphill climb before the 5K point in the race. But he reached 5K in 14:24 — within striking distance. Fellow Ugandan Rogers Kibet was beginning to drop off the pace at the top of the hill.
Soon Kiplimo had a clear lead and grew the spread on his competitors as the kilometres rolled by. He passed through 10K in 27:49, which turned out to be the same split Cheptegei ran during his record 15K run. Kiplimo continued to put in the effort with small variations in pace throughout.
His final km split was 2:31 which was the fastest of the race. Kibet held on to second place in 42:44, securing a Ugandan 1-2 finish.
It was an impressive performance, however, Kiplimo’s 42:07 on his way to his 2021 Lisbon world-record performance over the half-marathon distance could arguably be better. The points performance rating is certainly better for the half-marathon 1248 to 1288. In fact, Kiplimo’s 5000m and 10,000m personal bests are also better having run 12:41.73 for 1278 points and 26:33.93 for 1268 points. But, the 15K performance was an indication of a strong return for Kiplimo after battling injury throughout the summer.
*Cover photo from Kiplimo, Commonwealth Gold, Twitter profile image.